Sewcial Bee Sampler Weeks 1 - 4

First off, here is what I found on my sewing work table this morning:
Here are the Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks I've made so far.  These are way out of my normal color scheme.  I'm not really an orange person, but it goes well with aqua.  And, if you recall, I'm using only fabrics I had on hand.  If I could have bought new, I'd probably go with my favorite hot pink and navy.

Week 1--this is my favorite so far.
Week 2 
Week 3--this one is a bit intense.
Week 4
I decided it was time to make the backing for my pumpkin quilt and get it onto the frame for quilting.  Then I realized I'd never bought the correct size batting.  No!  I made a baby quilt top this week.  I bought a batting for that without looking at what I had on hand.  Not only did I already have the proper size batting on hand, I could have actually fit it onto one of my batting scraps.  Double NOOOOOO!  Where is my brain?
Simple baby quilt top
I finally got R2-D2 off the design wall after a year and a half.  However, my son has grown quite a bit since I originally cut out the top, so I needed to add borders.  (As a side note, the squares were cut at 2".) After going to two different JoAnn's, I got the small amount of black fabric I needed to make the inner border and the proper size batting for this one.  And we bought a backing of his choice since I no longer had enough of what I'd originally planned--that will be BB-8.
Top minus outer borders
The outer border will be this R2-D2 print.
Once the backing for the baby quilt and the batting for the pumpkin quilt arrive, and once I finish adding the borders and make the backing for R2-D2, I will be spending some (hopefully) quality time with the long arm.

In other news, my mother in law sent me a pressure cooker.  I am kind of scared of it.  If you have any tips or great recipes for me to try, let me know.
Random tidbits of the week:

  • My son informed us that he likes babies because they have huge heads.
  • I have a B.S. in Mathematics, but I think I've forgotten most of what I learned--if you don't use it, you lose it!
  • The lot behind my house sold.  I have to get some type of window coverings now.  Sigh.
  • Still looking at making a compost pile; husband is on board too.  Just need to get it set up.

Guild Mini Swap

My guild swapped minis last week.  Here's what I made for my friend Sarah:
14 x 18"  Pattern by Stars & Sunshine. Background fabric, horn fabric, hair fabric are all Cotton + Steel.
Unicorn body is by Moda.  Hooves are Tula Pink.  Binding is Elizabeth Hartman.
Backing fabric is Sarah Jane.
I tried to quilt words into the unicorn's body.  They are hard to see.
It's hard to see, but I layered sparkle tulle over the
horn fabric so that it had a bit of shimmer.
My friend Annie made me this beauty:

My picture really doesn't do it justice.  And the background is white.  Be sure to notice the outstanding quilting on it!  I'm so pleased I got this because it is just, wow!

Things I'm working on:
  • Sewcial Bee Sampler
  • R2-D2 pixel quilt--soooooo tedious

Things I like this week:  
  • Melissa McCarthy as Spicey.  Seriously hilarious.
  • Daylight lasting a bit longer.
  • My daffodils are starting to come up and some of the trees are budding.
  • My foot is a lot better, but unfortunately I caught a cold.
Things I'm thinking about:
  • I think I need to start composting.  I am lazy and I need to find the easiest possible way to do so.
  • What to plant in the garden this year.  I think I'm going to plant only one cucumber plant so that I don't have so many this summer.  Last year's crop was out of control!
  • Why don't people believe scientific facts?  Vaccines are important.  Running oil through water supplies is always a bad idea.  Etc.  Our actions have consequences.
  • Why don't people recycle?
  • I think I need to redo part of my front landscaping.  Not sure what to do with it though.  Part has died off and part has gotten way larger than the mature size on the plant tags.  It's pretty wild-looking.

My New Quilting Project

I really wanted to finish half done projects this year and use my stash.  I've been in a sewing slump after finishing my 365 Challenge quilt top. I guess I just got used to knowing what I needed to sew each day and then when I finished I just couldn't decide what to work on.  First world problems.

Anyway, in an attempt to get my sew-jo back and reduce my stash, I decided to go ahead and participate in the QAL I mentioned last week.  It is called the Sewcial Bee Sampler.  Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell are the hosts/designers for this one.  You make one quilt block a week for 25 weeks and end up with a 72" square quilt when you're finished.  The blocks are published each Wednesday.  And it's free!  You can even grab this button if you click on the blog button at the top of Sharon's page and go to "older posts".

I pulled the majority of the fabrics I'll be using from my stash.  I was lacking really light and dark tones, so I spent $20 at JoAnn to get a few filler pieces.  I will also need to buy more of the solid on the lower left since I'm using that for sashing and don't have enough.

I injured my foot last week, so walking, driving, and sewing have been a challenge.  I did go in to urgent care Saturday and they couldn't determine the issue.  They referred me to a podiatrist, who conveniently can't see me for more than a month!!  I did feel well enough yesterday to get last week's block sewn.  I changed the color placement a tad and am pleased with how it came out.
I just printed off this week's block and am hoping to get it done today.  I'm planning to share here and on Instagram (feed to the right--->)

In other news, I finished the cross stitch I shared last week.  Obviously I broke the cardinal rule of not leaving it hooped, but since its frame will be a hoop of the same size, I'm not too concerned.

I haven't shared any bird photos lately.  I was attempting to get a photo of a flicker in flight so that I could show my son the yellow feathers.  I didn't manage to get one, but here are a few shots I did take.
One of our many Pileated Woodpeckers.
Can you find the Northern Flicker?
I'll be sharing my first finish of the year (a mini for my guild swap) next week after the mini has been received.

Things I've been thinking about:  Why does it seem like rich people have to have their names on everything that they donate to?  If I had enough money to give a really good donation to something, I'd do it anonymously.  I just don't understand the need for recognition.  It also seems like political favors are implicit in the donations.  

Also, why can't educators be the ones responsible for making school decisions?  Why do politicians have to be involved in something the vast majority of them do not understand?  Testing and overtesting is not the way.  One single test does not give an accurate representation of a student's understanding, nor does it reflect a single teacher.  Also, comparing testing by grade from one year to the next doesn't make sense because you are not comparing the same group of kids.  Way too many factors influence this.  We are losing creativity in teaching and we are losing good teachers.  The current climate has led to teaching only to the test since funding and pay are now tied to these flawed testing models.  It is not fun for a teacher or a kid to spend the year learning only what will be on the test and spending hours on review.  Things need to change for the better.

We watched the entirety of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s August 28, 1963 speech--the one with  I Have a Dream in it--the other night.  I was struck by how issues back then are issues now, 53.5 years later.  One of my friends shared an article comparing current rulers to rulers of the Roman Empire, same theme.  The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Both my kids will be getting braces over spring break.  I never dreamed they'd be at the same time given their 5.5 year age difference.  Fun times.  If you made it all the way to the end of this, thanks for reading.

Weekly Recap

I'm still kind of in a sewing slump.  I just can't seem to work up enthusiasm to sew anything, even with a lengthy list of to-dos and wish-to-completes.  Part of the issue, I think, is the lack of sunshine we've had this last month.  Part is that I'm worrying too much about things.  I encourage you to get to know someone who is different than you--background, religion, race, orientation, opinion, whatever.  Despite all these seeming differences we are one.  Stepping off my soapbox and moving right along...  My house is staying pretty clean.  I tend to clean when I'm stressed and can't concentrate.  There's always something positive.

I received a nice message from a customer about my Baby Pants pattern.  I created the pattern to be used with knit fabrics (I find knit to be so forgiving), but the customer tried using a woven cotton and it turned out great!  She kindly sent a picture along too.  I do love seeing what people create with my patterns!  

Here's what I've been working on this week:
A reminder to myself that it's all right.  Pattern by Sewing Seed on Etsy.
I finished stitching this, but still need to wash and press it.
I'm planning to frame it and hang it in our future reading nook.
Pattern by Pop Goes the Stitch on Etsy.
I finished three more blocks of R2-D2.  Two more are close,
then three more rows to go.  My son has been waiting over a
year for me to finish this one.
Super-secret sewing project!  Two weeks til reveal.
I bought some thread for my secret sewing project yesterday at JoAnn.  The cashier told me she was putting a coupon in the bag for me.  When I got home and looked in the bag, I saw that she had given me a coupon for those 55 and up.  I'm far from that!  My husband thought this was the funniest thing ever.  Oh well.

And, because I don't already have enough undone stuff, I'm actually considering doing a 25-week block of the week QAL program that I saw on Instagram.  It starts today, so I'll have to see if I have enough fabric here to make it work since I really want to reduce my stash this year.  I'll let you know what I decide.