At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stash report - week 5 / retreat report

I'm late.......but I was at quilt retreat this weekend working mostly on UFO's or PhD's. And, I was tired yesterday when I got home!

Before retreat I did 3 more of these little boxes to finish up the modern 10" squares.

The first retreat finishes were 2 tulip purses. The Kaffe brown with Waikiki interior (Hoffman 1895 #360 - can you tell I like this one - a lot?) is for me. The cream Fandango one is for my grandma as a  Mother's Day gift.

Each one used one yard total.  The pattern has 4 sizes: petite, standard, large and jumbo. The ones I made are standard and a little smaller than I had hoped.  The next one I make will be a jumbo with a flap closure.

They're marketed as 2 hour tulip purses - once you get the hang of cutting out 8 pieces per bag using the template and then fusing every piece to either Decorbond or fusible fleece (yes, it calls for both fusibles), then maybe it's a 2 hour project.  Of course, I prepared the pieces for both purses b4 retreat and I know it took me at least 1.5 hours to trace and cut the fabric and at least another hour to fuse it all and then cut again.

The only other finish I had at retreat was a disappearing 9 patch table topper (from Moda Bake Shop) using 2 charm squares and some yardage.  I used a Holly Taylor line and I had started the 9 patches some months ago so it was also a PhD.  However, since it's not quilted and bound, I'm not counting it in my stash report.

Pinwheel blocks got finished for a Scrappy Friendship quilt - you know - that free pattern that gets sent out once in a while to lure you to subscribe to a magazine?  Well, last January my sewing center organized a class and we all took our 180 or so 6" squares and traded them.  I worked on sewing the HST at last year's retreat and finished all 64 at this retreat. This is another quilt that will be a guinea pig for another method of machine quilting in sections (this post).

I also worked on the last 3 blocks of my Victory Quilt that have been sitting for at least a year waiting on some attention.  This was a BOM at the sewing center in 2009. Two of them are finished.  Had some issues with the bridal bouquet as I do not have any Quilt in a Day rulers and the cutting instructions called for 6x12 QID ruler to cut the handles.  I don't even own a 6x12 ruler of any kind so guess I'll try to find a template online - it's a classic block, shouldn't be too hard, but very frustrating.

While I did not buy any yardage, a quilting friend at retreat gave me some of her scraps.  I'm not measuring and counting scraps - we're talkin' some 2.5 strips and binding and border leftovers. The bulk of her scraps I will take to my next guild meeting for Charity Sharity - a local group that collects all kinds of fabric and distributes it to over 70 groups that use them.


Used this Week: 2.375   (2 3/8 yds)
Used year to Date: 7.125 (7 1/8)
Added this Week:  0
Added Year to Date:  10.5
Net Used for 2011:  -3.375

Head on over to Patchwork Times to see everyone else's stash busting progress.

If the storm coming through the midwest is as laden with ice as they say, I might get some quilting done this week to get my numbers in the positive.  Hhhmm, should I be hopeful?! Maybe not - I hate ice - I'd rather have the 12-24 inches of snow that's predicted for our state's northern region than deal with ice.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


How many of you have an iPhone, iPod, Blackberry, or Droid? 

Did you know that Joann's has a free app that allows you to access your coupons?  Cool!!  

How many times have you been at the store only to realize that you've left your coupons at home?  Well, no more (unless you're like me and don't carry your iPod everywhere you go - LOL).

Here's a review of the app that explains what it does.  I've not used my coupons this way.  Hopefully all the stores have been alerted to how to use these e-coupons.  There is no bar code, just numbers that the clerk will have to enter manually.

Then .....

While we're on the subject of apps, thanks to StitchinBytheLake for telling me about the free Kindle and eReader apps for the iPod.  


No wonder poeple like their iPhones/iPods!  I know my husband is glued to his.  My son, too, he loves the games.  There are, surprisingly, lots of preschool games available via iTunes.  We now have the Netflix subscription for streaming video, which we can also watch on these little devices in addition to the computer and the TV that is hooked up to the Integrated Blue Ray Player.  

My husband laughs at me because I'm not a gadget girl.  With all of the classic books available free for the screen, I'd still prefer to read my words off a page than a screen, but for convenience it's hard to beat. 

And I'd rather sit outside on a beautiful day and listen to the birds sing than be watching more movies/crappy TV on a small screen.  But these devices have their place in our lives, I'm just trying to strike a balance.

Stash Report - week 4

Welcome back to Stash Report.  This is week four.  So far, I have found that I like trying use my yards but it doesn't seem to deter me from buying.  The snow kept me from using the coupon at my LQS for black and white fabric.  However, the coupon is good til the end of the month!

A little more sewing took place in out house this week.  More of these storage boxes...

...means 3 yards out, 1 yard for each box. Trying to get my son's room and all thos toys organized.  I bought 1 yard from Joann's sale rack and used it on the outer side on two of these boxes. Lucky for me we don't count interfacing and decorbond in our count as each box uses an entire yard.  Upon my last trip to Joann's I came home with 4 yards of decorbond, at 50% off.

Also finished one more hostess box that takes two 10" squares. 

Do you know why one uses muslin as the lining of a box?  When one uses muslin as the pressing sheet and then leaves the interfacing facing up, rather than down, on the actual fabric intended to be the lining. Had to search for some fabric to match muslin - aye, aye, aye.  That fused piece of muslin had been sitting on my ironing board for about 5 days - LOL.

Also completed a bag from the Green Bag Lady's "make one, take one" giveaway.  This is the giveaway bag.
It's a very simple pattern, two 18" squares plus the handles.  It's a shopping bag - two coordinating FQs and you're done.  The Green Bag Lady has given away over 14,000 - yes, that's 3 zeroes for thousand - reusable cloth bags to reduce our use of plastic.

These little guys don't count in my numbers anywhere but since I'm showing everything I did this week, except my son's stuffed Zee bird doll from the Nick Jr. website that is sleeping with him atm, I thought I'd show my pincushions.  Some day I'll tell you the story about how someone who has been quilting for only about 3.5 years has made over 100 log cabin blocks.  These little guys were leftovers from a Thimbleberries table runner pattern.

Do any of you recall my "quilty" New Year's resolution not to start any new quilts until I've finished a project?  Well, I have not started any new quilt tops.  Nor have I done a stitch of quilting since before Christmas.  I have finished all the little projects that I have started.  Boy I am glad I left myself that out!!

Here are my numbers.  Head over the Judy's place at Patchwork Times to see how everyone else is doing.

Used this Week:  3.625 (3 5/8 yds)
Used year to Date: 4.75
Added this Week:  1
Added Year to Date:  10.5
Net Used for 2011:  -6.75

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some"Be Merry" blocks done.....crazy week!

The snow has fallen here once again.  I love snow, but this time it is getting in the way of my quilt shop time - no Marti & Me Club last night and none this morning as the roads are still not cleared and it is c-o-l-d.  The silver lining is that after traveling for the first 3 days of the week, DH is home and snowbound, which means I get a break from being the only adult in the house and I get to sew - WooHoo!

I'm still working on that post-holiday slump.  That in combination with my consulting business, has kept me from getting as much done as I would like.
an example of records in storage

In my former life, before Dear Son, I was head of the archives department at a historical society.  For the past few years I've taken on some consulting jobs, no more than about 20 hours a week.  Well, I was all ready to sign an agreement for the next one only to find that the city I was going to to work with requires $1M coverage in each general commercial liability, professional liability, and business auto (since they are 2 hrs away).  Whew - had never heard of this stuff before, so since the New Year this month has been a learning experience.  It took a while to find out that such insurance is standard with municipalities.  However, since this requirement was not in the request for proposal that they sent me, I did not figure this expense into my bid, therefore, I am looking at about a 19% reduction in my profits.  Until I spoke with the insurance agent who told me that I could cancel policy when the job was done and get a refund, the cost was going to be 39% of my profits!  Since it was nor in the RFP, I was under no obligation to take the job.  Decisions, decisions - so, I've been a bit distracted to say the least.

Enough of that...sorry to bore you with some of my real life stuff.  On to more fun things!  The best solution for not being in the mood to sew is to hang out with other sewers!  From 6pm til midnight one Saturday a  month, my LQS is open for "sew down" - bring anything you like to work on, that isn't too large I've found b/c space is limited if there are several of us, and a snack to share, no charge.

I managed to select the fabric and get most of the cutting done for all but the last block of the "Be Merry" BOM blocks (some are here and here, too) so I just had to stitch.  That's a good thing b/c a rotary cutter in my hand after 7PM is an iffy thing on the safety scale - I am a morning person.

Next weekend - yes, one week from today, is quilt retreat!  Can't wait!  I love being able to concentrate on projects and getting something done but what excites me most -- NO HOUSEWORK!  No cooking, no cleaning, and no laundry!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stash Report - week 3

It's that time already!  Not much to report - I didn't go shopping this week so nothing came in.  I have done a bit of sewing this week but the only finishes are these boxes that I showed you a few days ago.
These boxes use 1 yd.

This one uses 2 ten inch squares, about one fat eighth.
The links to the box patterns are in this post.

Used this Week:  1.125 (1 1/8)
Used year to Date: 1.125
Added this Week:  0
Added Year to Date:  9.5
Net Used for 2011:  -8.375

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A little bit of organization

The Christmas tree came down Saturday and I immediately got to work.  To work getting my sewing corner back in order.  I discovered that I cannot create in chaos - messes with my karma or chi or something.

A lot of what I did was just to put things away and clear off my table, get the cutting mat out, etc.  The big thing I did was to use this shelf for my batiks and empty a plastic tub.

This little shelf has been sitting around our house for years.  It was supposed to go in our pantry but since we cannot open our pantry door more than 90 degrees, these door shelves did not work. This is one is sturdy enough to stand on its own.

We have another one, very similar, but not as sturdy that will have to be hung on the wall.  I hope to get my FQs on that one. Now I can see what colors of batiks I have - lots of brown - and what colors I do not have....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sew it begins

Sewing in the New Year, that is.  Finally dusted off the machine that had been sitting since before traveling for the holidays and used up some stash.

Of the all the blogs I follow, one of them posted this link to hanging storage baskets that would be perfect for my son's room (scroll to the bottom of the post for other basket sizes).  And they are perfect for a few other places in the house, too.  One basket this size, approx 8x10x9, takes one yard of fabric and one yard of Decor bond.  I went to 3 stores and finally found Decor bond, none at Joanns or Hancock's but Hobby Lobby had it and I had their coupon, too.  Unfortunately I didn't get enough to do more than one basket - wanted to test it first.

As you can see, my son has the idea.

This one fits perfectly on the deep book shelf that is already in his room. Sew more decor bond and maybe another yard of novelty fabric from the box store and we have an organizer with 4-6 baskets without spending $60 at Target for the Circo Cube Organizer and baskets that are in this week's ad.

Another little ditty I made was a hostess box as seen on Sew Mama Sew. These called for 10" squares and I had a sample pack of organic Robert Kaufmann fabric, Free to Grow by Nancy Mimms, that I got at Spring Market.

 There were 9 squares in the bundle and I had no plans to acquire more for a larger project.  Most modern prints are NOT my style, esp for quilting. These are small doses in a cute package.

This one I will keep and use as a thread catcher.  It's a little wonky but I expected the first one to be a bit off. I will make some more to give as little gifties.

It almost didn't get made - I measured and cut the corners wrong - then after I finally cut the fusible correctly, I failed to turn it over and that piece is now adhered to the pressing cloth (aka muslin)!  By that time I was determined to get this little guy put together.  It really is an easy project, on a good day!

Sew, what did you get to sew this weekend?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Stash report - week 2

Last week I knew the "0"s would not last b/c I had 2 yards of my second Kaffe Fassett on order.  Before Christmas I had purchased my first 1/2 yd of Fassett (the brown).

Now, I had no intention of buying more than a yard of fabric when I walked into one of my LQS's Friday.  They had 200 bolts at 35% off  that I did not know about (1 yd minimum).  There were neutrals.  One of them was a 19th century reproduction that I "needed" for DH's Civil War log cabin quilt.  These repro neutrals are difficult to find around here as the three closest shops to me carry lots of brights.
This is what it might look like when I get it finished, but I have to start it first!
The one on the left is the repro - isn't the winter scene on the right cute?! Had to get a yard (min. cut).

Then I wanted some white and there were 4yds left on the bolt.  This LQS is the shop in our area with a fantastic selection of batiks, but I kept it to 1/2 yd (for another bag) since I had all those neutrals piled up on the table.  Anyway - I walked out with 7.5 yards!
Today is a cloudy day and the interior light doesn't show that this is RED - I mean, this fabric reminds me of candy canes!

I do plan to get sewing today.  Did a bit of cutting yesterday after the tree finally came down and the decorations are snuggly tucked away for another year.  Maybe next week I can eliminate a "0" in the used column.

Used this Week:  0
Used year to Date:  0
Added this Week:  9.5
Added Year to Date:  9.5
Net Used for 2011: -9.5

Friday, January 7, 2011


I love books, don't you?  I went to library school and heard all about the virtual book and now these e-readers are out there, but for me nothing can replace cuddling under the covers and reading words printed on a page as a perfect end to my day.

To go along with this love of the printed word, I love to buy used books. As a grad student in Bloomington, IN, there were used book stores all over.  My sales resistance is at its highest in Borders or Barns & Noble.  There is a fantastic library here and I take my son weekly.  Why buy it when I can borrow it? 

The same sale resistance does not exist for used books - I can walk out of a used bookstore with an arm load.  I have 3 authors that I collect (Martha Grimes, Tony Hillerman, and Rex Stout) and I like to search for hardbacks in good condition with dust jackets.
This is not my copy. It is the first Nero Wolfe novel, 1934.

That said I also buy used quilt books.  Over the summer I borrowed Fat Quarter Fun from my guild library and decided I'd like to own it.  Yes, I keep a list of books to borrow from the library to "preview" before I buy.  Let's face it, one new book takes a big bite out of my fabric budget and with the proliferation of patterns on the net, well, how many quilt books do I actually need to own? Apparently 3 more!

The Cozy Quilts book was a Christmas present.  The other two I bought from used sellers for $.05 and $3.65 plus shipping - too good to pass up - $11 something for two books full of patterns!

Now I know there are people out there saying, "you should support your quilt authors."  Well, I hear the same thing about my LQS's and all the other independent businesses out there.  Well, used book dealers are independent business owners, too. My finances do not allow me to keep everyone in business, so we have to pick and choose. Since having the absolutely latest book from the printer on my shelf is not important to me, well, this works well for me. What works for you?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New fabric -- a first!

It's not the addition of new fabric that's a first.  It's the designer.  Below are my first ever cuts of Kaffe Fassett fabric.  I don't know when any more Fassett will make it's way into my stash as his designs generally aren't my style, but I love these.

These are from the Liberty of London reproductions that I saw at Spring Market.  Actually, I only remember the red ("Rajah Red") but found the brown while looking for the red at Hancock's of Paducah on our way to the in-laws before Christmas.  I plan to make tulip purses from these cuts and share a bit of the red with a friend.

Oh - I forgot about the trip to Hancock's of Paducah.  I was driving when we hit Paducah and I warned my DH that I wanted to stop - just a quickie.  It is set up quite nicely - there is a gas station across the road from the store with a stoplight that leads directly into the parking lot - we had to stop.

The first time I was in the store was last spring during the quilt show.  It is HUGE!  I love batiks and there are more in this store than I knew were on the market!

DH took these pix for me while I shopped. The top pic is a portion of the public area and the bottom pic is the warehouse area.  Maybe this spring I will have some time to browse.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WORD for 2011

Kelly, of Charming Girls Quilt Club, has asked us to think of word that we might find inspiring for the year.  A word that might help us along as we begin a new chapter. 

I take my word from yoga - MINDFULNESS.  Being mindful keeps your attention in the present moment.  There is no thinking about what should or could be done and, therefore, no anxious thoughts.  There is no living in the past, therefore, no regretful thoughts.  Be present and enjoy the moment.
I've used this symbol on a quilt.  It is the sanskrit symbol for "om."  The vibrations from chanting this mantra are supposed to bring a calm and assist in filling the lungs with new breath and with exhaling old toxins.



There are some great giveaways out there for the beginning of 2011.

1.  Leona wants to get you "in the pink" for the new year. Check out Leona's Quilting Adventure.

2. Julie is introducing us to an Irish quilt designer. Head over to Jaybird Quilts for details.

3. Amanda Jean has bunches of scraps for a lucky winner.  Stop by crazy mom quilts.

4. Linda at Stray Stitches has a quilt pattern and 25 FQs to make it.

Good luck to you!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stash Report Sunday

I've been following Judy's blog, Patchwork Times since she spoke to our guild last year, uh that's 2009, not 2010.  She posts a weekly stash report that anyone can join so that we can try to use what we buy. 

The best part is that you do not have to go count up all your stash.  You can start at "0" for the new year - so I'm going to start counting.  Easy right?!  I didn't purchase any fabric yesterday and what I ordered online from Canton Village Quilt Works hasn't arrived yet, and I didn't sew yesterday, so here's my first report:

Used this Week:  0
Used year to Date:  0
Added this Week:  0
Added Year to Date:  0
Net Used for 2011:  0

Not a very exciting start but it can only get better right?! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hello 2011!!

Hope you all had a fun and safe celebration.  We had planned to stay in and watch a movie together, something that we rarely do since we have a 4 year old and I am an early riser that usually cannot stay up past 10PM!  Some friends called and we went to their house and played cards and watched the ball drop (twice, we're on central time - why do they show it here the first time when it's 11PM?).  Last night was the first time our son had been up past 10:30 without being in bed.  He made it to midnight b/c he's a stubborn little guy who finally gave up the ghost in the car on the way home.
image courtesy of

Have you been thinking about resolutions?

The only ones I've really been giving some thought to are my sewing projects.  I currently have 3 tops that I could start quilting right now, at this very moment - they are basted or already started.  Then I have 2 more tops to prepare for quilting.  Sew, I've been thinking about setting a little rule for myself: no new quilt tops will be started until one gets finished, completely finished down to the binding. Please note the phrase "no new tops."  This rule does not apply to small projects such as bags, purses, pouches, bowls, you know, those small projects that provide such a great sense of accomplishment.

With all this talk about resolutions and all the bloggy UFO busting events like Pat Sloan's party, and Judy's Patchwork Times Challenge, and Myra's PhDs - which I love that term and must remember it - "Projects Half Done," I feel inspired to get working again.  All that bustling about b4 the holidays and traveling just took some of the wind out of my sails.  I've not sewed a stitch since b4 Christmas.  Of course, DH has been home all week and sewing has become something I do when the boys are out of the house and I am all alone, just me the machine and whatever form of entertainment I choose. Sort of like blogging - I also tend to write posts when the boys are out of the house, or still in bed asleep, and I'm alone with my thoughts.

Here's to a wonderful New Year for us all!