Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby Log Cabin Quilt DONE!

I finished the baby log cabin quilt and sewed the binding on while visiting with my parents.  My youngest son and I gave it to his teacher yesterday and she was thrilled with it.  She asked me an interesting question, "How do you know how to do this?".  I could only answer that it is my hobby and obsession.  As soon as I decided I wanted to make a quilt, 9 years ago, I started learning, obsessing and collecting.  Anyway, I washed the quilt and it was all puckery and soft and I'm very pleased with the results.

Here is some quilting detail and the back of the quilt, which is flannel, before I sewed the signature square on.

While in South Bend we went to the "Blue and Gold" spring football game at Notre Dame. Older son was very happy about that and got "the shirt" to wear.  99% of his friends and classmates are Ohio State Buckeye fans and he enjoys parading his "Irish" fan-ness whenever he can.  Anyway, "the shirt" is an interesting fundraising effort for Notre Dame students and I'm sure we will be looking for next year's shirt to add to his collection.

The prom dress I'm altering for my dd's friend is almost done. I'm rehemming the front so she doesn't step on it.  The poor kid lost more weight after I altered it so it had to be adjusted again.  We're hoping she will be healthy enough to make it to the prom.  At least the beading part is done and I can readjust it more easily now.

Time to watch "American Idol" soon while I work on clue two of the OC quilt.  I have one, count it ONE of the 142 squares done.  I had to do that one so I could say I was working on it!

Say a prayer of good health for dd's friend and enjoy your evening.

Piecefully yours, Jenni

Friday, April 18, 2008

Road Trip

I'm taking off with three of the kids (oldest DD is away at college) to the vicinity of South Bend, Indiana to visit my parents.  Hopefully my brother and his family will be able to find time to visit with us, also.  It's a 6 1/2 hour trip so the kids are getting out at noon.  My oldest son loves anything to do with Notre Dame so I'm sure we'll have to check out the campus, AGAIN!

Here is the quilt I made a couple years ago for my parents' 50th anniversary.  There are 50 leaves and a heart for each child and grandchild.  I even hand quilted it.  It hangs in their living room by my mother's grand piano.  It's shown here hanging from a broomstick on the window of a cabin we had rented for a family reunion.  Classy, right?!!

Back to the grind Sunday evening.  I hope to finish the prom dress when we get back so I can start the next clue of the Orange Crush quilt.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I won!

I won something! A few months ago I dutifully filled out a questionnaire for Fiskars and I was notified by a very nice representative through an email that I won a $50 gift card! Yahoo! FedEx delivered it today. I'm saving it for the NQA quilt show to buy more goodies!  I never win so this was a great surprise!  Fiskars rocks!

This is as close as I'm going to get to anything related to Orange Crush for a while. I was excited to find DIET Orange Crush! It doesn't taste too bad, either.  Clue 2 will have to wait for me until next week.   Sooooo tempting, though!

Procrastination update!  I finally MADE myself do a big free motion quilting practice square this afternoon.  I squiggled and wiggled and adjusted tension until I decided that maybe, just maybe I didn't stink so badly after all.  I got brave and quilted the center of the baby quilt.  I ran out of bobbin TWICE and also ran out of thread but had another color that was close enough.  It's scrappy, right?!  Here's my star squiggles so far.

Finally, something I've quilted doesn't look "wilted" on the back!  I think I may have solved some tension problems.  It's not perfect but it's a start.  I'm excited to get back to it after I feed my kids. 

DD isn't too happy with me because I called the Red Cross to arrange for her to take her final life guarding test AFTER she recovers from pneumonia. Some things just aren't worth it. To make her feel better I promised to start her friend's dress tonight.  I finally moving forward!  Well, everywhere BUT on the exercise front.  I didn't make the bike ride.  I need to get the quilt and dress going.  That little quilt is getting a lot more exercise than I am!

In pieces, Jenni

Procrastination Station

Here are some pictures of the chunky pages I sent Katxena in our craftster chunky page swap.  I paperpieced the little quilt square and went with a "zetti" theme for the rest.  On the back I machine stitched the words "When life gives you scraps, make quilts".  Katxena is a fellow quilter and follower of Bonnie's scrap system so I thought it was appropriate. You can see what she sent me here.

I'm here blogging because I'm avoiding what I really need to be doing.  
  1. Quilt the baby log cabin.  Once again I freeze and can't decide what to do and then freak that it won't look good.  Anybody have a good swift kick they can send my way?!
  2. Alter a beaded, red silk prom dress for my daughter's bff.  She is a very sick girl and has lost 15 pounds since she bought it.  She's all of about 105 pounds now.  I'm afraid to ruin a $400 dress.  I'll get over it, there's still 2 weeks until prom.  Adrenline in the form of PANIC will kick in soon.
  3. Chunky page for a Craftster swap for MY bff, my college roomie.  Rackycoo is an awesome artist, heck she majored in art.  This lil' ol' elementary ed major is STUCK on ideas.  It has to be fab.  I still have over a week.
  4. Another chunky page for alteredmommy for a book she is raffling off.  She's another awesome craftster that has a very inspiring story.  The theme is "hope" and I have drawn my design.  This isn't due until May and is what I really WANT to make, but am not letting myself until I get the above three done.  Pooh.  Life.  
Of course there's always laundry, dinner, cleaning, walking, doing that exercise thing.  I'm probably going on a 2 hour bike ride with hubby and oldest son tonight so I'll call that my moving for today.  They are intense cyclists.  I'm not.  I like to cruise through life and look at the scenery instead of see how hard and fast I can go.  At least it would be something to do while avoiding the above!

I am trying to force myself NOT to look obsessively for the next orange crush clue.  I'm not even close to being successful, but trying.

On the home front, my poor daughter was sick all weekend and the last two days with walking pneumonia.  She went back to school today but is extremely tired.  We were planning to head to South Bend to visit my parents this weekend.  I need to check with the doctor to see if she is contagious after being on antibiotics.  Poor kid.  Hope she feels better for the prom!!  She's supposed to take her final test to get certified for lifeguarding tonight.  I'm not real excited about her getting in the water or trying to do this with pneumonia.  

Youngest son had a 5th grade band concert last night.  Very amusing.  It was a really strange crowd with lots of hooting and hollering at the kids as they went on stage and performed.  My mother, the ex-music teacher, would DIE if she witnessed that.  She always taught me that concerts were a formal, dignified event.  Not that one!!

I'm off to find some other means of avoiding the quilt and the dress.  Heck, maybe I'll just jump in and do it.  Piece out!  Jenni

Monday, April 14, 2008

Star light, star bright!

Progress!  I finally got the top of the log cabin baby quilt put together.  I realized a lot while doing this.  I have been doing so much freeform artsy type stuff with my atc's, chunky pages and other "fun" stuff that I have totally gotten away from good clean piecing techniques.  I got out my moleskin and my rulers and changed the feet on the machine for this one. 

About half way through these log cabin blocks I had a big WHAT WAS I THINKING moment.  Geez, why so many strips Jen?!!  I could have done it with bigger strips or something but I really, really LOVE log cabin quilts and am dying to make more.  I made a few mistakes in this one but overall I'm happy with it and hope the recipient doesn't mind "scrappy".  I don't know the teacher well that I'm making this for.  I just know that my son really likes her and is excited about her new baby. 

I was very undermotivated this weekend to exercise and didn't.  Last night I realized, as hubby and I were looking at places to go in Key West, that I need to get my act together and get in swim suit shape!!  We are going there for our 25th anniversary, sans kids.  I'm very excited and got off my butt to do another 3 mile walk.  I may have to up the workouts.

When I'm motivated.

Tonight I'm going to quilt like a rock star to try to get this to the new momma before she has to go on maternity leave.  The baby's due May 1st but it is her second so who knows how long she'll be able to hold out.

Besides, I'm looking forward to some new OC clues soon!  I'm really enjoying all the new "friends" I'm making by visiting the "quiltville" and mystery blogs.  Leave me a comment to let me know you've been here, I love getting them!!

Piecefully yours, Jenni

Friday, April 11, 2008

Baby log cabin progress!

Here are the strips I gathered and cut for the baby quilt I'm making. It will be dark blue, bright blue, white (ish) and light blue. I got lucky because a friend that was moving gave me a HUGE tub of her scrap and unwanted fabric. There were lots of strips already cut in the bin which I immediately sorted in Bonnie's method. Between her fabrics and mine it will be nice and scrappy but stlll look good. 

Last night, after THE most disappointing American Idol ever, I finished the star points, which I think will be the hardest because I had to think as I did it. I tried to use the brighter blue between the star points and the dark along the edges to give it a "starburst" effect. I plan to do all dark blue squares in the corners and all light blue squares in the center. 
What do you think so far?

I'm pleased. I'm off to sew for an hour on it. I'm trying to fit in one hour of exercise and one hour of sewing everyday. The two things that keep me fit and sane! I got up early to do the three mile portion of Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds. If I get some more squares done I will hopefully be able to post more tomorrow. My oldest daughter is coming home today for the weekend and I'm hoping to get through the boys outgrown clothes. I'm planning a mega garage sale in May as incentive to clean out the house. I'm planning on using the proceeds for spending money at the NQA Quilt Show in June. Talk about incentive! Clean house AND stash? I'm all over that!
 Piecefully yours, Jenni

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sewing frenzy!

After my three mile walk this morning I gathered up dark blue, light blue and white 1 1/2 inch strips to make a log cabin baby quilt for my son's teacher. She's due May 1st so I need to make it snappy! She told my son she is decorating her room in chocolate brown with dark blue, light blue and white stars. I don't really have any brown in the quilt. Maybe I can go shopping for the back. My goal is to use up my stash, though. I only want to buy tools and thread right now.

Oh well. Maybe just a yard and a half. It's for the baby, after all! I hope to work on it tomorrow, too and post a pic. So far I have half the blocks almost done. There are going to be 16 blocks total.

For you American Idol fans, HOW SAD are you?!!! I just love Michael Johns. I didn't vote on Tuesday so I blame myself (like I would have made a difference).

Off to finish the first half of my log cabin blocks.

Peaceful piecing! Jenni

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The little purse that is

Kittykill received her package yesterday!  I can finally show you the purse that I made to replace the one posted about below.  The front pocket is a mini quilt that I stitched to the outside by the binding.  Here's a pic of the inside

I also sent her an embroidery floss roll up she wanted. I designed it to work kind of like knitting needle roll ups. I randomly pieced the outside with red and white fabric scraps (don't have a pic of that unfortunately) and embroidered birds and a heart on it.

The inside has a zippered clear pocket for extras, a scissor pocket and needle spot. The part I'm most proud of is the area with the pockets for floss. The sides pieces I used to attach them with aren't uniform, which irritated me when I was done but I was proud of how the rest of them turned out.

I had fun making this crow pillow holding an anatomical heart.

Last but now least, happy 15th birthday (yesterday) to this handsome guy! Here he's with his sis last May before his 8th grade dance. He's almost 3 inches taller now!!

>That's all for now, Happy Spring everyone!!  Jenni

Monday, April 7, 2008

Orange Crush Step one DONE!

I finally finished pressing all my four patches for the Orange Crush Mystery quilt. I stitched them in little batches with the big finish last night but I pressed them all tonight.  I have 17 sets of 10 so I will have 20 extra four patches to play with in another project.  I'm thinking there could be a table runner in my future!

I'm still waiting patiently for my package to arrive in Oregon for kittykill so I can post pictures of it. I've gotten so many compliments on the bag and necklace she sent me (posted below)!

On the fitness front I've exercised everyday since last Monday and added a new weight loss ticker to my blog.  I've also been working on a plan to get organized.  I figure that's my answer to getting more time to quilt.  I'm going to start with my sewing room and move on from there.  I'm thrilled to find Bonnie's scrap organizing system.  Tomorrow I start!  I'm too embarrassed to post a "before" photo although I may take one for my own punishment so I never let it get so bad again!  You'll probably never see the photo of me 70+ pounds heavier for the same reason.  It's painful to look at it sometimes.  I figure I'm cruising toward some national reality show embarrassment if I don't fix it ASAP!!

I drove 1 1/2 hours one way this morning to have lunch with my oldest dd at her  college campus.  It was a beautiful day for a drive and a great day for a hug and some smiles.  

I'm off to bed so I can get up and walk, then organize! 

Peaceful piecing, Jenni

Friday, April 4, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

No time for stitching today but I did get some awesome swap packages today. One is from kittykill for the Craftster birdswap. Look at the awesome embroidery on the tote bag!!

More pictures can be seen here.

I did get my 50 minutes of walking in and got through a few piles of laundry. Mostly I worked on my hospice fundraiser. Tonight we have a special birthday dinner for my dear MIL who is 80 years young. Happy Birthday Bess! I'm so lucky to have you in my life.

Tomorrow is the big show and then I hope to get back to some sewing. 

Peaceful piecing everyone!! Jenni

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Orange Crush progress

I foolishly thought I could finish step one of the Orange Crush quilt yesterday! The dog, kids, phone and laundry had other plans for me. I did get all my "two patches" done and one set of ten four-patches. I feel pretty good about it because I can slip up to my sewing area to sew up a few at a time. I'm really having a hard time with the totally scrappy thing. I know that if I obsess too much the quilt will never get made. If it turns out to be hideous I'll either hide it under one of the many other projects that need to be quilted or let the dog have a quilt of her very own. Then she can quit sleeping on the piles of dirty laundry! The piles are so big it must be cozy. Pathetic, isn't it?!!

I have lots and lots of work to do on the fundraiser I'm working on for our local hospice. They put on a huge variety show each year and have a cash raffle to help make money. I'm in charge of the raffle. We sell up to 400 tickets with the chance for the winner to take home $20,000 and the other half of the money goes to hospice to help people that can't afford to pay. Great cause, lots of work updating my database and printing the tickets. The show is Saturday, so I better get busy and quit playing with my fabric!

On the exercise front, I've done a minimum of 30 minutes each day this week. Time to get off my hiney and go for a walk. Maybe I'll make the dog get off her laundry pile so she can go with me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The little purse that won't be . . .

Sniff. I stayed up late into the night last Thursday to make a purse for kittykill, my bird swap partner on Craftster . Okay, so late for me is past midnight people. I'm getting old. Anyway, I've been playing with a technique where you take leaves and petals from artificial flowers, arrange them on a muslin/batting/muslin sandwich , cover them with netting and quilt them down. I used the technique for my Fabric ATC's here

(The backs look like this)

I also used it for my Craftster Chunky Page Swap that I sent to Original Youth

I thought it would make a cute purse so I had fun with the fabric, machine appliqued a little birdie on it and started to finish the purse when I noticed the netting was torn in spots and melted in others.  

Bah! I was tired at that point and decided to scrap the whole thing. I might try to stitch something over it and give it to one of my girls or use it myself. I did make another purse yesterday that turned out great to replace it. Pics of that to come since kittykill won't receive her package until next week and if she reads this won't be surprised anyway!!

On another note, for those of you that don't know me (ha ha, like all of you most likely) I have lost 75+ pounds since January 1, 2007 by following the South Beach Diet. In the past couple months I've put on 6 pounds. I actually feel as if I were as fat as I was when I started! All you amatuer anaylsts can have some fun with that one. Anyway, this week is THE week I'm starting to kick up the exercise. I've successfully changed the eating habits, I'm just eating too much of the right stuff and not moving enough. My goal is to do 45 - 60 minutes of walking or exercise per day and up my water intake. I love Leslie Sansone's walking videos. Time to pop on in now.

IDOL tonight! I'm going to start my Orange Crush quilt while I watch as a reward for all the walking I'm about to do.

Geez, this blogging thing is exhausting!! I hope I get the hang of it soon.