Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Swap Blocks

On a whim, I threw these 3" nine patch blocks in my large, UFO, project bag for the Quilt Away this past weekend. They are from a swap Bonnie ran on HGTV quite a while ago. We made 10 blocks in a certain colorway and she swapped them out for 10 others in that color. It gave us a great scrappy variety. I love this more than I thought I would! It is graphically pleasing. When I was all done, didn't I find 10 red blocks I had missed. Oh well. I still need to add a border and quilt it.
Tracy, Lori and I planned the Quilt Away for our guild. After hoping that someone would take on the event planning for a retreat for years, we decided if you want something done, do it yourself! A quilt retreat should be a part of a guild experience. It was better than we anticipated! 21 women gathered and sewed from 10 AM Friday morning to 4 PM Sunday....and I do mean we were sewing machines! We opted to not have organized projects since the three of us wanted to enjoy sewing too. UFO's are a common denominator among quilters, and many of us pulled them out and worked our magic.
Along with the nine patch blocks, I cut and sewed more OBW blocks; made more of the improv pieced mini solid blocks; pieced a small checkerboard thing; bordered my 17 F8 swap blocks....
Looks like I will be making one of the PP'd star blocks I made for this swap, for my own quilt! It is really looking great. This was one of the best swaps I have done. I am thinking about running one in my guild. There were 18 of us. We send a Fat Eighth of our fabric (same one) to each participant and they made a 12" block using fabric of their choosing. As you can see, the blocks are relatively complex. No simple blocks. Getting each block was such a pleasant surprise.
I picked up this kit of gorgeous Japanese fabrics at QBL in 2010. There were 28 9" x 15" squares that I cut into 1 1/2" strips and sewed together randomly. I have idea's...maybe a Chinese coin thing....maybe strip blocks. Don't know yet, but I am loving how it looks.

So much to do....so little time. Back to work. A busy week too. Tomorrow I have to start at 6 AM. Be glad to see Friday.

I received a letter from Michael Monday. He is doing great! He likes this whole challenge/excel thing. He ran a 6:04 mile...his best ever. He made Alpha running squad, volunteered for work duty and said his platoon is the best! Michael's intensity will be his strength now. It belongs.

Sophia is Dave's 17 month old daughter. Melissa is so good with her. It does my heart good to see her maternal side! Isn't this a gorgeous pic? It would make a great picture quilt. I am adding that to my list!
I bought a sumptuous knit at Joann's today. It is a lightweight sweater knit...gray, with purple and a bit of very pale blue flowery design. I cut a simple poncho top out of it. Will look nice with black pants and turtleneck for Jenn's shower a week from Sunday. Never sewed a knit like this before, so I will be practicing. Bought some ballpoint needles. Fingers crossed.

I have learned:

  1. We have a new mapping system at work. 3 hour training today. Looks promising.
  2. Obdurate. "The past is obdurate." Stephen King's 11/22/63. Good read.
  3. My tax woman advised me to change my deductions for Federal from 3 to 0. A whopping $54 more out of my check a week. Ugh. 
  4. After much ado with my health insurance provider and human resources, I now pay for single coverage. (Michael is covered by US Army now) Only $37 less a week. Doesn't offset the government gouge however. 
  5. And then there is the gas gouge scam....
  6. Mondo all the way on Project Runway All-Stars. 
  7. Chester, the old coot cat, is still kickin'....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

St Patrick's PC

A friend on HGTV message board, Jane, who hails from New Zealand, asked if any of us would be interested in sending a PC to a special woman in her life that still lives there. Molly Flanagan was important to her and since she is in her 90's, Jane wanted to have Molly get some pretty cool mail. I made this fabric for her from some St Patrick Day's stash. It was simple. It is presumably on a plane to NZ right now!

February 7th, my son, Michael, was sworn in to the U.S. Army. He left for Fort Sill, Oklahoma that afternoon. After layover in Atlanta and much waiting in Oklahoma City, he and some other recruits made it to the base after midnight Wednesday. He spent days in reception. Spoke to him a few times. He marched over the tracks this past Wednesday at 3 AM and boot camp began in earnest. He is ready to face the challenges ahead. He has made the right decision for him. I am proud of him.

His fiance Jenn, and Michael after the ceremony.

My HGTV Challenge #1 is finished! I will be able to show them as soon as Lori does whatever she is doing with them online. I don't think there is a voting. I guess I can say that I am very happy with it!

In my quest to throw something away every day (which continues to be successful) I plan to finish things in my stash. I pulled out a string block quilt I put together from a block swap. All pinks. I pieced a backing this afternoon, and after the dreaded machine quilting, it will be gifted to little Sophia. Sophia is Melissa's boyfriend, Dave's toddler daughter. She is adorable. Blond & blue eyed and plenty of attitude!

Next weekend I will be at Silver Lake on a Quilt Away with 21 other women from my guild. This is the one Tracy and I planned in the Fall. I am so excited! Friday morning to Sunday afternoon...all meals cooked for us...huge room with our own table to sew...gorgeous surroundings. I need to take a more than a few projects to work. I usually can't work on one thing for hours, let alone days! I have the F8 blocks, some OBW blocks and fabric to make more, a small Twister quilt, some awesome Japanese fabric in a kit, some handwork for the times I don't want to sit at the machine. What could be better than that?

I have learned:

  1. Good movie. Fireflies in the Garden
  2. People who don't do the things they criticize others for doing....should hold their tongue. Or volunteer!
  3. I love my NOOK! (I didn't think I would.) 
  4. Claiming 0 from claiming 3 on Federal tax is over $200 more out of my check a month. Ugh.
  5. Now that Michael is covered by health insurance in the Army, I can go from family to single on my plan at work. To do this I had to fill out form upon form and get a letter from Army recruiter that he was in the Army. Now, how long will this take to actually show up in my paycheck? It won't even offset the tax increase. 
  6. Bruce Springsteen...April 17th in Cleveland, Ohio! Me, Pam & Jim...road trip!
  7. At the mall yesterday, Ian found this t-shirt at JCP. Two stick men are roasting hot dogs over a campfire,one hot dog has fallen in the fire...."It's all fun and games until someone loses their wiener" I laughed so hard. Hilarious!