Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Still Wednesday

I don't know when the last time was that I posted a Work in Progress Wednesday post, but blogging has become less of a priority since Instagram became popular. I know a lot of my friends have the same feelings about it as I do. Comments are down on blog posts but Instagram likes are up, so I guess we are all more of the instant gratification generation, no matter how old we are. 

Here's what I have been working on. It seems the projects I have chosen lately are more of the long term projects than quick, except for one, this quick quilt top. 
I put out a request on Instagram the other day for suggestions for an easy and fast to sew laptop sized quilt. @Kelbysews suggested this layer cake pattern and it definitely was easy and fast. I had the squares sewn together in a few hours and pieced the top together the next afternoon. The fabric was from a kit I bought when I first started quilting a few years ago. It's not really my style anymore, but the recipient of this quilt will really like it. Once it is quilted I am hoping I will like it better too.

A project I started at the beginning of the year is my DS Clamshell quilt. This one is a humongous beast but oh so pretty. With 21 of the 27 rows of clamshells already sewn the end is near. I love sewing this quilt and I think there are more clamshell quilts in my future. It will be king sized when it is completed.

I wanted to try downsizing a block from the Vintage Quilt Revival book and it was definitely a success. You wouldn't imagine by looking at this 6" block, but it took me 4 hours to complete. Between figuring out the math and many sewing and ripping out and re-sewing of seams, it turned out just as I imagined it. Although I don't think I will be making many more of this size. I do love the color palette. Don't you? I love this block but will stick with the larger size as explained in the book.

And finally, I might have one sock syndrome. I completed this sock after working on it a very long time. I've learned a lot with this sock. I don't like making lace pattern socks, where every row is different and I rather prefer the two socks at a time method, because when you're're done! I will make the other sock because I decided these are for my mom, but the next pair will be two at a time, for sure.

Linking up with Lee for the first time in many months.

I have a few other projects in various stages of completion. Some are secret, some are gifts and some will be revealed in a future blog hop series. So please come back and check this space in a few days.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scrapbooking with The Girls

{Mind the Gap  above, I don't know why it's there}

I am so very blessed to have many friends. I have put my friends in groups, so when I talk about them  to others I can say, "my childhood friends, my quilting friends, my blogging friends,  my walking friends, or my Glamorous Granny friends (who are also my Yorba Linda friends)".  I tend to group my friends by the way we met. This last week was spent with my scrapbooking friends, Monika and Mim. We have been scrapping together for nearly 20 years and we always have a good time when we get together. When Mim moved away in 2005, we thought our group would fall apart, but instead our friendship has grown stronger, in part because Monika and I have traveled almost every year since the move to Gig Harbor, Washington. We scrap, talk, eat, laugh, drink wine, cook, and scrap more. 
The Super Tote I made before leaving was graciously received by Mim. She really liked it. I made it with the intent that she would use it as her book bag when she goes to Bible Study or to her book club meetings.

Monika made her a scrapbook of all our previous visits. Monika is the queen of beautiful scrapbook pages. She is very talented.

Upon arriving at the Seattle airport we noticed that Monika's beautiful Vince knit coat had been eaten by moths. A stop at the local yarn store was a must. Neither Mim or Monika knit, but I was in hog heaven in this beautiful store. The very kind woman in the store made a temporary fix on the coat until Monika can take it somewhere to get it repaired. If you are ever in Gig Harbor and love to knit, make a stop at Rainy Day Yarns a priority.

About 7-8 years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking. It just seemed a more logical choice for me and there is no mess. You can do it anywhere, as long as you have a computer and it's more economical and GREEN.
So our first day there, I got all set up and my laptop decided to rebel. Come to find out it was maxed out on storage and needed a complete overhaul. Luckily, Mim's husband is very knowledgeable of all things Apple, so he was able to rescue my computer and I was able to complete 19 pages.  BUT*** somehow between Thursday night and Friday morning 4 of the pages decided to venture off to cyber space. I was working on our 2010 holiday photos from the Brittany region in France. Here's a look at the pages I made.

Four days goes really fast and soon it was time to say goodbye to our hosts. We ended our visit with a stop for lunch at Salty's in Redondo Beach, WA. It was a hazy but beautiful day. Mim and Steve treated us to a delicious lunch.

We always like to go to Gig Harbor in the winter to experience some cold weather and rain or snow. But for some reason, when we are there people thank us for bringing the warmer weather and sunshine. But, it was definitely colder than California, and for that we were grateful.

We are already looking forward to our 2015 trip and the way the months have been flying by lately, it should be here really fast.

Mr. Romance lived up to his name by welcoming me home with tulips and a home made sign, using some of my fabric scraps that he found in the trash.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 1, Gig Harbor

Each year my friend, Monica, and I try to visit our friend, Mim, who moved to Washington about 8 years ago. We all bonded when we were members of a scrapbook group in Yorba Linda and have remained friends for nearly 20 years! {Hard to imagine that that many years have passed by already}
We always travel in January because we want cold, rainy weather and when we get to Gig Harbor the locals always thank us for bringing the sunshine {insert sad face}.
Today we landed in the bright and sunny weather. We gave Mim the gifts we had made her. Monika made her a photo album of the photos of our visits from our visits since 2006 and I made her a Super Tote. Both were received with great surprise and appreciation. 
Traveling handmade meant packing lots of bags and pouches and I even brought my favorite Falling for Modern Maples quilt to keep me cozy and warm. 
A trip to the local yarn store was a must stop on the first day. Neither of my friends knits, but Monika's gorgeous Vince coat was in need of some serious moth repair so I had to buy some Madelinetish yarn while visiting the store. The owner was so kind to do a temporary fix on the coat until we get home, I had to pass the time while she fixed the coat, so this purchase was a "must". 
The next few days will be fueled by laughter, wine, good food and friendship. 
Girlfriends are the best friends. 
An added bonus is Mim's husband is an Apple computer wizard, so I am getting a memory upgrade on my laptop while I relax in the luxury of my ensuite accomodations. 
How do you spell spoiled rotten? Answer:Diane!!!
Day 2 will be even better. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Super Cute, Super Tote

I made the Noodlehead Super Tote and it's super cute.
I originally bought the Outside Oslo fabric to make a Weekender bag but have been resisting because I really don't think I would use it. It would be too heavy once I packed it and let's just say, Olive Oyl is stronger than me.
image from the internet 

I made a few changes to the pattern adapting it to accommodate lots of storage and carrying options.
I added some Thermolam to the outside pockets, and I put a pocket on both sides of the bag, making it easy to keep an iPad well protected in the pocket. I wish I would have paid a little more attention to the placement of the flowers. One side looks better than the other.
I was too lazy to go to Joann's to buy cording to make piping, so I used Thermolam and made mock piping.
Since I was using Essex Yarn Dyed Linen as the fabric for the main bag, I used a medium weight fusible interfacing and some Pellon 808. This made a sturdy bag, but it was a bugger to maneuver it through my machine.
The pockets are lined with Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Cranberry and the body of the bag is lined with Sketch in Pool Blue.
The elastic divided pocket on the inside adds more options for keeping this bag organized.
After fusing the interfacing to the handles I also added a layer of Thermolam, making them more padded and more comfortable when carrying over your shoulder. I also secured the handles into the final topstitching around the top opening of the bag. {thanks for the hint, Chrissy}
The inset zipper was really easy to install and the whole bag was easy, but took me quite some time to cut out. Whenever I have to assemble a PDF pattern, then cut the fabric and interfacing, it seems like it takes way longer than the actual sewing of the bag.
Now I need to make one for myself. This one will be gifted to a sweet friend.

This is the first finish of my Finish A-Long list. One down, 4 to go.

Finish Along 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Four For Me

Finish Along 2014

I wasn't going to join in on the FAL this year. I let it drop the last quarter of last year and decided I didn't want the pressure of having to finish something. But who am I kidding. I love the pressure and the friendship and the cheering. I'm a FAL junkie, and my friend, Katy, is hosting it this year, so I really want to support her efforts. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into hosting this year-long event and I really appreciate Katy volunteering to be our cheerleader.

So here goes. I am committing to finishing 4 things and I know that I will finish them. I could add a dozen more things to this list but then there is no room for new projects and I always jump on new projects. Instagram has two Quilt-alongs going on right now that I am trying so hard to resist. The Economy blockalong looks fun and the scrappy bearpaw QAL has me itching to cut into my Anna Maria Horner stash. But, I am determined to get a few things crossed off my list first. 

First up is the Super Tote. I just started it today and I know I will finish it because it is a gift.

I also know I will finish the Can Denyse Come Out and Play? clamshell quilt because I love it so much and I can't wait to get it on my bed. I am making it king sized and it is fun to get a row or two done every day. This one will go to a long arm quilter, as yet undecided, and I will be so excited to reveal it as soon as it is finished.

The Field Study Mosaic quilt has been sitting in the WiP box for a very long time. I will quilt it and bind it and get it gifted or donate it. I haven't decided yet.

Last is the Happy Zombie Christmas Ripple quilt. I have held off quilting this quilt because it is such a weird size. It measures 120" x 58". I think it's a good size lap quilt, for many laps...maybe all the grandkids lined up, sitting on the couch. Or maybe used as a tree skirt, laid around the Christmas tree. I have Sketch Flannel in the Kiss color to use as the backing.

So that's four projects for me. Sewing is going to be a challenge in a few weeks when we start a bathroom remodel, that's another reason I have created a "no pressure" list for myself.
Oops, one more.  I'd like to finish knitting these socks.  They are the Posie Socks from the book Socks From the Toe Up and I am using Candy Skein yarn in the colorway for January, Confetti Cupcake.

I guess that makes Five for Me!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Winter Posie Patrol

Now that Christmas is a proper memory and the new year has begun, I am thinking about a lot of things. Things I need to change in my life. Asking why bad things happen to good people and wondering what the future holds for me and my family. {The bad thing did not happen to this good person}.

I often stroll into our backyard to check on what is growing, and to think and ponder. The garden is my happy place {when I am not in my sewing room}. This time I was so thankful that I am not living in the frigid temperatures that are encompassing so much of the United States. It is winter in California and that means 70'F days, wind and sometimes gray skies. But I can still harvest a few things from my garden and appreciate some of the flowers and fruit growing on the trees. The emerging paper whites assure me that life continues even in the grayest of skies, and that is a sign of hope for all who are having a hard time, be it emotional or physical.

I had an impromptu visit from my best friend. We sat and chatted for a while before she had to run off to a meeting. It's always such a blessing to spend time with the people that have enriched my life, and Jennifer is at the top of my list.

Today is a good day and I hope that is an indication that 2014 will be a good year.

Today I am thankful for good friends, a warm home, and a loving family.