Saturday, August 30, 2014

School spirit! [embroidery]

I dusted off the embroidery machine today and made up a sampler of our school's mascot and logo.  We are the Lakers.   A few years back now, there were a few groups attempting to replace the logo with a different serpent that was more readily handy for companies to use (fundraisers, etc); I guess some people who support our Blue-n-Gold school colors don't actually like the school logo :(
And actually---there are many school groups who order shirts in black...or pink... :(

Call me old fashion, but....ever since I was adopted by this school 16 years ago, I have been truly proud to be a Laker!  I am proud of our 'serpent.'  And I love our Blue-n-Gold! {{even though I didn't include any gold in the lettering}}.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Today is my opportunity to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop after receiving an invite/nomination from Andee (aka: Angela.  aka: Modern diary.  aka: Bonnie K. Hunter's biggest fan).  The goal of this hop is to share a bit about the creative process and invite others to join in the fun!  One aspect of this hop is each post invites three new hoppers so the fun can continue :)  OR, travel backwards in the hop to see where this strand has emerged :)

Who am I?
I'm Amy.
I'm a 7-12 Math teacher by day;
a mom, wife, quilter, runner (sadly, not much lately), crocheter and gardener by all-the-other-times.
The very first quilt I made was in the summer of 2000 when I pregnant with my first child.  My MIL gifted me with my OWN sewing machine that Christmas;  she still has no idea to this DAY how much that gift meant to me!
My quilting obsession took off in 2007 after I helped clean out my grandmother's apartment and I inherited all of her fabric and notions.  Fall of 2007 is also when I found Bonnie K. Hunter, which took my obsession to a whole. new. level.

What am I working on? 
Truth be known -- for those who have been following my blog this summer (the FEW posts I've had), my crafty projects have been percolating patiently as the AMAZING temperatures have kept me away in my garden, mostly.
Berquist Beauty will finish at about 105"x105" -- this has been my most recent top finished and is loaded on my GMQPro frame, awaiting quilting using my Juki98.  The fabrics were purchased by my sister in January, with hopes I would made a king size quilt for her and her husband.  "No rush, but by next Christmas would be great."   I think I can manage that :)

Another recent top that has been added to my never-depleting stack:  Hawaii Sunset (95"x95").  There are no plans for this once completed.  The quick history:  I was coerced into joining a block/fabric swap for this quilt in 2012 by Andee and Andra.  {{That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.}}  ;)   We tried to stay true to the colors represented in the pattern (Hawaii Sunset (c. 1845).  Quilter's Newsletter, Feb/March 2010).  Without having done all of the Bonnie K. Hunter quilts, I don't think I would have taken on this project, but next to Bonnie's...... psht!  Alright, alright.... this was right up there with a Bonnie-design, and THAT'S sayin' something!  She's truly amazing, isn't she???  If you are not a follower of Bonnie.... you really should check her out!  [Quiltville]

Celtic Solstice (~110" x 110") (Bonnie K. Hunter design) is the other most recent top added to the pile.  As soon as Berquist Beauty is completed, this will be the next top loaded onto the frame.  Destination - OUR BED!  I was surprised to sift through my pictures and not find ONE that shows the completed top in its entirety.  Why was this picture snapped???  Because of the incubator on the table -- our other newest endeavor this summer.  We currently have 40 chickens on our property, ranging from full-grown egg layers, 'teenage' pullets, month old chicks, and week old chicks.  I've officially adopted the Crazy Chicken Lady title this summer.

I digress....

After Andee nominated me last week, I was truly inspired to hit the sewing room again!  Since the recently completed tops are all waiting their turn on the frame, I was truly OKAY starting up a new project --- A Green Bay Packer jewel quilt.  The units were prepped and sit next to my machine as my current Leader-Ender project, yet another Bonnie idea.

Just last week, one of my older UFOs found new life and has been given full access to my design wall space.

I also participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, lead up by Angela (soscrappy) in FL.  I've joined in the annual scrap busting three of the four years she's been providing inspirational monochromatic wonderfulness.  

On the crochet side of life... I've only been crocheting since last July (2013).  I wanted to learn a new craft to utilize my down-time while upstairs with the family {{rather than feeling like I was ALWAYS in hiding downstairs in my sewing room}}.  The Crochet Crowd (aka: The Amazing Mikey) taught me the basics via YouTube, and I've been spending more time recently with crocheting than quilting.  It's such an easy craft to transport!

My newest project is Red Heart's Prairie Star.  Doesn't it remind you of a Lonestar quilt???  That's what drew it to me!  Each diamond motif takes about 9 minutes to complete, including attaching and tieing in the yarn ends.  The center star took me about 8 hours to complete, and there's a LOT more diamonds to be made before reaching its roughly finished size of 54"x77".  

There many many more projects percolating, but that's enough to give you a flare of me and what I like.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hm...after thinking about this question for a few days, I guess I WOULDN'T say my work differs -- I would consider myself a traditional gal; I'm not alone in that category.  I love patterns (quilting or crochet) that involve traditional geometric designs.  I'm not hung up on any one color or any one fabric line, although I hope to someday create a reproduction quilt using Civil war fabrics.  However, right now....I'm mostly scrappy.  I'm a sucker for kitchen-sink mish-mosh that Bonnie has brainwashed into me.... with a stark white background!  Oh yeah, that's the ticket! :)  

How does my writing/creating process work?
HA!  How does my process work?
Usually, I spend (way too much) time on the Internet, get roped into projects, get inspired by what others are doing, find pictures of finished quilts wanting to make one myself.  I'm fairly certain some of you can relate!!! ? ;)
Many times, I don't follow a pattern;  I just look at a picture and recreate the block/design in a size I want.  I've done a share of drafting on graph paper; no designer's software here (quilting or crochet).  
Unfortunately, all that time on the Internet also leads to many many many new starts, but not always finishes ;)  Huh, huh, huh....who can relate??  I KNOW I'm not alone!  Years ago, I was self-driven to finish, finish, finish, finish!  Now, I'm okay setting things aside, knowing I'll eventually come back to them.
Case and point... here is my latest find during a 3-hour drive/ride home Saturday night.  It was too dark to crochet, so, I did the next best thing....peruse Pinterest:
Seriously, though..... can't you hear it?  "Make me...set aside your other WIPs and UFOs, and start me...I'm really easy... just 2"strips and HST's.... and that lovely Tri-Rec ruler you enjoy so much...."

So far, I've resisted :D

Why do I write/create what I do? 
I'm sure my mom will be on her seat's edge, waiting to hear this answer.  She's often commented..."I'm surprised that you quilt.  I never would have guessed you would have become such a quilter.  And don't get me started with the crochet thing.  I'm so jealous you could just pick it up like you did."
Back in 2000, I truly can't remember what drove me to make my first quilt, which I still have, BTW.  Oh gosh!  I've learned SO MUCH since then.  I was pregnant, so maybe the horomones could be blamed???  ;)
I dunno.  I just love quilting, and now crocheting, too.  Maybe it's my love of geometry coming out in fabric and yarn ?!?!   (actually, I'm not a huge fan of Geometry;  Algebra all the way, baby!)  Maybe it's the satisfaction of the final project that gets oooh and aaaahs and love and hugs from others.  Oh yes, I'll admit it.  Recognition is nice to receive.  Plus, it keeps me inspired and motivated for the next project.  My house is now filled with quilts and afghans;  you'd have to look pretty hard to find a store-bought-blanket anywhere.  I've given quilts away, I've gifted a fair share, and I've donated to Quilts of Valor and Quilts for Kids.  Mostly, the whole process is enjoyed.  Those pesky B's certainly hang me up far too often lately, though.  Borders, Backing, and Binding, oh my!

So that's me, in....1500 words or less (actually, 1383 words.  But who's counting???) ;)

To keep this love and passion for creation going in this Around the World Blog Hop, I am passing my invites/nominations on to...

Alycia (Alycia Quilts)
Miss Alycia and I have one big group in common: Quilts of Valor.  I don't even come CLOSE to Ms. Alycia's amazing involvement, though.  I'm certain she'll fill you in more, but she's the GOTO QOV guru for Colorado.  I love reading about her life on the Ranch with her Wrangler Man ((she's still swooning over him after all their years together));  her photography skills are remarkable, so we readers of her blog truly get a feel of the beautiful part of this world she lives in.

Kathy (Kathy's Quilts)
Do you piece by hand?  Embroider?  Hand applique?   Hand quilt?
No?  ....  Would you like to find some inspiration?
Dear Kathy is a northern neighbor from Oh Canada, and one of her blog features is a weekly Slow Stitch Sunday linky.  She's also a UFO tackling tornado this year, and her posts are filled with so much amazing color!  Pure happiness.

Watch for their Around the World Blog Hop posts next Monday, 9/1/14 :)

I don't have a third "active" participant in the hop;  it wasn't without trying though (sniffle).  With summer winding down and the craziness of Fall schedules staring to take hold, my other nominated individuals kindly and respectfully declined.  We can all certainly understand, right? :)  Next Tuesday seems to be the final First Day of School for anyone who hasn't started yet (that'd be most schools in Wisconsin).

I truly am happy you stuck it out through this post and took time to learn a lil' bit about Amy's Passions.
Happy Monday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cabin time, quilting style

I haven't done much (any?) blogging on the harvesting/preserving of the goodies from our garden this year.  Since we've been home from vacation, beans, peas, peppers and cucumbers have been most of our harvests.  This morning was the last of our bean harvesting;  we have reached our lot :)
The corn JUST became ripe, and we enjoyed our first meal of 'corn only' for lunch today.

Then, I started losing steam.  1:00 hit, and I was glad the beans and cucumbers were done;  picked and preserved.  I mentioned tackling the carrots to Cassie and Paul this AM, but.......... nope.  Not today.  They can wait a few more days.

Instead, I hopped on FB to see what everyone was up to.
Have you seen those "Which ________ are you?" quizzes?  Be it, superhero, color, Sci-Fi, ......

Today, it was Which quilt block are you?
Log cabin!  That was truly the little bit of kick I needed to get motivated to head downstairs for a few hours of some simple, relaxing piecing.

I've had this tote of fabrics cut since.... 2008 (?) for log cabin blocks.  

I had about 9 blocks of each style pieced that are shown in this picture.  Observe... do you see the slight difference between the block piles?

These (with a 1" finished center) were actually the second version of my quilt block that I pieced way back in 2010.

I think THESE 2" centers go back to..... 2008?  Goodness, I really don't know.
BUT, notice what had me hung up?  Due to the 2" (finished) square in the center, I wasn't able to leave this as a 9" (finished) block, {the size I wanted} because the darks weren't balanced with the neutrals.  I mean, I COULD have left them like this;  they did look okay on the design wall with the slight off--center-balanceness.  But I didn't.

I made up 10 new blocks, burning through some of the scraps from those that had already been cut in the tote, and then started to cut some new scrap fabrics in order to increase the blocks by 2 more edges, having them finish at 10".  

5:00 rolled around, and I was feeling the afternoon "I need to eat" slowsies.  Therefore, the remaining partially completed stack will wait for my next sewing & cutting-scraps session.

My GBP (Green Bay Packer) leader-ender piles are growing...

Upstairs, the girls were have a moment of "getting along," playing a game of checkers.

It's crazy that I spent so much time away from the blog this summer, but.... I think that time away really was just needed.   Denise and Pamela wrote me such simple, but MUCH NEEDED, 'missed you' comments on my post yesterday.  I wanted to reply, ladies, but both of you have your settings set to "no-reply."  I am super super appreciative of your kind words.   Lori, I've wanted to respond to your comments lately, too...but you also have a "no-reply" setting.  THANKS for the cheers and the scrubbie tutorial :)

And to all my readers...

There are those of you who have become true friends, even those we've never met face-to-face.  I truly am thankful for many advances in technology in order for this amazingness to occur. :)

Happy Friday

If you'd like to be FB friends---leave me a comment; don't be afraid to ask.  I promise I won't think you're stalker material! :)  I post to FB far more than here (especially lately!) 

40% off -- can't say no to that

The trip with Linda to the quilt shop closing its doors was definitely a big success.  I really can't remember the last time I've purchased fabric, so..... the way I see it, I can justify this loot! ;)  
Eight yards of orange that'll be destined for backing on my Celtic Solstice
9 3/4 yards reserved for the backing of Hawaii Sunset
and all the rest.... stash.

Once home, I was feeling a bit drained, but I turned on Break Dawn, Part 2 as background noise and got busy piecing backing and batting for Berquist Beauty.  By the time the credits were rolling, the backing was pieced, batting pieced, backing/batting/top loaded on the frame, and the first path of quilting completed.  A bit over 2 hours just to prep the final stages for quilting.  Such a process.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Berquist Beauty - top done; crocheted dishcloths

Berquist Beauty - 105" x 105"
My sister and BIL's quilt had been resting on the sidelines downstairs, awaiting the final four seam lines to put the top center together.  Between Bonnie's QuiltCam Monday night, and another half hour tonight, the final 3.5" brown borders were attached.   It has joined the pile of LARGE quilts resting on the carpeted basement area, awaiting fabric selections for backings.  I truly feel I'm going to search out some wide backing (108" and/or 116/120") for the two king-sized quilt tops that have been finished recently.  {{Celtic Soltice, in addition to Berquist Beauty}}

Tomorrow, Linda and I are road tripping to a town 30-or-so miles to the west.  Sadly, a quilt shop is closing its doors, and we're going to head there to check out what's included in the 40-75% sales.   We're going to enjoy the day regardless if we come away with any great deals or not.  School is right around the corner (she teaches in the 3-6 wing of our district's school building), and we've never road tripped together before.  I'm sure the day away will be enjoyed by both of us, and we'll do our best to leave the school-related chatter to a minimum ;)

Last Friday, my parents made a detour for a short visit with us before traveling on to their weekend getaway at a neighbor's cabin 'up north.'  As grandparents often do, they had purchased some school supplies/shoes/clothes for the girls that needed to be delivered.  (And yes!  My sister was involved with that shopping spree as well.  The family truly helps out with our girls so much!!!)
I'm not exactly sure how one of my crocheted dishcloths ended up as the topic of conversation, but Mom hinted about wanting some for Christmas.  I sent her on her way with a couple that I had in my linen drawer;  I'm not a bit fan of the cotton yarn dishcloths; at least the YARNS that I've tried so far -- maybe she'll end up liking them more than me.  There really IS a difference in yarns, and I haven't found a yarn I like yet for dishcloths.  

With another ball of Sugar 'n Cream left in my stash, I made up another cloth with a new pattern (Granny Dishcloth).  I LIKE this pattern!!!  Now to just find the right yarn.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hawaii Sunset top done; new project (really?!?!!?)

Hawaii Sunset (c. 1845).  90" x 90"
Almost 2 years from the day I began the Hawaii Sunset (1845) adventure, the top is finished.
This started as a twisting of the arm idea between a couple of online quilting friends:  Andee and Andra.  I budged my big ol' butt into inviting myself to join them, and we worked out the math with all the units needed and turned it into a small block-unit swap between the three of us.
Andra has long finished her version;  Andee is still plugging along with hers.  In fact, part of Andee's Around the World blog hop post today talks about her progress in Hawaii Sunset.  She's nominated me to participate in next Monday's postings, so watch for that.  

In fact, it's Andee's nomination that kick-started my quilting progress again.  THANKS ANDEE!

Another neat fact...
The Sundae Quilter (Nancy) and I quilt-skyped for the very first time back on the day I began working on Hawaii Sunset.  In a crazy twist of fate, she and I skyped yet again yesterday as I was working on the final seams.  Kinda cool.
Nancy and I have both shared conversations about aspects of blogging.  I truly can't believe I only posted THREE TIMES in July this year!  Wha???  But, I just didn't feel like it.  Taking pictures, editing pictures, writing posts.... it all takes time.  I had/have been posting loads to my FaceBook account.  Finding time to duplicate it all to the blog just didn't interest me.  But... I think I'll be back.  

One PRO about keeping the blog:  It's an EXCELLENT journal!  Truly!  I love being able to trek back into years past just to see the timeline of my quilting projects, the progress of the garden, the changes in the family, etc...

Let's go back to Andee for a moment, shall we?!?!?........

A-hem.... yes.  Our dear Andee simply MUST accept at LEAST 90% of the blame for this.  
A NEW PROJECT?!?!?!  REALLY!?!?!?!?   AS IF I don't have a bazillion-n-a-half other projects/UFOs/WIPs!
However, my plan is to treat this as a Leader-Ender.
The colors definitely have meaning:  being a Wisconsinite, I simply have to make at least ONE Green Bay Packer quilt in my lifetime :)
After a quick google search, I was lead rather quickly to the following blogpost: Shirley Anne's Heart.  The jewel pattern shown on her post is my inspirational picture for this project.  I LOVE jewel patterns!  

Let's wrap up this post with a lovely comment towards two amazing online friends!
Recall one of the few July posts I wrote, where Caitlyn was determined to knit by using sharpened pencils!  The picture was posted to my Facebook page, and two wonderful ladies jumped into action!  I've often read stories about people doing kind acts, but I've never been on the recipient end of such acts.

Judy and Nancy both sent packages of hooks and yarn for Caitlyn to enjoy and start her down a REAL path of knitting...

THANKS ladies!  You are simply amazing!

It TRULY is wonderful what our technological world has allowed to happen!  There are many of you I've come to know over the past 7 years of my online experience, and I enjoy our online friendship just as much (if not more) as some of my face-to-face friendships.

Happy Monday.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Red Heart Prairie Star progress [Crochet]

I've been continuing to put more time into crocheting lately than quilting.  After spending some time perusing Ravelry Tuesday AM, I was compelled to jump into a new project despite having a few WIPs going.  I swear, my crochet world is slowly starting to look like my quilting world!   But when a project screams and pleads to you to be made, what'cha gonna do?!??!?  
Red Heart's Prairie Star [Red Heart link | Ravelry link | YouTube series] caught my eye.  It reminds me so much of a Lonestar quilt.  One feature I love about Ravelry is the ability to look through projects others had made.  Color combination after color combination, but the original color grouping still pleased me most.  I love greens.
So, I dug through the small stash that I've accumulated so far since my crocheting addiction began last summer...

And I jumped in, full steam ahead.
This is a join-as-you-go project; definitely have grown to like this method if it involved motifs/units that need to be attached.  The joining method took me a bit of stitching and frogging (crocheters slang for removing stitches);  the directions were a bit wordy.  Eventually, the lightbulb went on--duh!  Easy peasy.  I had found the YouTube video series and tuned into the clip that explained the joining method. The footage is a bit dark, but it did verify I had figured out the join correctly.

The motifs have become second nature now, 54 diamonds into the project.  Each diamond takes about 9 minutes to stitch, join, and sew in the ends.  So....54 motifs x 9 minutes = ~8-9 hours of time already invested.

I know there are ladies who set timers for 10 minutes in order to get some quilting/sewing time in.  I figure if I can get at least a couple motifs in everyday, this'll eventually see a finish. :)