Best of 2022

First off, I failed my OMG once again. I know there are still a few days left of the month, but I don't see any possible way to get all those Grassy Creek string borders pieced in the few days remaining. I'll be working on the shirt my daughter needs for her trip next week and I will be back to quilting for others as well.

If you stopped by last week, you might remember the car drama. We were able to rent a car, albeit a much smaller one than we reserved, and made the trip to Michigan prior to the storm moving in. Here is the view on the way to my parents' house just as the storm started. 

And here is how it looked as we left. It doesn't look much different. I think they got about six inches of additional snow and it was significantly colder. 

Meanwhile, the car dealer was busy doing tons of diagnostic testing and replacing the spark plugs (which only had about 30,000 miles on them--we suspect we unwittingly bought fakes last time) on my vehicle for a total of $756. They didn't find anything else, so I guess it will be good for another 161k miles? Beats buying a new vehicle. We returned the rental and picked up my car yesterday. I'm very happy to have my own car back.

Our chickens survived the frigid, sub-zero temperatures while we were gone. Our young neighbor did a great job of caring for them. Here's a few pictures of them from a week ago, prior to the snow and cold. 

Smoky's head feathers are getting pretty funny looking. Henry, the white chicken, is still recuperating in the coop.
Okay, on to my best of 2022. Every year Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs hosts a link up for your best five posts. Here are the five I've selected.

1. The post with the most views. This post had around 14 times more views than the second most viewed post of the year. My Tall Tales quilt top and trip to Iowa and APQS were featured.

2. The first post that included the chickens. I also finished my SCQG BOM top.

3. The one where we got to see migrating birds. Endangered whooping cranes, pelicans, Ukraine, Macaron Mystery, and great client quilts.

5. The "censored" one. This makes me smile and think about my sweet friend Elle every time. This post also shows my art quilt (which I have yet to finish!).

Choosing my top five was a fun trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it too. 

Linking with Meadow Mist Designs.

A Few More Finishes

Or close, anyway.

It has been a week. Things are so-so. My free time for me time is just about over and I wish I could have done more. I did enjoy doing not a whole lot for a couple of weeks.

My son had his wisdom teeth removed Friday and that went well (the surgeon is great, but the co-pay...💸). The swelling is starting to recede. Due to poor scheduling on my part, he wasn't able to attend the first official robotics competition of the season. The team placed 5th, in the middle of the pack. We compete again the first week of January.

I did get my house mostly cleaned over the weekend because I just couldn't mentally take it any more. I still need to do a deep clean in the sewing room. Everything else is good enough.

My husband was replacing the struts on my vehicle, which is the one we take on long-distance trips since it is the newest at 11 years old. He got that done, went to take the car in for an alignment, and said that the coolant level is dropping too fast, though there is no sign of a leak. He rented a diagnostic tool and the results were inconclusive. No one can look at the car before we need to leave, let alone fix it. And the likely culprit is super expensive, but way less than a new vehicle, of course. We have who knows what winter weather coming, so now we have to rent a vehicle and leave earlier than planned and hope for the best.  We aren't really ready to leave, which means it's gonna be a mad scramble to get as much done in preparation as possible. Ugh. I'm feeling a bit defeated and tense. Every time I think we're getting ahead, nope. Deep breaths. It will be okay.

My sewing recap for the month (if there's a green check but no explanation, please see last week's post):

1. Quilt the #Trending quilt ✅ 

2.  Custom quilt and bind the apple quilt (circa 1999!!) ✅ 

    Okay, so I'm still binding this one and am gifting it in a few days. But I won't have reliable internet access for a while, so you can see it mostly done. I really wanted to use the IQ to do the cross hatch border, but I couldn't get it to work, so I had to do it by hand and there are plenty of mistakes where my spacing wasn't right. I also did the continuous curve by hand instead of with a ruler because I didn't have a ruler that fit, so that is a bit wobbly. Additionally, my piecing was less than ideal since it was one of my earliest projects. Sorry for the lousy pictures, but I took them all last night. 

3.  Quilt Chalk ✅ 

4.  Quilt SCQG BOM 
        I quilted this one with Interlocked Orange Peel and used Glide Peppermint thread. I accidentally sized the design bigger than I had intended, but I liked how it looked and went with it, 'cause who wants to seam rip? Plus I learned that it's way easier to align patterns at a larger scale. Much less tweaking required.

5.  Make some lumbar support pillows for our chairs

6.  Make my daughter a shirt
        This still needs to be done before the first of the year. 

7.  Piece and completely finish test quilt
        I got this one done last night. The pattern has two borders. I opted to leave them off because I didn't have a suitable outer border fabric. The downside to this is that I cut off all my star points on the edges when I did the binding. I could have avoided this if I had chosen to bind by hand, but I didn't, so oh well. I quilted this with Curly.

8.  Fix drawstring in son's pj pants ✅ 
9.  Make this month's units for the Melodic Mystery ✅ 

10.  Try again at piecing the Grassy Creek borders
        This is my OMG and it looks like I'm going to fail for the second month in a row. Maybe next year. 

We had to buy a coop heater thing for the chickens since it's supposed to be frigid for part of the week. Henry seems to be improving very slightly. He can wiggle around now to get to the food as long as it's in the coop. My daughter has been hand-feeding him quite a bit since the other chickens kick over his food bowl in the coop. She texted me this somewhat terrifying picture of him. She had discovered that her phone can remove the background somehow.
I didn't have time to get any other pictures, but I'll try to get one soon of Smoky. His wattles and "walnut" are huge now and the blue patches on the ears really show.

If you're celebrating a holiday this month, I hope it is nice and relaxing. Take care, and I'll try to come up with a post for next week though I likely won't be sewing anything new between now and then.

My Own Stuff, Mostly

I've been sort of busy, yet taking plenty of time to relax. It's quite nice. 

This is my to-do list from last week, along with some status updates.

1. Quilt the #Trending quilt ✅ 

    I quilted this with the Arches design. I'm pleased with the overall effect. I will probably bind this using the backing fabric (eventually).

2.  Custom quilt and bind the apple quilt (circa 1999!!)❌

3.  Quilt Chalk ✅ 
        I quilted this with the Propel design. I used 60 wt thread on the top and bottom because I wanted the quilting to be very faint on the blue. I really like how it came out. The texture is really good without the thread being overwhelming. I'll probably bind this with the blue fabric.

4.  Quilt SCQG BOM 
5.  Make some lumbar support pillows for our chairs
6.  Make my daughter a shirt

7.  Piece and completely finish test quilt
        I am pained to admit this, but I got the target completion date wrong on this one. 😳 The pattern released last Friday and while I did turn in my edits on time, I am still working on piecing it. It is called Christmas Morning and you can see it here. I'm still hoping to get it finished in the next week or so to avoid adding yet another UFO to my list. While the patten calls for a layer cake, I would suggest you use regular yardage instead so that you can get a better color effect. I am not really a fan of layer cakes or jelly rolls. Do you like precuts?

8.  Fix drawstring in son's pj pants ✅ 
        No picture on this one. The repair is not attractive, but the pants are wearable. I was just going to buy him a new pair, but they don't appear to be available anymore. There was a similar pair I found for $33. Nope. Ugly repair will do. In case you're wondering, they are NASA pants.

9.  Make this month's units for the Melodic Mystery ✅ 
        This one didn't quite go as planned. LOL. I went to post an Instagram story where I pointed out that I pieced two of the units incorrectly. Then I looked back at the pattern and realized that those two were the closest to correct. I had just about everything upside down. 

I forced my daughter to rip apart all my pieces and I started over. Here are the corrected blocks along with all the units we've made so far.

10.  Try again at piecing the Grassy Creek borders

I did a few things that weren't on my list this week too. I have this little guy ready to quilt and bind. It's made from the trimmings from the table runner I donated to the guild sale. Measurements are 14.5" wide and around 5" tall. It's so cute in person!

And I had a quilt come in from Sara that needed a quick turnaround. Quilted with Donut Connection.

Now I'm going back on my vacation for the rest of the year.

I'm pleased with my progress over the last week. I'm planning to quilt a few more things over the next week. The apple quilt has to be done soon--like I have a week to get it fully done and I am custom quilting it. On the plus side, I already know exactly what I'm quilting where and what colors I'm using. I'll probably try to get a pieced top on the Christmas quilt today and then move over to the apple quilt. The only other thing I truly need to get done in this calendar year is the shirt for my daughter. And the house cleaning. If I get to the rest, great, if not, oh well. Though I'd really love to be done with Grassy Creek!

Our rooster Henry still isn't walking. He has a really good appetite as long as the food and water are near him. He stays in the coop all the time now and still isn't crowing. Smoky, the other rooster, is crowing a lot now, but his crow is very weak and raspy, so it's not as obnoxious as Henry's. Anyway, we can't find any sores or anything on Henry's leg and foot, but we gave him an Epsom salt soak over the weekend. This chicken soaking device is ridiculous looking. 

He settled in there pretty nicely and made a mess with his food, as he always does. We're pretty sure he pooped at least once in the tub. After his soak was done, the kids used the blow dryer on him to get him as dry as possible. He pooped all over the towel he was sitting on for drying too. He didn't look too much cleaner after his bath than he did before, but he did bear weight on his leg briefly. 

I'll be back next week with some more progress, hopefully. Send healing thoughts to Henry.

December OMG

I've wrapped up all the pre-holiday quilts for others, so now it's my turn! 

I have so many goals for the month. It's probably unrealistic to expect to get them all done, but here's what I'm hoping to do.

    1. Quilt the #Trending quilt--I'm planning to do this today, but binding will have to wait.

    2. Custom quilt and bind the apple quilt (circa 1999!!).

    3. Quilt Chalk.

    4. Quilt SCQG BOM.

    5. Make some lumbar support pillows for our chairs.

    6. Make my daughter a shirt.

    7. Piece and completely finish test quilt. I have a week to do this! 😱 I thought I had longer. Time flies. 

    8. Fix drawstring in son's pj pants. This involves dismantling the entire waistband. 😒 I'm thinking I need to make sure they still fit him before diving in to this one.

    9. Make this month's units for the Melodic Mystery.

    10. Try again at piecing the Grassy Creek borders.

                               Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal December Link-up

My official goal is to get the Grassy Creek borders pieced. Hopefully I'll be more successful this month than I was last month.

Besides catching up on my personal sewing projects this month, I plan to deep-clean my house. Not so fun, but it really needs to be done. I haven't seen any spiders lately, but there are cobwebs everywhere. And dust. 

Meanwhile, we are in competition season for robotics. The team had their first scrimmage Friday night and took first place! It will be a practice frenzy between now and the first official competition next week to try to get the robot in full competition form. Plus we have driver's training going on and an upcoming wisdom tooth extraction. Busy, busy. I never run out of things to do. Is that a blessing or a curse?

Looking forward to 2023 (!), I have a general plan for which projects from my UFO list I plan to work on. I will be participating in the Board and Batten QAL hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs next year too. It runs January 5 - March 2 if you'd like to join in. Here's my fabric selection to make a throw size quilt (pulled from my stash, bonus!).

I'll be quilting for others again after this month's hiatus. I'm blessed to already have a queue for January, though I am doing my best to ignore it while I take some time for me. 

Here are the last few quilts I did. If you are ever interested in seeing the whole quilt, please follow me on Instagram @just_anne_marie to see full photos, though with some delay so that the owners can see and/or gift them first.

Margaret's, which I custom quilted.

And Jan's, quilted with Exes.

If you're wondering about the chickens, Henry is still limping and mostly huddles under the heated water thing or in the corner of the coop. Still no obvious signs of injury or disease and he eats and drinks as normally as he can. Smoky, the other rooster, has been caught trying to mount Henry, but not the hens. A positive to this is that they are not loudly crowing in the mornings. Smoky crows in the coop, but his crow is really pathetic and faint. It's kinda funny because he will stand at the window and crow. And by window I mean a dome window we salvaged from a cardboard cat tower.

One last thing, it's been about six weeks since I injured my knee and I have been back on the treadmill at a good pace and was finally able to get in a resistance band workout last week, though I did have to ease up slightly. I've been under the weather this week, but it's good to know that once I'm feeling better I can resume my regular exercise.