Friday, February 28, 2014

Sewing, But Not Blogging

I can't believe that February is over and I have yet to blog this month! I've finished a few projects, but I haven't had nearly as much time to sew as I would like. If you are a homeschool mom, or know someone who homeschools, you probably know that February is one of the hardest months of the year. February is always our worst month and it tempts me to throw in the towel. It doesn't help that most of the private schools around here start enrolling next week for the fall semester.

We're plugging away, hoping that spring will come and relieve our winter blues. March is coming in like a lion, though, with a winter weather advisory for this weekend. We are expecting anywhere from 5" to 12" depending on which weather report you read. I guess spring will have to wait for now!

On to the sewing!  I finished one of my very favorite quilts this month. It's one I'm keeping for myself and I love how it turned out! I went out of my comfort zone and quilted feather circles on this quilt. I traced a stencil onto the quilt top, then basted and quilted it. It turned out pretty well for my first time. It's so hard for me to control a quilt well enough to do complicated stitching, even with my Janome 6600 and it's larger harp space. Just when I thought I was doing well with free motion quilting, I find something new I need to practice! The quilting journey never ends, does it?

I also finished 4 pillow covers for my living room. My house is decorated with a lot of earth tones, so this chevron from Hobby Lobby was a perfect match. These pillows are 20"x20", plenty big for the kids to use to build forts and jump into like a pile of leaves.

One of my oldest UFOs saw the light of day this month! I started this Swing Bag (pattern by Amy Butler) for my Mom more than 3 years ago. It is reversible and the other side is a dark blue denim. I took this pic in a hurry before my Mom left with the bag. She loved it and I'm glad I was able to mark it off of my list!

My final finish was a doll quilt for an online swap. A website I'm a member of does these swaps 4 times per year, once per season. Most of us involved use them as wall hangings, so we stick to more grown-up fabrics & themes. I used textured fabrics for the first time on this one and it was an adventure! All of the solids are textured, while the print is regular quilting cotton. The quilter who received it seemed happy with it, so I'm so glad she liked it! I received the one she made in return and it's beautiful!

I'm hoping big things will happen in March! Maybe I will blog more. Maybe spring will show up? Maybe I'll finish a few more UFOs. We'll see how productive I am. I will spend a good amount of time cutting fabric and packing up a couple of quilts into kits for a quilting retreat I'm going to in April. I leave on April 1st, so I have a lot to get done in the next 31 days! I hope March is very productive for all of you and may spring come soon for all of us!

Here's a sneak peek at 2 of my projects in planning!

I'm linking up today with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. Head over there and be inspired by everyone's finishes!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy New Year! I Quilted!

I know I'm a little bit late in my celebration of the New Year, but I wanted to say it anyway. I hope 2014 is treating you all well so far!

We have had a whirlwind of a month! My sister, her husband & their 3 kids, who had always lived within an hour of us, left for 6 months of Spanish immersion language school in Costa Rica on January 15. It's been strange and emotional knowing that they are so far away and we anxiously await their return in early July. We are so thankful for Skype and Facetime! It makes the distance not seem so bad.

I had a finish done for 2014 on January 2nd! That's my Mom's birthday and I made her a table runner for her buffet that she had requested. I was in such a hurry to wrap it that I forgot to take a picture of it! Thankfully she lives just a few blocks away and I will be able to get a picture of it soon.

This week has been very productive! I got the "Rock Candy" pattern by Jaybird Quilts, along with the Sidekick ruler that the pattern uses and went to work. I was in the middle of fabric selection (Kona Sunset charms) for the first one when my Mom stopped over and commented on how she would "love one of those" using the fabrics shown on the front cover. She is not a big fan of black, so she requested one of the lighter colors as the background. I chose Kona in lavender because it matched and I had enough on hand. She hasn't seen it yet, but I have a feeling she's going to love it!

When I bought this pattern, I had envisioned it with just 3 colors, in an ombre-like pattern. I found these Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids at my LQS and they were exactly what I was looking for! I paired them with Kona in white and I finished the binding just this morning. I love how this turned out and it will really help brighten my house, which looks very bare after taking down all of our Christmas decorations.

I love how different a pattern can look by just changing the fabrics used. I can't say enough about how wonderful Jaybird Quilts is in her pattern design. I had never worked with diamonds before and both of these went together easily and without a lot of puckering. Most of my seams even match! I've been a big fan of Jaybird Quilts for a long time and I can't wait to see what she will come up with in the future! I saw that she is introducing a line of mini patterns and I will definitely be trying those!

This is a rough time of year for (most) homeschoolers, thanks to cabin fever and the slowing down of life after the holidays. I'm trying to pass the time with a lot of fabric, sewing and designing. I can only hope February will go as fast as January has!

I'm linking up today with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. Head over there and check out everyone's finishes this week!