Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Ready to Start a New Month

Today is the last day of January and I've gotten more done than I truly anticipated I would have. I completely started and finished my Winter's Night mystery quilt, I just need some kind of quilt hanger to put it on the wall. Any ideas?? I also finished piecing, quilting and binding my Easy Street quilt--that one was a MAJOR project! I made a cute little snowman wall hanging for my quilt studio and I put together an armchair book holder/saddlebag, along with a little quick and easy mini table topper. Those were my finished projects.

As far as ongoing projects, I have finally sewn together the top for a full-size scrappy quilt and I've also gotten busy and sewn some bee signature blocks together that have been waiting about 3 years. Another 3-year old project is a quilt some friends and I did as a block-of-the-month--we call it the Martinsville quilt. The blocks have been done, but now I've made templates and cut out the filler blocks so they can all be sewn together. I've had kits made up for the blocks for an Egg Money quilt and decided I would put it together for my mom for her 80th birthday in March and I've gotten 9 of the 12 blocks made this month. I have two hand-stitchery projects that needed some piecing to be completed and I made the Dresden plates that both of them called for. One still needs some other blocks added to it, but the other one is ready for some simple hand quilting and it will be done.

Then there are the projects that I started this month (I just can't help myself...and thanks to the 2013 New FO Challenge, it's actually a good thing!) I made my Modern Twist quilt top as a New Year's mystery quilt and it is now on the frame and will be quilted (and hopefully, bound and finished) before the week is out. I'm participating in the Lucky Stars Block of the Month and I just jumped in on the Triple-Zip Along today. I've also got my pattern to start working on the Country Charmer Quilt Along; I'm still in the process of choosing fabrics. Oh, and I also signed up to participate in the Stitch Me Up Embroidery Blog Hop for March (my very first Blog Hop!) So that's where I am right now...

I was too late last month to participate in the Get It Done Challenge for the month of January, so this post is for my February goals. And they are:

1) Finish the Egg Money quilt for my mom--complete last 3 blocks, 
add sashing and borders, then quilt and bind.

2) Quilt and bind the Modern Twist quilt that's currently on the frame. (The photo below is my Scrappy quilt that's laid out on the longarm, NOT ready for quilting!)

3) Quilt and bind my Scrappy quilt (involves piecing the backing and the binding). 

4) Complete at least one embroidery piece for the Blog Hop (some serious decision-making involved in this one! Click on sidebar button for info)

5) Sew blocks together for Martinsville quilt, add borders, quilt and bind.
6) Quilt and bind the Bee Block wall hanging.
7) Make at least 2 of the Triple-Zip bags.

8) Get caught up to date on Country Charmer progress and post to Linky party

So...those are the things that I plan to get done for the month of February. I know that those are actually 8 things and not 4, but I really think I can do them all. I'm certainly going to try, anyway!

Oh, there's actually one more. I really want a little mini wall hanging for my quilt studio for each month/holiday and so far I only have one for December and one for January. I've been looking for ideas and have found some I really like. So I plan to put something together to hang up for Valentines Day...and then, of course, I'll be looking for more ideas for March!

I'm linking up with Lily's Quilts and her Fresh Sewing Day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Egg Money Progress

It's been a L-O-N-G day in the quilt studio today. I've been working on Eleanor Burns' Egg Money quilt, to give my mom for her 80th birthday in March. There are 12 blocks in the version that I'm doing and I set a goal for myself to do 3 blocks each week. Last night I started the first block for this week, and I finished it today, along with 2 others. These are the blocks on my design wall.
The Double Wedding Ring is this one and it's the one I started last night. It really wasn't too difficult, using Eleanor Burns' method with the preprinted fusible interfacing. My biggest challenge was choosing a fabric to frame the block. I really wanted to use a yellow, but I didn't have any others that I liked and I've also already framed two other blocks with yellows. I'm going to a quilt shop tomorrow and I may find something different that I like better, but for now, this pink will have to do.

This is the Rocky Road to Kansas block and the big challenge with it was the set-in seams between each of the scrappy pieces. I really had to press it good to make it lay flat, but it actually turned out okay.
I'm going through the book in order and it seems that the blocks each get a bit more challenging. This is the Peony block and it wasn't HARD to do, just time-consuming. The flower stems are hand-appliqued (which I don't mind doing--I actually love hand applique, but I'm in a hurry here!) and the leaves are stuffed with batting and then topstitched.

Now I just have 3 more blocks to go, but those are on next week's agenda. I have the Modern Twist mystery quilt on my frame, ready to be quilted and there are some other projects I want to do this week. But for tonight...I'm DONE! And I'll just plan to get more done...tomorrow!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Easy Street is FINISHED!

Yes, it's hard to believe, but I've finally gotten the whole thing done. The picture isn't that great, but it was the best I could do by myself. I only added a small purple border to the quilt because we only have a full-size bed. I quilted it on my longarm machine Friday, using the same pantograph that Bonnie Hunter used on hers. I like the panto, except even though it's a 12-inch design, there's so much overlap between rows that you only advance the quilt 6 inches with each pass! I handstitched the binding Friday night and Saturday and I'm so glad to finally be done. Now I just need to decide who I'm going to gift it with!

I spent much of today fussy-cutting squares and triangles from this beautiful piece of fabric. I hated cutting it up, but I want to get this quilt finished. The quilt itself doesn't actually have a name, but it's based on the 2008 Paducah Booth Hop Quilt. The blocks are actually a Marti Mitchell pattern, using her Perfect Patchwork Templates for the 12" Seven-Patch Block Set. This whole thing was a block of the month, done by a local quilt shop, I think in 2009. Several friends and I worked on it together and we all decided we hated the Marti Mitchell templates! No offense to Marti, but they don't use any standard cut sizes of fabric and almost every piece has to be cut individually. Quite tedious, but at least we only had to do one block each month! Here are the fussy cut filler blocks:

Aren't they just beautiful? And here are some of the final pieces laid out on my design wall:
Tomorrow I'm hoping to start sewing them together. I got one other project done today. I finally sewed the January Lucky Stars paper-pieced block. Somehow I screwed up a bit on one section, but I'm hoping the mistake will "disappear" when the blocks are put together.
So...that's it for today's quilting projects! I'm hoping to "get more done"...tomorrow!

I'm linking this post with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dresden Delight

Tomorrow begins the "Dare to Dresden" Blog Hop and I am SO looking forward to it! In fact, I really would have liked to have participated in it, but I wasn't quite ready to jump into the blog world when they were taking applications. That being said, I AM participating in the "Stitch Me Up" Embroidery Blog Hop in March. That will be my first blog hop and I'm so excited about it!

So, speaking of Dresden Plate quilt patterns, I was working on my Mom's Egg Money quilt today and made two more blocks for it and the second one was this lovely Dresden Plate up above. I think it turned out beautifully. I have a couple of hand stitchery projects I've recently made that both use Dresden Plates in them. While I was making this block, I figured I'd work on them too. This is one of them on the right here, and I'll be appliqueing it to the background this weekend. The last two Dresden Plates are two tiny little ones--they're so cute! They're only 3.5 inches across. I don't have the project ready for them yet, so I'll have to show that at another time. But here are the Dresdens:

I'm at the halfway point now on Mom's quilt. The Dresden Plate block was the 6th out of 12. I'm so glad that it's been moving along so well. The blocks have framing around them and I'm adding that as I go. I actually changed the framing on one of them today because the fabric I originally used was just too light. When the blocks are completed, they'll be joined with white sashing and various colors of cornerstones, just like the framing.
I really meant to get started quilting on my Easy Street quilt today, but I was just too tired after a crazy night last night to have to deal with the stress of quilting. So hopefully I'll be able to get some of it done tomorrow. But...I did try making one of Bonnie Hunter's newest rage, the Scrappy Trip Around the World block. I thought I might use it as another leader/ender project. The pieces are rather long, but it is doable. I like how it turned out and I already have another one under construction. We'll have to see where this leads!
That's it for the things that were done today. Then we'll have to see what gets done tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold day for sewing

Brrrrr...this has probably been the coldest day we'll have this winter, with a high of 28 degrees. That may not be very cold for some places, but it's pretty chilly for us. And I just put the finishing touches on my little snowman wall hanging. I think he may be bringing us snowy luck because they're predicting snow for Friday. We'll see what really happens!

Tuesdays are my piano lessons, so I didn't spend too much time in my quilt studio today. However, I did finally get my Easy Street quilt loaded on the frame and ready to go. All tensions are adjusted and oiling is done, waiting for the quilting to start taking place tomorrow.

I got one other little project done today. I made the Rosebud block for my mom's Egg Money quilt. That's 4 blocks done and 8 to go! I'm hoping to get at least one more finished tomorrow, in between rows of quilting Easy Street.

Tonight is supposed to get down to about 15 degrees, so I put extra hay in all the doghouses and put hay and old towels around the fig trees to try and keep them from getting too cold. I feel so bad for all the animals that are outside on such a cold night--I'll be thankful to be sleeping in my nice warm bed!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Projects and more Projects!

This has been a busy day in my quilt studio! Last night I finished embroidering this snowman's face and hat and then appliqued his cute little (big?) carrot nose on his face. This morning I added the framing pieces and cut the whole block to have a wonky look to it. I'm hoping to get this quilted and finished tomorrow (it's only 12x12) so I can hang it up before time to make and hang a Valentine's wall hanging!

This wasn't on my list of projects today, but I got started and just couldn't stop until it was done! Three years ago I was attending the "Bag Ladies Bee" with a bunch of wonderful ladies. We decided to do some autograph blocks and we finished and exchanged them right before I had to drop out of the quilting world for a while. Looking at the blocks and the names of my friends brings back such fond memories! I found some cute sewing-themed fabric and used it for the sashing. It's all finished now, except for the quilting, so I'll add it to my growing "to-be-quilted" pile.

The photo here looks a bit strange--this is the backing that I put together for my Easy Street quilt. It wasn't EASY finding and sewing all these pieces of fabric! There are FIVE big chunks of fabric here, which did give me an opportunity to get rid of some ugly pieces from my stash...just don't look at the back of the quilt when it's finished!

And by the way, the backing is loaded onto the quilt frame...Hooray! I'm going to pull the batting out of the dryer, pin it on and then I'm done for tonight! I'll "Get More Done...Tomorrow!"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quilting Progress

Winter's Night Mystery Quilt
This has been a very busy week in my quilt studio! One of my major accomplishments was the completed quilting on the Winter's Night Mystery Quilt. This was a New Year's mystery, sponsored by Longarm University. The quilt was pieced ahead of time and the quilting was revealed bit by bit on New Year's Day. I actually completed a different quilt on New Year's, but I've been working on this one off and on ever since and this week I finally buckled down and finished all the quilting, removed it from the frame and bound it! Now I just need to get Charles to rig up some kind of a quilt hanger so I can put it up and admire it!

For my mother's upcoming 80th birthday in March, I'm making her Eleanor Burns' Egg Money Quilt. There are 12 blocks and each one is different. This was the first one I completed, Grandmother's Flower Garden. It's a bit of a cheater block, since the hexagons are just each one piece of fabric. But it was quick to finish and then I was able to move on to the next block:

I think this one is Road to California. I made the flying geese the way Eleanor Burns teaches and they came out perfect. This block was fairly quick and easy to piece too. But then I started the next one:

This block is called Turkey Tracks and I have to admit that it was a bit challenging, but it was also fun and turned out very pretty. It has multiple set-in seams and I had to do a little ripping as I went, but not too much.

I'm trying to get 3 blocks made each week on this quilt so I can get it together and finished long before Mom's birthday. Fortunately, she doesn't know I have a blog, so I can write about my progress on her quilt here!

Easy Street Mystery Quilt
This is my other great accomplishment this week--I finally put all the blocks together in my Easy Street mystery quilt! I had to lay the blocks out on the floor, but it actually all went together quite quickly and well. I was very careful about how I pressed my seams and it helped so much when I was joining them together. I'm just so thankful that I was able to piece this quilt, put the blocks together and sew the rows without making any mistakes or having to do any ripping (I only say that, now that it's all done!)

However...if you notice the dark spots on the round looking sections of the blocks? I didn't have a real good selection of green fabrics to choose from and one of them that I decided to use was a "green pea" fabric, you know, like the green peas that you eat. Well, I didn't realized how much darker the pea fabric was than all the others until the blocks were all made.and at that point, I wasn't about to undo all that work. So that's what's so dark on the quilt blocks. And now when I put this on my bed, I'll just announce that we'll be sleeping 'under the peas" that night!

Next week I'll be adding just a narrow purple border to this Easy Street quilt and then it will be ready for quilting! I'm hoping by next weekend, this whole project will be done, but we'll see.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

First Quarter Finish-A-Long Projects

I think I may have to move my computer down to my quilt studio--it's a bit of a challenge to keep up with a blog when all my quilting stuff (that I'm hoping to blog about) is down in the far reaches of the basement...and my laptop is upstairs at the completely opposite end of the house. If it worked better to blog on my Ipad, I could use that, but that's even more of a challenge! So the learning curve continues...

Meanwhile, I've been finding lots of Challenges, Quilt-alongs, Mystery Quilts, Blocks of the Month, Scrappy Saturdays, WIP Wednesdays, Quilters' Blog Hops, Give-Aways, etc., to participate in, almost to the point of being overwhelmed. HOWEVER, the most important object is to get my projects FINISHED, and that is what this post is about.

I'm joining up with Leanne for the 2013 Finish-A-Long. The first quarter is beginning and the rules to it are given here. So with that being said, here are the projects that I plan to accomplish for the first three months of 2013:

I think there are lots of people still working on Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery quilt. I finally finished up the last of the blocks yesterday and laid some of them out on my design wall to see how they would look. My plan is to get the top all sewn together on this, add borders, then quilt and bind and it will be completely finished.

Egg Money Quilt
A few years ago, I gave my mom a "Block of the Month" quilt as a Christmas present. I used the blocks from Eleanor Burns' "Egg Money Quilts" book. I don't think she ever did anything with it, since I didn't encourage her to sew along with me and actually make it. (We had previously done Eleanor Burns' Underground Railroad quilt as a family block of the month project and all the tops were completed by everyone--five of them!) So...Mom's 80th birthday is in March and I have never made a quilt for her and I thought this one would be a good one to do, since I chose fabrics in colors that she likes. That puts this project (all I have are "kits" I made for each block) high on my priority list of what I want to accomplish this quarter.

"A Modern Twist" Mystery Quilt
 New Year's Day seems to be a prime time for mystery quilts. Every year Merry Mayhem at Planet Patchwork does one that's usually a large lap size. I hadn't joined in for the mystery in a few years, but decided to do it this year and this is what we produced. I really like it, but I want to get it quilted and finished.

A Winter's Night Mystery Quilt

Another mystery quilt--in this one, the actual quilting itself was the mystery and as you can see, I'm still working on that. It's loaded on my frame and I've gotten some of the quilting done, but I'm far from finished. This quilt was the New Year's Mystery Quilt that Cindy Roth does each year at Longarm University. The quilting is not difficult and is actually quite fun. I want to get this one done so I can hang it on my wall and then free up my longarm machine for the next project!

Scrappy Leader-Ender Quilt

This next project is one that I've worked on for years. I used the blocks in it as a "leader-ender" project and now it's ready to assemble and quilt (these are just rows of blocks laid next to each other). I'm ready to have this one finished and over with, but I also want to be able to put it on my bed because Charles really likes it...and I do too!

Cosmos Quilt
When my older son was still single, he saw this quilt in a 2008 Fons and Porter magazine and said he wanted it. I ordered the kit, knowing it would have been really difficult to find all those various shades of each color of fabric. My other son's wife had completed the Underground Railroad quilts with us and really enjoyed the process, so she volunteered to sew this one together. Well, life got in the way and this project got pushed to the side. Now she's working two jobs, going to school and pregnant with their first child (our 12th grandchild!), so now this project is mine to complete and I would like to have it finally be done.

Dresden Lane Wall Hanging
Last year I put together several "kits" of small hand projects I wanted to work on whenever I had time to just "sit." This was one of those projects and the embroidery is completed, it just needs the quilt piecing done around it. It will be a Dresden plate design, hence the name of the project. Oh, and this came from Quiltmaker Magazine in their May/June 2010 issue.

Breath of Spring Pillow Top
This is another handwork project that I just love. And it's also from Quiltmaker Magazine, from issue Jan/Feb 2009. The embroidery is also completed on it and it has some nine-patches and some little Dresden plates to add. I think it will be beautiful when it's finished! I'm just not sure I want to make it into a pillow--I'll probably end up doing a wall-hanging instead.

Bag Ladies Bee Blocks
 I used to belong to the Bag Ladies Bee, one of the bees of my local quilt guild. One of the last things we did together was each make one of these signature blocks. I didn't count them but there's 12 or 13. I want to put them together in some way and make a wall-hanging from them as a memory of my friends in the bee.

"Bring on Winter" Wall Hanging

This project came from Quiltmakers' 100 Blocks, Volume 6 from Winter 2012. I didn't realize how much I liked the projects from Quiltmaker until I began sourcing all my projects! I had made a small (12x12) wall hanging for Christmas that I hung on a small rack in my quilt studio. I liked the look of it so much that I decided I wanted to keep something hanging there year-round and thought seasonal wall hangings would be great. I cut all the pieces for this block and traced the design for the embroidery. I want to quickly get this one done so that I can be ready to start a new one for February!

Hand Applique Piece
I've taken several classes from Quilt University and one of them was a Hand Applique class, taught by Nancy Chong. This piece was the result of that class and I've been carrying it around in my applique case for too many years! I decided that now was the time to figure out what I want to do with it (pillow? wall hanging?) and then get it done.

Laura's Quilt
Last, but not least is my daughter, Laura and her quilt. Laura is 26 years old, deaf and mentally about 5 years old. She LOVES to sew while I'm sewing, but unfortunately needs quite a bit of hands-on guidance. And trying to explain sewing instructions in sign language is somewhat challenging!

Laura has a cute little Elna machine that we bought from a friend. The speed on it is adjustable, so it can sew quite slowly. I've taped various guidelines onto the bed of the machine, but Laura still needs reminders of where to place her fabric and how to cut her thread (NOT right next to the needle!)

Laura actually does very good at putting pieces of fabric right sides together and her favorite task is to sew strips of fabric to each other. I give her the strips to sew, she chains pieces several of them and then presses them. I cut them into smaller sections that she then sews together into 4-patches. Finally, we match each 4-patch with a plain piece of fabric and she sews those together into rows. Below is a picture of the first quilt Laura made and I would like to help her finish another one this quarter.
Laura's first quilt-2008
 So...this ended up being a much longer blog post than I intended, but I really do want and hope to get all twelve of these projects completed this quarter--that only averages to 4 per month and I think that should be quite do-able, especially since they've all been started and some of them are quite small. And since the name of my blog is "Get More Done...Today" I need to stop typing and get sewing!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Project to Finish this Month

Just for the extra motivation, I've decided to join "A Lovely Year of Finishes" (see the badge to link to in the sidebar) by working to complete at least one project each month. For this month I'd really like to finish Bonnie Hunter's "Easy Street" mystery quilt.

I've got the border and corner blocks made. The 16 center blocks are laid out, ready to sew. Then I'll just have 9 more interior blocks to make and it will be ready to put together! Then, of course, there will be quilting and binding, but I intend to finish it this month!

Blog Beginnings

Our family (or those still at home most of the time!) is the first day of the rest of my life! Today is the day I start blogging about my accomplishments and bragging to the world about what I have done.

I didn't know I would actually be starting this blog today, but that IS one of my goals for this year, so I just went with it. I didn't realize it would be so easy to begin! And because of that, I didn't put any thought into what I wanted to name my blog. I'm interested in quilting, in cooking and eating nutritiously, in reading and in playing the piano and it's not too readily apparent what kind of a title would convey all those interests!

But then I realized that I'm also a VERY big goal-setter--I set goals and then I work hard to achieve them. That's partly why I'm able to quilt, read, sew, cook, and play the piano the way that I do. So the idea came to just name my blog, "Get More Done Today." Because, as you get a little more done each day, eventually you will achieve the big goals in life. So this is the premier post for "Get More Done Today." And now I'm going to stop typing in this post and go and get more done, today!