More Charity Quilts

I've been on a roll with the charity quilts this year.  It's a great way to practice quilting or try out new things. Here are the two I finished this week.  The first one is a more girly quilt.  I quilted one of my favorite patterns ever, Ginger Blossoms, on it.
The second is the second I Spy quilt I made with some bug fabrics I'd had forever.  I tried a new quilting pattern, Cobblestones, on it to complement the black fabric.  It's very hard to see, but the black fabric has small circles on it.  This quilting pattern requires a lot of precision that this quilt did not quite have.  Also, I used a gray thread that is virtually invisible in the backing fabric but it shows up like white on this quilt top. It's not quite the look I was going for, but I feel like using a black thread would not have looked very good through the colorful fabrics.  What color would you have used?
 I just love the cute zebra print on the back. 

Do you remember back in April when I shared pictures of a guild quilt that I quilted and bound?  It won first place at the fair!  This one is a fundraiser for the local branch of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.  The pattern and fabrics are by Heather Givans of Crimson Tate.
And next up for me is, you guessed it, another charity quilt!  I am quilting another guild quilt.  This one raises money for kids in foster care.  What charities do you quilt for?

In other news, my husband's single jalapeño plant has continued to produce loads of peppers.  I made him some pickled jalapeños the other day.  This is a refrigerator pickle recipe, so no processing.  He says they are good.  I always have to wonder if canning/pickling recipes I find online are actually safe.  Sometimes the Ball Canning book just doesn't have a recipe that suits my needs though.
Jalapeño refrigerator pickles.  They look cloudy because they have condensation
on the jars from taking them from the fridge to the counter for a photo.
We got/renewed our passports last week and I just couldn't pass up buying some new stamps.  I absolutely love fun stamps.  No boring flags for me.  I added frogs, Sesame Street, and the moon landing to my current inventory, which includes dragons, birds, and John Lennon.  Good thing these are forever stamps, because I probably will have them for just about forever!  I hope the person processing our Menards rebates enjoys them!  😜
I am still working away at getting my quilting website going.  I'm just waiting on the logos and business card design to be finished by a person I found on Etsy.

Linking with Sew Fresh Quilts, For the love of geese, and My Quilt Infatuation. 

Baby Steps This Week

Well, it's been another week.  I've done a few things, though certainly not anywhere near the amount of things I should have been doing.  It seems like every year I'm like, "Wow, I've reached a new low," in terms of letting things slide.  My gardens are disastrous.  My house needs to be cleaned.  I haven't exercised enough. I'm letting my kids sit around on technology way too much.  I'm not sewing enough.  I'm not dedicating enough time to working on business.  I have these slumps a few times every year.  It just seems like everything piles on at once so that small things become outsized. Eventually I just decide, enough self pity. Let's do at least something.

I'd been pretty bad about exercising the over the last week or so.  So I walked on the treadmill and made the kids go on a short walk last night.  Exercising, no matter how much I may dread it, always makes me feel better.  The house I'll probably let ride for another two weeks until school starts.  It's much easier to clean when no one is home.  The gardens can wait until it's a little cooler out I guess. If anyone local wants any, I have loads of Lamb's Ear and Iris to share.  Both of these are really easy to grow and care for.

As far as sewing, I'm working on a few more Quilts for Kids tops.  Those don't take a lot of mental energy and I feel that I am sewing for a good cause.  
I Spy, in progress
I have the guild quilt to work on as well.  It will be finished within the next three weeks, right after I quilt the donation quilts.  They get first crack at the frame simply because it's already set up for them and I will need to adjust some things before I do the guild one.

I am slowly working at the business end.  I'm having someone design logos for me since I lack any Photoshop/Illustrator skills and software.  In fact, I've wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how I'm going to set up the new website for the quilting and agonizing over the logo proofs. It's amazing how many hours can slip by while you are looking at stuff online.  So although it doesn't seem like progress, some is actually being made, although not at the rate of progress that I would have preferred.

We're in the midst of a lot of changes around here.  We're getting new neighbors across the street today.  I realized last night that of the fourteen nearest houses to us, only three families have been there since we moved in a little more than six years ago.  I hope the new people are quiet.

We had the Andersen window rep out Monday afternoon and we are going to repair/replace all the remaining windows on the house--minus the three in the basement that were already replaced.  This is going to be a huge amount of work since siding has to be removed on the outside and the trim will need to be removed on the inside.  We will be (okay, my husband will be) doing the replacement work ourselves, so it will be slow going. 

I'm about to have a small milestone birthday where I jump an age bracket.  For my gift, I chose and purchased a handheld vacuum for my sewing room.  I find it's a lot easier to sweep up a mess and then vacuum the crumbs instead of trying to get them into a dustpan.  I have a similar vacuum in the laundry room upstairs and it works great.  No affiliation, I just went with one that was available locally right away and at a somewhat reasonable price.
I tried making a different type of sweet pickle with some of my overripe cucumbers.  The recipe I used was dead on on the amount of yield, which was nice.  I made a half batch since this is a new recipe and we don't eat a ton of pickles anyway.  They are supposed to sit for three weeks before opening, so it will be a while before we can try them.  I probably overcooked them a tad, but since they are supposed to be "soft" hopefully this will be okay.
While most of my gardens look overgrown, in need of weeding, chewed, etc., these Phlox are looking quite nice.  If you look closely, you may see a giant bumble bee in here.

Well, that's about all I care to share this week.  I hope you are doing well and not in a summer slump like me.  :)

Linking with Sew Fresh Quilts, For the love of geese, and My Quilt Infatuation.

Plot Twist #2

Things have been busy.  I haven't been in my sewing room since Friday.  Speaking of Friday, I did finish another Quilts for Kids quilt.  I quilted it with Modern Drift.

I have enough set aside to make two more.  Probably if I go through my stash I could make tons more.  I just may as soon as I get more hours in my day.

I also acquired another guild project to quilt.  Hopefully that will happen this week or next. Here's a little sneak peek.

I have made no more blocks for the Summer Book Club QAL.  I have fabric pulled to make a ton more, but just haven't gotten to it.

I made a very small batch of sweet pickle relish.  The recipe said it would make four half pints, but I was really stretching to make it to three.  They are probably a bit under-filled.  Also, you may notice in my picture that it looks like there is something all over the lids.  There is not; it seems as if the lids etched during processing.  Strange.
I forgot to share this picture last week.  It is a series of muslin gowns through history.  I found it really interesting and inspiring and I wish I would have taken pictures of each individual plaque, but I didn't. It makes me want to go sew doll clothes.
Finally, you may be wondering where is the plot twist in this post?  I mentioned last week that I am officially in the long arm quilting business now, licensed by the state and county.  I was frustrated that I couldn't come up with a business name that wasn't already taken, so I finally went with Quilting by Anne-Marie and I was going to just incorporate it into this blog.  However, I found out that the domain was actually available, so soon my little business will have its own website dedicated solely to machine quilting.  I'll be adding a new brand of batting as well, which I'm pretty excited about.

These next few weeks are looking to be pretty busy what with finishing up the final week of camp, lots of appointments, and getting the kids ready for back to school, not to mention finalizing all the little details to launch the business web presence.  Hopefully I can squeeze in some sewing time here and there too.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese.

Plot Twist

I purchased a NASA quilt kit from Riley Blake via Jo-Ann for my space-loving son.  It arrived Friday and I planned to sew and quilt it this week.  We are changing the layout slightly and adding some additional yardage that I already had.  Since the previous fabric was already washed, I washed all the new yardage as well.  As soon as it was out of the dryer, I took it to the sewing room to start ironing.  Then I noticed that the central panel had a sizable flaw that runs in two directions right through the center of the panel.  I was so disappointed!  And a little at loose ends since I'd already planned on working on it during my sewing time this week.

So I sulked for a while and then decided to make another Quilts for Kids project.  It's loaded on the frame and I think I have the quilting plan programmed and ready to go.  I have exactly two free hours today, so not sure when I'll get to this, but hopefully tomorrow I'll have a bit more time.  I don't anticipate this one taking very long.
As a side note, I generally do not float my quilt tops.  However, I used the very end of a bolt of batting for this and it is super wrinkly, so I felt that I needed to be able to access it and make sure everything goes well.

We also finally hung these pictures that my sister gave me several years ago.
The only other thing I have to mention is that I am officially in business.  I filed all the paperwork and got approved from the county last week.  I'm working on designing some business cards and then I'll be super-official!  I'm waiting to hear from the state on a sales tax permit.  Assuming they approve (paperwork is showing up today), then I'm planning to add some nice batting choices to my repertoire.  Send some quilting my way!  :)

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation and For the Love of Geese.


This past week has been a bit off.  We had unexpected schedule changes and sometimes the kids just need you more than usual.  

I did manage to finish quilting the quilt that's been on the frame for several weeks.  I was trying out a new pattern on it and the computer program just didn't like it.  Not only was it super slow, it crashed continually and I had to keep reprogramming the pattern.  Thankfully I had thought to write down the settings so that it wasn't too bad to reprogram.  Each row took 30-40 minutes to stitch out and had over 12,000 stitches.  I lost track at the end of just how many rows I did, but I am confident in saying that it has over 180,000 stitches. Next up will be making and attaching the binding.
I have since learned that I could have tried a different file format to import the design and it would have then perhaps had a smaller file and wouldn't have been so prone to crashing the program.  While I generally prefer a tighter, smaller pattern, I think I should have gone much larger with this one.  I'll try again another day.

I sewed four more book blocks while the long arm was stitching.
I finished painting the room we are working on.  Next up is to replace the windows.  The originals leaked at the corner seams and we got new ones under warranty.
I've mentioned before that we've had a very wet summer and how it seems to have affected things.  We've had very few butterflies--still no monarch sightings.  We have had a lot of birds stay longer than usual, especially the orioles.  The orioles do stay all summer, but don't usually come in to the feeders after a few weeks. We also have at least one pair of rose breasted grosbeak that have stayed--those generally come through in May and stay only a week or two.  We have very few goldfinches this year.  Those we generally have in abundance all year.  We have a much smaller amount of hummingbirds as well.  Anyway, the point of all this is that we are also seeing juveniles of many of the birds.  Some are easy to identify and some are a bit more challenging.

I saw this group of orioles last week.  One of them was feeding jelly to the lighter one.
I also have been seeing this bird at the feeders often.  I'm fairly certain it is a juvenile red headed woodpecker.

I'm really hoping to get in more sewing time this week.  If not, school starts in five more weeks... I'm planning to do the binding for the quilt shown above, piece two more charity quilts, make more book blocks, and just try to be more productive than I've been lately.  I'm drowning in fabrics that I really would like to use up.

Also, I'm really not a fan of people shooting off fireworks at home, especially over a long period of time, like a week or more.  Some people, pets, and children do not handle the sounds well.  You think you're safe in your own home, asleep, and suddenly it sounds like you're under attack.  I'll be glad when this week is over.