Monday, January 26, 2009

I guess I lied...

...sort of. I had intended the star quilt for Matt to be my next finished quilt. And I have been making progress on it. I have most of the quilting designs for it figured out. But it isn't layered and ready to go yet.

I did finish a different quilt though. This is one I thought up back in 2005. It is one I plan on keeping in my Jeep Liberty for when we road trip. For some strange reason, my dear hubby is always cold when we take long trips. So he blasts the heater until he's warm; or until I roll my window down because I am sweating profusely and can no longer stand my stench. Of course in the summer I blast the air conditioning because I'm hot, but dear hubby will be too cold. How could we be so miss-matched body temperature wise?

Anyways, now there will be a nice little lap-quilt for my honey to use if he gets too cold. Nothing fancy, but it matches the inside of my car very nicely.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My first finishes of 2009!

Yes, I said finishes!! Despite the best efforts of my husband to keep me busy and distracted all day, I finally managed to sneak down into my sewing room this evening. And in the process, I completed two items I was working on last weekend. The first is the mystery table runner kit that I purchased over a year ago. Here it is, done and sitting where it will be residing in my sewing room. It is topping one of my cubby shelf units.

My second finish is my drunkards path table topper. I made the top last year from a charm packet, but I was struggling with finishing it. I just wasn't happy with the borders on it. But after a little brainstorming, I found a solution I like. Here's a peek.

Next in line for a finish is the quilt I'm making for Matt, my youngest son. Still trying to decide how to quilt it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I've accepted the challenge finish a quilting project a month this year. This may not seem like such a big deal to some of you. But I have a very large supply of unfinished quilting projects. And I also have a fairly good sized supply of projects that I have all the materials for, but have not yet started. And I really feel like it is time to finish some of them up and get them out of my space. So, I am joining May Britt and Kris, as well as an ever growing number of stitchers, in my effort to complete at least one project each month this year. If you want to join in, you can click the button on my sidebar for more information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our Family's Dollar Gift Exchange

Every year, my mom's side of the family gathers to celebrate Christmas. Some years, it is the only time we see many of the extended family members. It is usually a pretty informal gathering where everyone brings a dish to share and a gift to exchange. When we were kids, all of us got gifts. Then we switched to a name drawing for the gift exchange. When my generation started getting married and having kids however, we changed the way we did things. Now everyone brings a gift that cost a dollar.

As you might imagine, most of these gifts are pretty lame. Some are even downright stupid. A few are amazingly great bargains. Fewer are truly a thrill to receive, but that isn't really the point. Everyone can afford to participate, and everyone gets a gift to open. Besides, with our family, how you package the gift you bring is much more important than what is inside.

We play a game to determine who gets which gift. And during the course of the game, gifts tend to get passed to different people. But none are opened until the game is done. It's a lot of fun watching as people try to get possession of a gift whose wrapping speaks to them. And even more fun to watch as they open that gift to see what treasure lies within.

As you can see from the photos, creativity flows through the entire family. This is a pretty good representation of what you would expect to find for gifts at our dollar gift exchange.

Would you like to know what is inside some of these lovelies?

This blinking noes was on the deer.

This package of matches was inside the nifty campfire!

Or how about this cute make-up purse in what was likely the most masculinely wrapped package?

Don't you wish you could have played along with us?

Maybe then you could have been the lucky recipient of this magic wand!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sewing room organization

I am lucky enough to have a room dedicated to my sewing/quilting. It's about 12'x13' in size, and I am thrilled to have it. But I wish it were larger. I have so much stuff that I am constantly battling to keep the room workable. Part of my problem was the result of having to put a large storage cabinet on one of my two walls that have power outlets and no windows. The other
windowless wall holds my design wall. The remaining two walls in the room have windows and no power outlets. And they are foundation walls, so the lower four feet of them bump into the room about four inches more than the upper part of the walls do. Because of this set-up, I have had a constant struggle trying to arrange my sewing furniture so that I am able to get power where I need it. Until now.

This year I got some new shelving units for Christmas. And they are low enough to be placed along a window wall, so I was finally able to move the bulky cabinet out of the room. What a difference that has made!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quilt-a-thon day two

I did not make too much progress today with my quilting. It seems that the moment I mention that I am participating in a quilt-a-thon, my attention is suddenly being demanded by family members. Oh well.

I got the runner from yesterday quilted. The binding is cut and ready to go, but will have to wait until later this week. I had hoped to finish that one up today. I also intended to finish this one up.

But, I only managed to get it layered and ready to quilt. So it will also have to wait for another day.

Quilt-a-thon in progress

Well, it is that time again. Judy L. is hostessing the first quilt-a-thon of the year over at Patchwork Times. And while I am perfectly capable of getting a bit of quilting done on my own, I find it much more fun when I feel like I have someone else quilting with me.

This weekend I am focusing on two things. One is finishing up with the reorganization of my quilting space. But I will save all that for a later post. My other focus is working on some kits I purchased on-line over the past year or so. These kits were sold as mystery quilts, so I had no idea what I was getting, other than a table topper kit, or a lap quilt kit. And the kits were originally intended as gifts. But when I saw them, I decided against that. One of the kits was actually short some pieces. But I only caught that while I was working on it, so I am really glad I did not give it as a gift. I had to add the green fabric to the top below to make up for the missing fabric. As you can see, it was a pretty substantial omission on the part of the quilt shop. That shop no longer exists, by the way. I'm not at all surprised by that, are you?

What I have learned this weekend is this- I do not enjoy working on quilts where someone else has planned the fabrics and colors and all. In fact, I find it excruciatingly difficult. I know it is my inner control freak combined with my left-hander's right brain demanding creative control. And I think from now on, I surrender. My quilts need to be all my own choices.

Will I need to relearn this lesson again one day? Probably. That's just me. Will I finish these quilts? Umm, the first one shown, yes; the other two probably not. I will use the runner in my sewing room. The two smallish lap-quilt tops will not likely ever be finished by me. I just don't like them. In fact, I think I will give them away. That way they won't clutter my sewing space.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Test Project

I had the opportunity to test a new quilt pattern this past week. Kim had asked for volunteers on her blog, and since I had ample free time, I decided to give it a go. I gave you a peek at my choice of fabrics for this quilt in my last post. Now here's a look at the completed top.

The pattern is called Step it Up. You can get it free here on Kim's blog.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New year, same old habits

I have never been one to make alot of new year's resolutions. Probably because I never stick to them. This year, I have made none. Not that there aren't a good number of areas in my life that could use improvment. I just am being honest with myself. I do not feel terribly inclined to make the effort right now.

I have my sewing room back together enough to do some quilting. But right now I am working on something that I have to wait to share. So for now, here is a little peek at the fabrics I am working with.