My First Finish of the Year

I've been sewing like a crazy person.  Not really.  Just sewing a lot more than I normally do.  I'm not one who can sit and sew for hours and hours.  I'm more likely to sew for a few hours and then go do something else for a while.  Or for the rest of the day.

Anyway, as a result of all this sewing, I have all 20 Meadowland blocks constructed.  We have an arrangement that seems fairly balanced when photographed in black and white.  Now I need to assemble them into a top. I think this week for the quilt along you are supposed to construct five blocks, so I'm in really good shape on this one.
I also need to make more Sunshowers blocks.  I think we're on week four on this one.  I am making a total of eight blocks, so my sewing schedule is a bit different and I've lost track.  Sewing curves is not my favorite thing, so I've been dragging my feet.  I timed myself yesterday and it took me around an hour and 20 minutes to finish one block. For comparison, the Meadowland blocks took me 20-25 minutes each. I can say that Megan's blog posts to accompany the pattern have been really outstanding.  You can check out her website to see for yourself.  I do now have four of my blocks complete--hey, I'm halfway!
As a result of me dragging my feet, while shopping for a ton of yardage for a backing on a charity quilt I received, I bought a whole bunch of fun yardage at JoAnn to make more Quilts for Kids quilts.  And I cut, sewed, quilted, and bound an entire quilt in under a day and a half.  So now I have my first finish of the year.  Took me long enough to actually finish something.  At least it's cute and for a good cause.  I'm getting quite a stack of these accumulated.  I need to actually ship them off at some point.
I took the finished pictures last night, so they're a bit dreary.  
Are you familiar with the children's book Go Dog, Go?  This fabric reminded me of the book.  My son loved that book when he was little.  My aunt gave us a version that had parts that moved.  That was fun.  We also had the regular book and the matching stuffed animal from my mom. Anyway, I hope some kid finds this fabric as fun as I did.

In other news, our weather has been really crazy lately.  We've had our first significant snow.  We've had loads of rain.  The temperatures have been all over the place.  It feels like we have sun one day and then six or seven days of gloom.  I'm seeing encouraging signs that spring is on its way.  

I first noticed that my tulips outside my sewing room window were emerging.  I thought that was strange because I hadn't seen any daffodils yet.  The next day I noticed loads of emerging daffodils.  Daffodils are my marker of spring.  Once they are up and flowering spring is truly here in my book.  No flowers yet, but at least they're growing.  The irises and some of the other perennials are starting to green up too.

We also saw that our decorative crab apple and weeping cherry trees are starting to get buds.  Our pear trees have a few buds starting and you can see that the bark looks ready for active growth.  Maybe we'll actually get fruit this year?

Speaking of fruit, here's my little pineapple this week.  :)  You can see it's starting to get a stalk.
I hope you have a happy, fruitful week.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Knee Deep in Fabric

After a week where I accomplished basically nothing, I really made up for it this week.  I started working on the Sunshowers QAL and have several blocks done.  They take quite a bit of time to do because of the level of pinning that I am doing.  Somehow my first block came out a little better than my second block.  I'm thinking that maybe print fabrics would have been a better choice because they would camouflage the little puckers you can get when piecing curves.

At this point my plan is to make one baby quilt (three blocks), one throw (four blocks), and one mini. I do have the arcs cut out for all eight blocks, but still need to cut four more background fabrics.
The Meadowland QAL started Monday.  Here are my fabric selections.
I spent a few days cutting and pairing the fabrics and I think I am ready to sew.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this will look.  Also, it's really hard to make all the pairs.  My One Monthly Goal is to have a finished Meadowland top.   Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal February Link-up.

I haven't made any further progress on the Frolic quilt, and I haven't started quilting my friend's quilt yet.  I did finish quilting and binding the denim quilt and have returned it to its owner.  In case you missed it last week, I'm offering 20% off edge-to-edge quilting on any Frolic top received for the rest of 2020.
I did add another quilt to my queue.  I was at the larger guild I belong to last night and I brought home a 90 x 90 top to quilt and bind.  The larger guild has a very extensive charity quilt program with lots of different recipients; the one I brought home is for Habitat.  I volunteered to help assemble one and received the top and fabric for the binding.  I can have this one quilting while I am piecing the other things, but really, please stop me before I add any more projects.  I need to get more completed before I take on more.  I am not great at saying no.
In other news, my friend brought my daughter some interfacing printed with directions to make a phone stand.  My daughter worked on it in her sewing class at school and here is her finished project.  I love that she added all the appliqué things to it.  Remember when those were so ubiquitous?  I think the blue fabric she used for her tabs is satin.  
K's phone stand
I tried a new recipe for a small batch of 45-minute rolls.  The hardest part was finding and buying a 6" cake pan.  The rolls really did take 45 minutes.  I'm not sure they tasted all that great.  They were sort of like a Pillsbury biscuit and sort of like a cheap freezer roll and had a very strong olive oil taste.  Last time I bought olive oil I accidentally bought the stronger flavor, so I might try these one more time with the olive oil that I usually use and see if that makes a difference.  We did not make the maple butter to go with them since they were pretty calorie-dense already. Perhaps that would have improved things?  Oh well.
Finally, my most exciting news:  my husband got to go to Pearl Harbor for work in 2015 and I requested that he bring me home a really fresh pineapple as a souvenir.  After we ate it, I rooted the top and we've had it as a houseplant ever since.  For whatever reason I  happened to go look at it the other night and I was so excited because I am growing a fruit!  A little more research told me that I am growing a flower that will make a fruit and it could be up to a year before I have a ripe pineapple.  But still, how exciting!  So after five to six years, my Hawaiian pineapple will have born me one single pineapple.  :)  I'm still really excited!

What are you excited about this week?


Operation Kid Comfort Quilts

I haven't gotten much personal sewing done in the past week, but my quilt guild did make six quilts over the weekend for military kids at Fort Bragg whose parents are deploying.  The program is called Operation Kid Comfort.  One of our guild members has a contact who periodically asks if we can help.  Each quilt kit we receive is highly personalized with photos provided by the family.  My contribution was to help piece the upper left one and bind it and the lower right one. And I ran my mouth a lot since I had a lot of down time while one of the girls used my machine to quilt the same two quilts.  😄

I'm the one in the center in the blue shirt.
I also worked on the denim quilt I mentioned last week.  I have discovered that my long arm DOES NOT LIKE working on such a thick quilt, so this will be a one-off for me.  No more accepting denim quilts.

I plan to spend the next week binding the denim quilt, working on my Sunshowers quilt, possibly quilting my friend's Sew Sampler Apple Crisp quilt, and, if by some miracle I get all that done, then working on the partial setting blocks for the Bonnie Hunter Frolic quilt.  

If any of you readers out there are working on a Frolic quilt, I'd be happy to offer you 20% off any edge-to-edge quilting on it. That quilt is a lot of hard work, and you deserve a reward for finishing it! Stop by my long arm website, Quilting by Anne-Marie, to book services.

Progress!

I've been super-productive since last week.  I went to a LQS (local quilt shop) and chose most of my fabrics for the Meadowland quilt along that starts in February.  I added in a few from my stash to round things off (not pictured).  I'm loving this fabric combination and am excited to get started.  
I also messed around a bit with my Sunshowers QAL fabrics.  I just wasn't feeling the love.  I looked through some solid pieces I had that were left over from the Postcard from Sweden quilt a few years ago and decided that peach would look better than having the two pinks.  I changed the order of the fabrics a bit and won't be making quite as large of a quilt as I'd originally planned, but now I like how it looks better and am more excited about working on it. Can you tell I've been in a blue and green mood lately? 😁
I trimmed and sewed all the half square triangles from the Stacy Iest Hsu fabric as well.  I am currently debating adding a border since it's around 10" right now.  The plan is to quilt the top and then make it into a pillow cover with binding.  I haven't done a pillow with binding before.  I looked up a video on how to do it and it seems pretty straightforward.  Just need to decide what my target size is.
The Frolic mystery quilt reveal came last Friday.  This is technically step nine, though I am referring to it as steps 9-15.  It is a lot.  I've been busting my butt to get the blocks done. 

It took me three days to get this far.  Once I got into a groove, it took about 15-20 minutes per block to assemble. Here is a stack of my finished whole blocks.
Then I moved to the next block of instructions and I am like, "What???".  I feel like I missed a direction somewhere.  When I looked back through all the other steps, I didn't see any I missed, but I don't have the pieces sewn that the step requires.  I DO know what I need to do in order to make it happen, but still. What? This is really not a beginner-friendly project.  Good thing I'm definitely not a beginner.  And as I always say, if you're getting something for free, you are getting what you paid for.
Just a random shot of part of my sewing room.  :)
I also have spent quite a bit of time doing some fabric shopping online.  Mostly because I needed two solid color fabrics, one for each quilt along, that I could not find locally.  And if I am ordering something, I need to make sure that I can pay the least amount of shipping for it.  It seems that Kona Blue Grass and Kona Peach aren't all that common.  I finally ordered from Fat Quarter Shop since they had both in stock.  Then I had to add more to the order because it wasn't worth it to pay shipping on that little amount.  Since I had already been perusing Etsy, I made a few orders from there too.  I'm not doing so great at using what I have, huh? LOL.

I also had to order a spool of thread. I received a quilt made of denim squares from a new client over the weekend and I didn't have the right color thread. I normally order enough to hit the free shipping threshold, but Superior was offering free shipping over the weekend, so one it was. Once the thread arrives, I'll get started on this one.  It's huge!  I'm a little afraid, but I like to try new things and I am so very grateful to have work.
I made this vegetable soup last week.  I cut and measured everything precisely as the recipe directed.  It took way longer than the recipe indicated--isn't that often the case?  Also, I ended up with more like 12 servings rather than the eight it said.  I wonder if my bowls are smaller than average or if recipe creators have giant bowls or something.  We almost always find that soup recipes yield way more than what is stated. Anyway, I froze six servings and have been eating a lot of vegetable soup.  It doesn't have any real flavor other than vegetable, but that is okay.   
I made Banana Blueberry muffins for dinner last night.  I make this recipe fairly often; we tend to get a lot of overripe bananas around here. The only changes I make are to use two full bananas instead of the 1.5 it calls for and to use muffin cup liners rather than greasing a pan.  Oh, and my blueberries are always frozen.  Make sure you use the light yogurt it calls for.  I made it with Greek yogurt once since that's what my husband was eating that week.  BIG mistake.  They came out really rubbery and chewy.  Yuck!  We usually have Dannon Light and Fit vanilla yogurt and that makes a really nice muffin.  Also, my son doesn't like blueberries, so I make up the batter minus the blueberries, fill his three muffin cups, then add the blueberries to the mix to fill the remaining nine muffin cups.

Finally, in the weird column...a while back my husband was laughing over a meme.  If you have kids who are school-aged, you know that for whatever reason they are really, really into memes.  I just don't get it, but anyway, I digress.  It was a bit odd for my husband to be laughing over one, and he told me to look it up.  If you Google Unmanly Fireworks Guy, you get several images, including these:
The original image, borrowed from the Internet.
Also borrowed from the Internet.
Screen shot from Internet.
I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but the twerking one really made me giggle.  The reason my husband was laughing is that the unmanly guy is someone he went to high school with.  And I went to high school with unmanly guy's wife.  They are very nice people.  How did this image capture the imagination of the Internet to become viral? What a strange world we live in!

Linking with For the love of geese, My Quilt Infatuation, and mmm! quilts.

New Starts

This past week I've been trying to figure out what I want to work on this quarter.  My ultimate goal would be to use up and finish up things I've purchased and that are in progress already.  That being said, I am starting two new projects this month that are quilt alongs on Instagram.  Ha.

So, here's what I'm intending to work on this quarter.

1.  Square up all these half square triangles and make them into either a mini quilt or a pillow.  I'm leaning toward a pillow, provided I can find the right size form.  This is a bonus project where all the half square triangles are trimmings from a quilt I made.  Fabrics are by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda.
2.  Make a backing and quilt the polar bear quilt.  I'm hung up on the backing because I thought I could just use a width of fabric, but the top is wider than the matching backing yardage I bought.  So I need to either trim down the top or make a super-creatively pieced backing.

3.  Custom quilt this top from a class I took with Kimberly Einmo several years ago. I can't decide what I want to do in the white parts.  Also, keeping it folded in a bin for several years wasn't the best idea!  Need to press.
4.  Custom quilt this top from a class I took with Coleen Merte in November.  No idea how to quilt it.
5.  Make this quilt--Range by Modern Handcraft.  Everything is washed.  I just need to actually work on it.  I don't think it will take super long.
6.  Finish and quilt the Bonnie Hunter Frolic mystery quilt.  So far I'm right on track and I think I have backing fabric already.  It's not very exciting backing fabric, just being a white on white wide back, but it's one I purchased for something else and it didn't work out, so I think I can repurpose it for this one.
7.  Piece and quilt this hippo quilt.  This is one that I've had in my stash as most of a kit for way longer than I want to admit to.  I pulled a few more fabrics from my stash and got it cut this week and have started sewing it.  The piecing instructions are pretty old school, so there is a lot of triangle sewing and a lot of dog ear trimming to be done.  I sewed a bunch of triangles together yesterday and they seem okay so far. Probably a good thing I've been practicing a bunch with all the Frolic sewing!

8.  The Sunshowers quilt along by Megan A. Collins.  My kids helped me pick out the fabrics for this one.  I need a few more greens still.  I'm not a super fan of sewing curves, so this will be a good learning experience for me.  In the past, I've sewn curves and just used eight million pins along the way to hold everything nicely. This quilt along starts on Monday.  You can read about it and join in here.  I am a member of the Longarm League, and select members are offering 20% off on edge-to-edge quilting of any Sunshowers quilts received by June 30.
9.  Meadowland.  This is also a quilt along by Then Came June and it runs February 3 through March 16.  You can read the details and join in here. If you have some piecing experience, you should find this one to be a nice, easy piecing job.  I think confident beginners would have no issue with it either. Scroll through the #meadowlandqal or #meadowlandquilt hashtags on Instagram for loads and loads of quilt inspiration. This is another Longarm League collaboration, again with 20% off edge-to-edge quilting on tops received by July 31. I haven't purchased my fabrics yet.  This photo belongs to Then Came June.
These nine things will be my quarter 1 2020 Finish A Long projects.  It looks a bit agressive to me!  I'm not great at staying on-task with sewing, so we'll see how I do.

You may be wondering what happened to the antique star blocks.  I have given up on them.  Even after all the soaking for weeks, they still smell bad when the iron hits them.  Not nearly as bad as before, but enough that I don't want to be working with them for any length of time.  I think I will put them on eBay.  Perhaps someone who's not as sensitive as I am to smells will be able to give them new life.

In other news, I have gained back a bit of the weight I lost a few years ago and have been pretty disgusted with myself.  I got pretty lax in November and December about my exercise routine, so I have started back up on that and added in a few things.  Last week I did some lunges and then could barely walk for a few days.  LOL.  I did them yesterday and I am fine today, so that is good.  Sadly the scale has not moved in a good direction yet, so I decided that I'm going to need to go back to counting calories again to retrain myself on portion size.  I tend to eat when I am bored or stressed, even when I am not hungry, and I totally need to break that habit.

I thought I'd share a soup recipe that we had last night.  It is called Tuscan Sausage and White Bean Soup. We used 2% evaporated milk in it. I used 2 cups of Better than Bouillon chicken broth mix instead of canned. I made turkey sausage by using the recipe here--we just used half and saved half to make the soup again.  I calculated the calories for the ingredients I used and came up with five servings at 347 calories or four servings at 433 calories.  The soup was tasty and really creamy and even with cooking the sausage first, was completely done in under 30 minutes.  I think you could very easily double the recipe. Our only complaint was that we were hungry again two hours later. Have a salad or something with it.  :)

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Piles of Stuff

I can't say I've accomplished a whole lot in the last week.  I kind of just took it easy.  Sometimes you just need to do that, right?  I feel like I washed a lot of fabric though.  Ha.

I am currently completely up to date on the Frolic mystery.  It was nice to take my time and spread the work over several days on this clue.
I'm hoping that we are near the end of the cutting because most of my piles are really diminished and this last clue wiped out the entirety of many of my fabrics.
Here's a fun thing--Bonnie Hunter herself commented on one of my posts!

Last week my friend and I went to a sale at one of the local shops.  I didn't really need much, so I got a backing for one of my UFOs.  

Here's a view of my long arm frame with a few quilts laid out that I need to make backings for.  The pile of fabric on the floor is what I bought for the UFO backing.
On my ironing table is another pile of fabric.  This is the base fabric for the string stars from last week's post. The stars themselves are under that.  I have a lot of ironing to do!  I could say pressing, but let's be honest, I always call it ironing.
Near my sewing machine is another pile.  This is one of my Cupcake Mix sets.  I really dislike removing all the papers.  I finally decided to bring them upstairs and tear out the papers while watching TV in the evening. After I trim the dog ears they will be ready to sew into blocks.

The new fabric bins are still in a pile and I have not even begun to tackle that project yet.  

One more fun tidbit:  Corey Yoder liked my quilt on Instagram!  Well, not my quilt, but my friend Denise's quilt that I quilted!  It's always fun when someone "famous" likes something you post.


Until next week, happy quilting!

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.