Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Star Struck flimsy

Star Struck - 72" x 88"
The border treatments for Star Struck were finished up this morning; simple, yet effective, I dare say.  Backings were the next "B" word to tackle -- always a struggle for me!!!  I like the simplicity of having a constant backing, however RARELY do I have enough of any one fabric to manage this.  My next stand-by backing is to cut apart left over yardage into 10.5" squares for piecing;  I was figuring that would be the backing of choice for this quilt.

However, I spied a bolt of blue/neutral flannel on my shelf.   In the end, there were around 5 yards on the bolt -- I truly never measured.  I simply unrolled it and placed it on top of the quilt top spread out on the floor.  I have only backed one other quilt in all my years with flannel, but I had just enough yardage to piece a length-wise backing.  It simply will have to work.
Therefore, the batting I prepared was NOT warm-n-natural.  Instead, I used up the last of my Thinsulate batting as well.  This quilt really is using up every last bit of a few different things :)

The backing is pieced and loaded on the frame.
The batting has been cut, pieced and on the frame as well.
That's as far as I will take things today.  The temps downstairs are quite chilly, and my hands/fingers have finally warmed back up from getting everything loaded on the frame.

We will finally be back to a normal schedule tomorrow at school.  And I can guarantee at LEAST a few students who will insist on complaining that we didn't get more days off of school;  there are always those few.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Scrappy Happy Scrappy

With oodles of bonus HST triangles collecting, I figured I would utilize the ol' border standby -- PINWHEELS.  These bonus triangles really do multiply, specially if they don't get used in the quilt that they were created from.  I think many of these are from Oklahoma Backroads from YEARS ago, in addition to... well.... umm.... probably the Star Struck blocks.  

Barely a dent in the box later, I had a couple dozen pinwheels pieced with a few boo-boos to boot.

However, after a simple test run, I wasn't likely 'em much :\   They would finish at 3"; the Star Struck blocks were 8" finished (4" sub-units).  I dunno, but they simply didn't make me feel all warm-n-fuzzy.

Therefore, I walked away.  And went back to the drawing board (ie: Google search) for quilt border treatments.  So much inspiration can be overwhelming the brain waves in matters of minutes with typing a a simple "Quilt border treatments" phrase in the search bar.  Images upon images putting the sense of vision on overload.  Not to mention what it does to the whole ADHD many of us quilters have!
But then, something else was happening to my sense of sight and the brain waves....
and the eyes grew heavy...
And then they closed....for a BRIEF time.  Truly.  Short-n-sweet 15 minute power nap.  

Once alert again with a focus in mind, a simple, 2.5" square scrappy border was started before needing to break for dinner.

As if almost on cue, my cell phone jingled to announce yet another school closing for tomorrow.  When I read that Bonnie was Quilt-Cammin' tonight-----I.  Was.  Like.  Totally. There!
And Paul here was being a goof, reacting with an...."OMGoodness....is that THEEEE Bonnie??  Oh boy... I can't contain my excitement!  I'm, like, totally Star Struck!"
He actually ventured into my sewing room to ask if my QuiltCam stream would be affected if he were to do some research for some fishing-thing-er-another.  Awww.....how considerate of him to ask!  He knew I was looking forward to my Bonnie-time! ;)

Since I have another day off tomorrow to work on Star Struck,  I decided to leave the border laying as it was...

and grabbed some more scraps.  Yup, Alycia!  Total SQUIRREL move tonight!

When I started out with this block of Judy's (January Big-T Scrappy Challenge block), I had plans only of using up some of my blue scraps.  However, not only do I have lots of blue scraps, I also have lots of reds due to my QOVs over the years.  So.... I'll try to wade through some of my RWB scraps throughout the year with Judy's Scrappy Challenge.   

Four Big-T 9" blocks done tonight.
And, although many would call this a scrappy block... I feel like I cheated by using a WHOLE 3.5" square in the center!  I have so few 3.5" scraps in the bins anymore!  But lots of 2" strips!  I had the Companion Ruler all set with some 2" blue strips to make some hour-glass center units, but I was starting to fade by 9:00, so I used the 3.5" squares and called them done.

Goal tomorrow:  
Piece Star Struck into a flimsy.  
Piece a backing for Star Struck.  
Load Star Struck on the frame.

Happy Monday everyone!

Star Struck center

This online community of quilters is truly amazing, filled with brilliant suggestions.  I'm thankful we aren't afraid to suggest ideas, tips and the like to each other!
Angela's afterthought comment from my last post was extremely helpful.  With a little rearranging, a little ripping, and a sewing/scrap frenzy of piecing another 12 blocks... the scattering of the gold stars became an intentional design layout.
The center is now a 7x9 layout, rather than a 7x8 as I mentioned yesterday.  7x8 wasn't enough of the 'golden ratio' for me :D

Celtic Solstice has taken over my leader-ender project as I've been working on Berquist Beauty and now Star Struck.  Another 20 blocks in the making here.... all L/E.

And the 20 blocks on the stool here were all L/E'd when working solely on Berquist Beauty.  Bonnie hit the jackpot with the L/E idea!  No doubt!

BTW.  We received the call from the school district last night at 8:30 announcing the closing of school for the day due to extreme cold weather.  After watching news this AM, I can't see how the school CAN'T make the same call for tomorrow since tomorrow is expected to be even colder.  Crazy cold weather this year for much of the nation, that's for sure.

It's hard to believe it's THAT cold out when the house is a ROASTING 85 degrees!!!!!!  Between the wood furnace AND the extremely deceiving sunshine, the girls and I have elected to change into some shorts! LOL.  

#2 and #3 are playing the Wii;  #1 is wasting time "researching" on YouTube.  LOL.
I just came upstairs from piecing the center of Star Struck.  I'll throw together a light lunch since Paul made a yummiful brunch for all of us at 10:00, and enjoy some down-time looking through Bonnie's patterns to find a border treatment.

The school's band is having a Cabaret Concert at the end of February and the director is asking around to local businesses for raffle items (I just caught up on school email where he was filling the band parents in the latest happenings.)  So.....  ...... I haven't said anything yet, but I'm thinking I COULD get this quilt done by then and donate it to the band if he is interested.
Just thinking aloud right now.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More forgotten blue scraps...

I can't believe I had forgotten about this box, prepped years ago when I wanted to start working on Bonnie's Star Struck.  

In a different container, I found my Star Struck blocks.
And now I remember why I had stashed them away -- the splashes of yellow weren't making me happy, and I needed a break from them to think about what to do.

Well.... four years later (!!!!), I think it's time to just "know what to do."
Plan:  make up a few more blue blocks to bring the top to a 7x8 layout;  add a border or two.  And be done!  I think I'll donate it over to a school group that has silent auctions;  we are the Blue-n-Gold Lakers, after all.

But now... I'm truly pooped.  I DID sew for a few hours and I have Jen's Berquist Beauty ALMOST sewn into a quilt top.  Four more seams to go, and the quilt center will be ready (minus a simple border).  I simply don't have the energy left to finish up the last few seams.

I'm HOPING against hope that our school district makes a call for school tomorrow.  I know, I know... it seems that teachers beg for snow days more than students, but.... 
I'm pooped.  

It's been snowing all day.  However, that won't be the potential reason for another school canceling.  Windchills are predicted < -35 degrees F.  Schools around the area are already starting to make some calls;  one has made a call for tomorrow AND Tuesday already; although they are about 120 miles south of us.


Time for some down-time crochet.

More Basketball, more snow, more cold...

It really does feel like we've reached the stage of time where everything seems like its stuck on a repeat button.    Yesterday morning, we were able to sleep a few minutes later than a typical day, but were on the road by 8:15 to start the day of basketball...again.

First stop of the day:  4th grade Clayton Basketball Tournament - 49 miles logged.

The team has 9 girls;  two of whom had scheduling conflicts, and another who was hit with one of the many illnesses flying around our school, which brought us down to 6.  These kiddos aren't red-faced for nothing!  LOL.  They plays lots and won their games for a First place finish.  It was just Candace and me in the stands today since Dad was working and Cassie was at her own tournament....

By 1:00, we were on the road, heading to catch the end of Cassie's tournament.

Stop #2 of the day:  7th grade Chippewa Falls tournament -- another 70 miles logged.

This tournament was 10 minutes away from Uncle Travis's house, so he and the family came out to support Cassie when we couldn't be there.  How cool, right?!?!
{{Yes, quite the facial hair there, Trav!!!}}
The competition was STEEP, facing schools and communities much bigger than us.  As a former coach, I understand the reasoning for facing such tough competition.  The girls' schedules are getting super loaded, and..... they're starting to face exhaustion.  Compound that with the illness bugs spreading through the school... there were some tired girls at 6:00 last night! Thankfully, they are mostly still keeping their chins up despite the losses ---- and I think everyone is looking forward to a day OFF today, with some ibuprofin.  


So, after logging another 70 miles to reach home, the circle of traveling for the day was complete.  And everyone enjoyed changing into PJs and snuggling on the couch for relaxing TV entertainment.

My sister's double-golden birthday was this past week.  Clearly, her Berquist Beauty quilt hasn't seen a finish, but I have been using my basketball-bleacher time to make a bright-n-colorful scarf for her.  

The house is only a minor disaster.  Dishes have piled a bit.  Laundry, amazingly, has been kept under control with a few loads here-n-there throughout the week.  I'd love more than anything to just relax a bit today... and I will, without MUCH internal guilt happening.  Of course, there will be a bit of time to spend downstairs with a project or two.

The snow has started coming.  Again.
The extreme cold is returning.  Again.
I honestly can't even tell you how many inches we're expecting, nor what the predicted windchill forecast will be.  It's kinda turned into the norm this winter.  A new norm, certainly.  I can't remember the last winter we've had so much accumulated snow.  Winter-sport heaven, though!  And I have NEVER lived through such an extremely COLD winter.
We have shelter.  We have warm clothing.  We have heat, despite the LP shortages, thanks to our stockpile of wood and the wood furnace.

We just continue pressing the repeat button... living for those moments when life veers a bit for memorable moments.  Right? :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

A memorable day; exhausting but memorable

My day started out quite non-stressful.

Teachers had a half-day inservice in the afternoon, therefore the morning schedule was a bit of a mix-it-up day.  From time to time on early release days, in attempt to "balance out" missed classes due to early releases, the schedule skips some early morning classes, and rearranges to allow for afternoon classes instead.
Therefore, my first class today was my 7th period small-group Math RTI (Response to Intervention) class -- 7 students.  The class that did NOT meet today:  AP-STATS.  Therefore, today was the FIRST morning all year that I didn't need to sit and fret over being prepared or not for my 1st hour class.

Instead, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up an apple coffee cake and some SunnyD for my RTI kiddos.  Today, being the last day of the 1st semester, meant that I needed to do some benchmark testing with them.  So, we had a little "family" breakfast before the assessments :)

The good news:  They all improved.  Substantially, for most.  One of them improved out of "below average" to "well above average" AND she earned graduation from the additional assistance group!  Another student also earned graduation, but he actually chose to stay -- he's so proud of his success -- and confidence!

The next class was my typical 2nd period class;  small quiz planned today.

the entire student body headed to the gymnasium for a surprise send-off for one of our staff members who is leaving on his 3rd deployment for the National Guard.
Pete is a Special Education instructor at our school;  his wife is the 7-12 Guidance counselor, and he has three children still in the school system, grades 4, 8, 10.   Pete received a QOV last year from me;  the presentation was extremely emotional.  Today was no different.
Mr. Hopke's Send Off www.youtube.com
A coworker recorded the first 14 minutes of the 45 minute presentation.  There were many teary eyes in the gymnasium.  The sacrifices that our military and their families make.... there are no words that can truly describe appreciation for what they do!
Our middle school science teacher (in the video) shared a wonderful analogy of the meaning behind our nation's Pledge of Allegiance.

Once the assembly came to an end, I was emotionally spent.  Truly.
I believe it was also slightly compounded by a bug hitting my system;  the bone-aches and headache were starting to settle in.

The day was finished with two more classes and hours of semester-end to-do lists during the afternoon inservice.  Followed by a birthday party and a late-night arrival home just to prepare everyone and everything for a full-day of basketball tournaments tomorrow, going as a solo-parent.

And now, at the end of the day, I watch Pete's send-off video again... and the reality of what he and his family will be living for the next year sinks in even more...... and it makes me so super appreciative of my husband and family.  I take so many things for granted far too often.

May your weekend be filled with happiness!
Happy Friday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A rescue...

I know, I know...
Sometimes it's just easier to THROW IT AWAY.

I'm sure that's what my husband was thinking when he did this terrible, terrible TERRIBLE deed....

I got home tonight and found THIS in the garbage.....

LOL!  Silly, silly husband.  Sure, sure....the arm is torn apart.  No biggy.  Sure, sure... the collar is a disaster of tears.  No biggy.  Sure, sure... there are scattered worn holes.  No biggy.

There is STILL some usable fabric in this TRIPLE-X sized shirt!  

He's forgiven.  Don't worry :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Yummy fabrics calling to me...

The other day, when I had a moment or two, I started looking through my shelves for fabrics that have been brewing for a year, or two......or....ummm....five. !?
In 2009, I purchased a handful of FQs (lower left) and yardage (the dark olive fabrics) from the Twilight Frost line of Connecting Threads. The line has since been discontinued.

A visit to the local quilt shop added 5 yards of a frost-fern batik background, a yard of a dark purple batik, and 2 1/3 yards of a medium purple for a potential border and/or sashing.

I HAD a plan in mind for them, but... I'll let the idea continue to simmer and percolate before making a definite decision.

Afterall, we all have a pretty good idea of how many projects I have all in different stages around the sewing room.  Time to finish, finish, finish before I "squirrel" and start, start, start.


Happy Tuesday

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday's putterings

My cutting mat is a disaster right now;  filled with Celtic Solstice units awaiting block creation.  Before I could even dream about starting anything new... the mat needs to be cleared.  And I will NOT simply move piles somewhere else to make new piles;  rather, these units will be my task...
... along with working on Jen's Berquist Beauty layout.

Before heading out fishing, Paul stopped by the mailbox to pick up our mail from the past couple of days.  Are we the only ones who are too busy to NOT check the mailbox everyday????  PLEASE say you happen to go a day or two before saying...."Oh yah, I suppose we should finally get the mail!"

Anyway... there was a package in the mail from The Fatquarter Shop.  I won a little giveaway from Jo's Country Junction, last week;  I was super super surprised when I received an email notification from Jo that I had won.  The prize:  these adorable lil' mini-packs of 2.5" squares.  I may need to make her Moda Bakeshop Candy Wishes quilt now!!!

A bit ago, I received a text from Paul, who is out ice-fishing with the two youngest.

Can you see the fish Candace is holding???  LOL.  That might even be too small to keep for a simple pan-fish.

At the homefront, Cass and I are tidying up a bit now and warming up some left-overs for lunch.  Supper plans consist of a meatloaf using a 1:1 ratio of ground beef and ground sausage.  I haven't used a ground sausage mix in quite awhile, but.... I saw a WHOLE HUGE box of 1-lb ground sausage packages in the chest freezer yesterday;  we gotsta start using some of that up :)

I'm waiting for Cassie to decide if she wants to clean off the table to set up the Ping-Pong game or not.  Until then... 
...it's time to slow down a little bit with my feet up.  Ribbon Afghan will see a row or two added.

Happy Sunday

7AM - 8PM; Enough basketball yet?

The clan pulled out of the driveway at 7:10AM yesterday morning and didn't return until 7:50PM after a day full of basketball.
The day was long, and filled with a bit of schedule-joggling in order to make it happen.  AND, we did.

Cassie started us out with an 8:00 game at our own home school.
7th grade basketball team with Coach Osborn
There are three girls on the team that have been towering over classmates consistently for the past couple of years:  Cassie and the two teammates on each side of her pictured above.  There's a little nickname starting to be murmured about the squad for these three:  The triple threat.

Cassie has only been jumping the ball at the start of the game for the past couple of events.  When we asked her why she thought Coach made this switch, her response was..."Probably because I'm tallest now."   Well.... ya gotta love logic.

Even though this is "only 7th grade," the game is already reaching an increased level of intensity and is pretty physical!  Cassie, unfortunately, was assigned to guard a "hot head" ---- really.  Cassie kept her cool and did her job;  the other girl fouled out by the end of the game, only after receiving a technical to boot!  Yup.  In fact, the green team opponent had TWO girls foul out before the end of the game, and TWO players on the team had earned technicals.  Alright.... that coach obviously has to figure it out!  **shaking head in complete disbelief STILL**
Anyway, SADLY, we actually weren't able to see the 2nd half of this game because we had to hit the road to get Caitlyn to HER tournament in a town an hour away.  All of the foul and technical foul information was relayed to Paul and I via texts mssgs from other parents while we were on the road.  {{I left with strict instructions to txt me if Cassie received an elbow from her opponent! ... LOL.}}  Sure, I laugh now, but..... really.  It was THAT bad;  that girl .... she had some competitive aggression issues and a coach that didn't bench her.

Anyway.... by the time we arrived to Caitlyn's tournament, we received a final text message that Cassie's team won.  By two points, with the winning basket at the 2-second mark.  Whooo-ooo.

On to Caitlyn and her adorable lil' 4th grade squad.  What a change in intensity.  ;)
These girls are learning the fundamentals of team plays this year, being their first year having competition with other schools in the conference.

Caitlyn also is assigned the duty to start the ball in play with the jump-ball;  I suppose having a Dad that is 6'6" might have something to do with their height advantages.  (Yah....Gah-REAT picture, Mom!)

The 4th grade games are fun and relaxing to watch.  There are lots of smiles and laughs from fans, watching the girls figure out the do's and don'ts of the game.  Watching the coaches is sometimes a hoot, too.  They really (for the most part) handle their frustrations well, and teach the girls as the games proceed.

The highlight of Caitlyn's day was the steal (which I actually CAPTURED!) she made, leading to a breakaway layup shot, that she MADE!!!  Her arms went up in the air afterwards in victory... and the fans chuckled.  How could you not? ;)

By 12:00, Caitlyn's tournament consisting of two games was complete.  After a quick Subway stop for lunch, we were back on the road, heading back to Cassie's tournament.
Although the schedule for Cassie's tournament was long and crazy, it truly worked to our advantage.  We missed her 10:30 game, but we were able to watch her 3:00 game AND her 6:30 game.  Plus, the advantage of having a home tournament:  once the 3:00 game ended at 4:00, we were able to head home to take care of animals and prepare dinner supplies before needing to head back for the 6:30 game.

All in all....yup, it was a long day.  Just ask CANDACE!  BUT, it was a decent schedule to fit it all in.

Today:  I'm avoiding the school bag (for the most part);  I'm getting good at accepting what can be done, AND school work is to be done at SCHOOL!  If I can't get it done there, well....... then some flexibility in the daily schedule and/or expectation of completion of tasks simply needs to be made.  The reality is what it is;  and the administration, parents, students and community have to accept that certain standards have been forced to be lowered due to the crazy impossibility of what's expected on our plates.  Truly.
This is the weekend, and..... I'm starting to simply put my foot down.  No.  I won't burn up 4 hours of my Sunday for ONE class.  BUT, I also know ME!  I know I'll need to put in at least an hour of basic prep in order to reduce some stress of walking into AP-Stats with the only plan of "winging" a lesson.  Ummmm....there is NO "winging" an AP-Stats lesson!

Whining?  Nope.   Just.  Burned out.  And trying to keep my sanity and TRULY TRULY trying to stay positive.

SO....today:  A little bit of house cleaning, laundry-doings, and... of course, SOME SEWING!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Block drafting 101

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...
Once 5:00 PM hits on a Friday night, my math brain shuts off for the weekend!!!

Two hours ago, I set out to help buddy Andee.  Task:  draft a 9" Talkin' Turkey block. (pic from Andee's post last night).  Using the picture of her block, I set out with the basic drafting tools in-hand... pencil, paper and ruler.
Drafting a block in a different size starts by drawing a life-size version of the block, for me anyway.  I don't always draw, BUT I certainly do when the overall fundamental block breakdown doesn't work mathematically nicely with the finished size of the block.  Meaning:  I see this block as an 8x8 unit breakdown;  but the finished block needs to be 9".  That's 9 ÷ 8 = 1 1/8" finished sections.  
Therefore, it's a good thing for me that my daughters have some drawing tablets that are 9"x12"!  

NOW, before I get going too far......If you enlarge the picture to see my hand-written cutting measurements.....  STOP.  
LOL.  I had a brain-fart.....
and it didn't hit me what I had done until I went through allllllll of this......

And then, when I pressed the string red units......
**scratchin' head**

My string blocks match up nicely to the drafted drawing, but.....my 1/4" seam for the bordering unit was NEVER going to meet the point(s) of intersection between the 9-patch and the red strings....

I looked over all measurements, and I was simply ..... confused!
Why oh why is the 9-patch not workin'?!?!?!  It's too small!

When I grabbed my ruler to measure the 9-block finished squares in my drawn version.....SURE SHOOTIN'!  They measure 1 9/16". {{yeah, icky measurements to quilters accustomed to measurements in quarters and eighths}}
BUT, when I measured the finished 9-block squares, they were measuring about 1 5/16" ...
And then it hit me!!!!!!!!

Good golly!  HOW long have I been quilting?!?!?
Once I had the finished measurements determined from the life-size block draft, I added ONE-QUARTER inch to the finished size of the squares instead of ONE-HALF inch!!!

**forehead slap**
The red string blocks are right on the money, but I'll need to rip-rip-rip in order to recreate the 9-patch.

So, Andee..... I don't have the test block to show you yet, but, I'm PRETTY POSITIVE on these measurements now ;)

String blocks
Cut TWO foundation squares to 5" and piece the strings (I use paper).
Once pieced, square up to 4 3/8".

Cut in half against the diagonal.  Yield:  4 HST strings.

REMEMBER:  This picture shows the WRONG SIZE 9-patch!
Each square of the 9-patch unit needs to be cut at 2 1/16".  I suppose you could cut to 2 1/8" if you use a SLIGHTLY larger (thread-width?) seam allowance.  DO NOT cut at 1 13/16"  LOL;  that'll end up being 1/4" too small!

Flying Geese
Cut 8 backgrounds rectangles:  1 5/8" x 2 3/4"
Cut 16 colored squares: 1 5/8" x 1 5/8"
Sew using the corner-to-corner flip-n-stitch method.

Other bordering pieces
You'll need 4 more background rectangles 1 5/8" x 2 3/4" for the border centers
and four (4) 1 5/8" x 1 5/8" background squares for the corners.

I'll try another one on Sunday;  I'm booked solid tomorrow with Basketball tournaments: 7AM - 8 PM! Holy buckets!

Happy Saturday.

And remember the quilter's drafting rule:  ADD A HALF!!!! {{NOT Add a quarter!}} 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bonnie - a family event

Monday night, the household schedule was a classic chaotic busy one.

Directly after school, we super-quick needed to head home to feed the animals (dog, ducks, chickens, goats)...AND the girls, all within a 30 minute timespan.  It was then time to super-quick head back to school to have Cassie arrive for her Basketball game warm up period.  At half-time of Cassie's game, I super-quick needed to drive Caitlyn to the Primary school for her practice; and then it was back to the high-school to finish watching Cassie's game.

By the time Cassie's game and the 8th grade game that followed was finishing up, it was time to head out to pick up Caitlyn from her practice, but not before heading to the grocery store super-quick to buy some much needed groceries.

We were home by 7:30, and HUNGRY! (despite having that bite to each almost 4 hours prior).
SO..... PIZZA was on the menu!

While it was cookin' away in the oven, I did some multi-tasking of emptying the dish-washer, loading it, and reading blogs and FB.

By the time I got to Bonnie's (8:00ish), she had just posted she was Quilt-Cammin' it!!!!!  

AS BADLY as I wanted to sew, sew, sew; we all know the reality of THAT wish! ;)

BUT, the girls and I enjoyed listening to her as we ate our late-evening dinner.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The race WAS on...

Ten days ago (1/4/14), I arrived home from the last celebration of Christmas with my family.  That day, I had spent an hour shopping fabrics for a quilt for my sister's king size bed.   On the drive home, I set my mind on a crazy challenge:  to finish Jen's quilt in time for it to arrive to her for her January 22 birthday!  14 days to make it;  a few days to allow for shipping....  I could do it, right?!?!?!?!

Early Sunday morning (1/5/14), I was up early, washing and pressing fabrics.  Recall my post?

Berquist Beauty fabrics cut
Behind the blogging scenes in top-secret mode, I had spent much of the day Sunday doing calculations, cutting all the fabrics, and creating all 240 4-patches for the king size quilt AND all 244 HSTs.  That was a LOT of cutting and chain sewing!!!!!!!!!
Some power sewing and cutting
When we were informed that Monday's school (1/6/14) was cancelled due to weather, I pushed and pushed on Sunday even MORE to get as much of the cutting and sewing done as possible.  I was really beginning to think that I may JUST accomplish my challenge, specially with the gift of extra time due to the "cold" day.  Yes!

But, I think I worked and pushed myself too hard on Sunday.  :\ 

On Monday, I was beat.  The basement was SUPER cold that day, and.... I was fighting for energy.  I ended up moving my ironing board to my main floor and was able to manage a two-hour long pressing session to press all 244 HSTs and 240 4-patches that were pieced on Sunday.

When the call came in that afternoon for school being cancelled again for Tuesday (1/7/14, a week ago), I was feeling a little bit better about not utilizing all the additional time I was given on Monday to reach my crazy goal to finish this quilt.

Tuesday's goal:  cut and sew the 240 Tri-Recs blocks.

Tuesday.  Ugh!  I literally did NOTHING!  I perused blogs.  Searched Ravelry.  Did some laundry.  But did NO sewing!  Talk about feeling the guilt settle in :\

Wednesday through Friday brought on a typical crazy, busy schedule;  no sewing time existed.
Saturday was tournament day in basketball for Caitlyn, BUT I was able to sew for a couple of hours (7-9AM) before needing to head out.  LOTS of cutting of the Tri-Rec units.  Oh boy....... the reality of the goal-time finish was starting to fade away;  those Tri-recs take some time!  (Remember clue #1 from Celtic Solstice?)

After returning home from Caitlyn's tournament, I did manage to POWER SEW all of the Tri-Rec units and press!  All blocks units were completed at that point (9PM),  so I spent about an hour's worth of time power sewing 61 blocks; half of the total needed. 

By the end of Saturday night, Berquist Beauty (right) has surpassed the status of my Celtic Solstice (left).  And I was a tired cookie.

Sunday morning arrived, and..... 8:05AM!!!!!!!  Holy cow.  That is actually a LATE waking time for me.  I can't remember the last time I slept that late.
I didn't panic;  but I did fight a little bit of inner guilt when I decided to sit with my feet up with my laptop and cup of coffee for an hour rather than head directly downstairs.

But by 9:15, I was downstairs.  It was a slow start; but I was still determined to push for the finish.  Goal for the day:  finish the remaining 60 blocks, and get the top center completely sewn!

I didn't quite make it.

So now, the reality has set in.  
Ya see, my sister has a totally geeky cool birthday this year!  She turns 44 on the 22nd.  I wanted it to be a super, super, cool birthday with a "double-golden-birthday" present.

She's not a quilter;  you may have read some of her comments from time-to-time.  She's "JB."  
And KNOWING that she's not a quilter, when I posted the Celtic Solstice / "Standard quilt" picture in the previous post {{comparing standard quilt units to a Bonnie-ized quilt unit}}, I really didn't think she'd notice that it was HER quilt that was the "standard" quilt.  
However, from her comment, I am assuming she figured it out.  
I wanted to keep this lil' surprise to myself.  Have I told you yet that I'm the baby sister in the family??  I. DON'T. KEEP. SECRETS.   I can't!  LOL

So, the cat is out of the bag.
AND :(
As badly as I would love to be shipping off a completed king size quilt next Monday in the mail......
I have to accept that it just isn't going to happen. Both girls have basketball tournaments on Saturday, which will only leave Sunday sewing time for me, and maybe some Friday night time (?).  The top center isn't pieced into rows yet;  that's a big undertaking;  11x11 layout, 9" blocks..... :|  
Then the rows need to sewn... then a small (or two small?) borders.  Then backing.  batting.  and king-size quilt quilting!!!!

Jen, I love you.  And I tried!  I want your 44th on the 22nd to be super super cool!  :\  Sadly, it won't be "quilt cool."

Yes, it will be done by next Christmas!  PROMISE!!!  LOL

So now, I will sigh and say I tried to reach a silly crazy goal of finishing a king size quilt in 14 days while teaching full time and being "basketball" mom to boot.  

With my sister's blessing, I'll definitely RELAX and ENJOY a more relaxed time sewing together her quilt.  

Happy Tuesday

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Playing with scraps [RSC14]

Back in December, when I was trying to come up with a solution to finish off my RCS12 quilt top, I ran with an idea in my head.  I started cutting 3.5" white squares in order to create an alternating block (seen on the lower left here, and blogged here)
BUT sadly, since I didn't square up the bonus HST to 2" before sewing the bonus diamonds, ..... the block was a mess!  Lesson learned;  sew a test block BEFORE madly cutting a half-yard of fabric into 3.5" strips/squares!

The squares were still sitting on the side of my sewing area, looking quite sad in a slumped over pile :\
I grabbed 8 of them, along with some blue scraps, and tried out a 9" (finished) Maverick Star.  Simply playing....
And as I started setting the subunits together, I.... well.... cocked my head to the side, and said..."Eh.  This can be better!"

The center 3.5" [3" finished] square wasn't cutting it.  It may have been better had it been a print, but the plain......***YAWN!!!!!****

So I grabbed my Companion Angle Ruler.
I love using this ruler anytime we need QUARTER-SQUARE triangles (not Half-Square -- then you would use the EZAngle ruler).  
To use this ruler, you simply need to know the FINISHED size of your square unit;  mine is 3".   The larger numbers along the edge of the ruler are to guide you to your FINISHED size unit;  the smaller numbers that show up in the center tell you what size strip you need to cut from.

3" reference on the edge tells me to use 2" strips!  HEL-LLO!!! We probably all have 2" strips stored away in a shoebox or bin thanks to our dear Bonnie's Scrap Users System.

Four cuts later... and I have 4 quarter-square triangle ready to be sewn into an hour-glass unit.  The CON about these cuts is this:  the "sewing edge" is made entirely of a bias cut;  therefore, there is LOTS of potential for stretching of the fabric, and potentially.... a wonky unit.

LOL... ha!  A wonky unit.... in a wonky Maverick Star.....
...alright, my inner humor is probably only making me chuckle and making the rest of you roll your eyes and groan.

Anyway---a Bonnieized Maverick Star block!  
UPDATE [post-publishing]:  I was reminded of Bonnie's tutorial for her Maverick Stars.  I hadn't looked at it in years; the idea of the Maverick Star simply stuck.  After reading up on the tutorial again.....yuppers!  Sure enough!  Bonnie mentions how you can play around with numerous ideas for the center.  She shows 4-patches and plain... and Angela mentioned the possibility of a crumb-block as the center.  SOOOOO many wonderful ideas with such a "Bonnie" block!
Hence:  a definition:  Bonnieize ... "To take what originially was a plain, standard, classic block, and recreate it by replacing some or all subunits with units made up of much smaller scrappy pieces."
ie:  Celtic Solstice versus "Standard" Quilt
Notice the same overall pattern;  they both have the same alternating two-block layout.  HOWEVER, Bonnie's Celtic Solstice design uses: 
    - a scrappy pinwheel (step 3) instead of the simple center dark square
    - a 4-piece corner unit (step 5) instead of a simple HST
    - a 6-piece Chevron unit (step 2) instead of simple white squares

Happy Sunday sewing everyone!

Friday, January 10, 2014

More QOV inspiration?

Another lovely classic BOM came across my path today -- Debbie Mumm's 2014 BOM.  This is a 6 installment BOM - FREE.
Do you notice several of the blocks are repeated throughout the Sampler? Hence there are only 6 installments for the BOM.  The fabric selections showcased are absolutely beautiful;  wouldn't this be amazing with Civil War fabrics???

I'm not sure if you are a follower of Andee (ModernDiary), but her machine (and Kathy's!) has been smokin' out the projects lately!  Her Celtic Solstice AKA: PACKER SOLSTICE has been pieced into a top.  She's giving me an amazing push to get some progress posted on my own CS.

Also -- how about Alycia (Alycia Quilts)?!  She's also recently posted about an ADORABLE modern quilt top finish using up some bonus pink triangles.  I'd love to get some more quilts done to send her way for the QOV drives and presentations she offers in CO.  

Are you getting inspired by anyone?  Are you inspiring others?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Let's talk... Labels

[10:10 PM update]
I've been catching up on my blog reading tonight, and I simply smirked and was pretty amazed that Bonnie also chose today to talk about labels in her Labels, labels, labels post.  I would love to say 'great minds think alike,' but I don't think I can put myself in a category anywhere NEAR our beloved Bonnie.  I just thought it was ironic that we both posted on labels on the same day...
Read on, as you wish...
Hm.  Labels.  
Most of us know the theory and importance behind putting that final touch on our amazing quilts. (YES! It's completely okay for you to admit that you create AMAZING quilts!!!)

Are you like me?
Many of my quilts get labels on....eventually.  However, there are also many that are floating around my house (and van) that are unlabeled.  Have I considered placing labels on them?  Of course!  There are times when my mind wanders to the unknown future... what if something (heaven forbid) happens to Paul and/or myself and/or my entire family.  The quilts will either be kept in the family, or sold at a garage sale .... who knows, right?!  

And then, there they are.  
...fast forward 50 years.  A lover of quilts picks up one of our amazing quilts, and with determination searches all over for SOME sign of who or when the quilt was made... only to come up EMPTY!


Those scenarios definitely get my motivational juice flowing that "eventually" really should happen "SOONER THAN LATER."

My method of creating labels has changed over the 14 years of my quilting endeavors.
My early "techie" years included trying to make labels with the printable photo paper.  Sadly, the ink never seemed to set.  After the first wash, the labels were blank :\  Therefore, that method was quickly scratched off my list.

For many years following, I would hand create most of my labels by tracing a printed label onto fabric through a light-box (aka: a piece of glass with a flashlight underneath.  HA!  DIY at its finest!).  Every now and then, I still revert back to this method of label creation.  There IS something about having that personal hand-written touch on a quilt.  I use acid-free pigma pens, and I do worry that eventually, there may come a day when the ink fades away.

For the past couple of years, I have created quite a few labels using my embroidery machine.  Each label varies in size, color and format -- the label truly is made to fit the style and purpose of the quilt.

I know there isn't a way to post pictures in the comments, but I'd love to hear (or see) about labeling methods you use.  Drop me an email with a picture if you would (askattebo@centurytel.net) -- I'd be glad to post it on a future post.  OR, consider writing a blog post of your labeling method, and .... share the post with me ??

Happy Labeling
and Happy Thursday!