Thursday, June 22, 2017

Quilt Retreat Series: Part 2.2 Food

This particular list is going to be a bit personal.  I have been making my way towards a healthier lifestyle and am focusing on maintaining a balance in my life.  I am aware that there are lots of people that LOVE the junk food.  I do too on occasion, but I try to make sure that is not all I eat. So, this post is going to reflect that.

 Packing for a long quilt retreat can be quite intimidating.  You are breaking out of your comfortable routine.  Possibly feeding only one when you are used to feeding a family.  There are plenty of retreats out there that supply all meals in one form or another, but other than goodies for the community snack table, we aren't going to focus on that today.  We are going to talk about the situation when you need to handle all of your own food and possibly those of the entire group.

So, in my case, I will be packing for two people for seven days with a plan of eating out only one day.  We have access to a full kitchen with supplies, but no food.  I think that meal prepping will be the key here because who wants to go to a quilt retreat and spend any time in the kitchen?
I have tons of online recipes I have tried and love, but I am not going to link to everyone because I prefer to get permission for that and it could get out of control.  I will give you a link to my Recipes of the Healthier Kind Pinterest page which you are more than welcome to follow or ask what I think about any of the recipes there.

I am a new Beachbody Coach *shameless plug here* and I tend to have my Shakeology for breakfast just about every day.  I will just decide what I want to blend and bring those things.

  • Unsweetened Almond/Coconut Milk
  • Frozen banana slices
  • Vanilla (don't forget these kinds of things for your meals -- salt/pepper/sugar -- you may be used to having them in your kitchen and your venue might not.
  • Other fruits
I am going to prepare a few things ahead of time that will be great for breakfast or snacking on.
  • Oatmeal cups
  • Cut fruit
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Yogurt
It is also a good idea to check with your venue to see if they have a coffee pot or tea kettle if you like those beverages in the morning.

I have found that I don't often want a traditional lunch.  Breakfast is eaten late and you certainly don't want to interrupt your sewing time, but make sure you have something that you can eat at anytime of day.  You will need to keep your energy up for all that quilting and visiting.  

  • Sandwiches - Easy and simple.  Keep it basic.  Small ones on rolls are an option too.
  • Salads 
  • Chips or Pretzels
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Vegetables sliced and ready to munch on.  Hummus or dip would be a nice addition.
  • Sweet treat - Brownies, M&Ms, licorice, cookies
  • Popcorn
For me, this is the time to take a good relaxing break from my machine.  I need to have something substantial for my evening meal.  Most traditional dinners take time and "cooking" to make.  My recommendation is do everything that you can ahead of time.  Chopping veggies, cooking meat, measuring spices, etc.  You would also need to verify what appliances and other cooking implements your venue has.
  • Tacos - make the meat ahead of time and reheat.  Chop tomatoes & lettuce.  Shred cheese.
  • Salad - always a good option
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup -- nice for a winter retreat
  • Any kind of crockpot complete dish - stew, chili, chicken fajitas.  Just prepare it all ahead and dump in the crockpot in the morning.  
  • Any kind of casserole that you can refrigerate and then just toss in the oven.
Don't forget your drinks!  Not all venues will have a great tap water system.  At the very least, bring a good, lidded water bottle.  Stay Hydrated!!
  • Coffee or tea - don't forget your creamer
  • Bottled water or even better your own filter pitcher
  • Adult beverages - make sure your venue allows this, because not all of them do.  And remember the rule "No red wine at the sewing table!"  :)

Another thing you want to be aware of is the other quilters at the retreat.  Are there any severe allergies?  Make sure you don't cook anything too pungent that will make its way into all of the rooms - think fish or buffalo wings (who would eat wings with all that fabric around I don't know).

Don't show up to your retreat thinking you will just eat whatever.  Especially if your venue is out in the country somewhere.  You may not even have access to a regular grocery store or restaurant.  If your retreat is supplying meals, you will still need to bring anything that may not be supplied.  "What do you mean you don't have that Butter Pecan coffee creamer I need to use?"  Also, I cannot think of a retreat that lasts more than 2 hours that doesn't have a community snack table.  It doesn't need to be anything fancy (unless of course you make amazing lemon bars), but you should contribute something.  

I hope this helps you plan a little better for your next quilt retreat.  And like I said, feel free to visit my Pinterest page or email me with any questions or if you need more suggestions.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Winner! Star Blossom

Just a super quick post to congratulate Rose from Something Rose Made for winning the giveaway for the amazing new quilt pattern Star Blossom by Dave The Quilt Engineer and Tish's Adventures in Wonderland .

You can find the post about my version of this beautiful pattern here:  Star Blossom

If you want to try out this pattern yourself, you can find it in Tish's Craftsy shop.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where does the time go?

Seriously, this blog break has gone on for far too long.
Time has completely gotten away from me.  I think 4 out of 5 of my last posts have been apologizing for my absence.  Between my job, working out more, learning Irish (Gaelic), and getting my quilt ready for my VERY FIRST pattern being published in International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene magazine this October I have been swamped.  Oh, and I ran in the Starlight Run 5k with my son and friends AND I had 2 sets of company come visit me in the last couple of weeks.  All good things!  :)

Here is a little bit of what I have been up to quilting-wise:

I have been trying very hard to keep up with my Bee Inspired bee blocks.  Not quite on time, but not too late either.  I am hoping the rest of the year I will be more punctual.  These little grey pieces were so tiny!  I completely forgot to take a photo of the finished block.

I finally purchased my first spool of Aurifil thread!  That is pretty exciting.  I haven't used it yet, but soon...soon.  I also have a couple of quick flannel baby quilts I need to have done before next week.  I am doing simple strips and they are going to be so cozy!

Gotta love the chain piecing!

Oh yuck, I need to add a new ironing board cover to my to-do list.  
I made my first hanging sleeve last week.  If I am doing a wall hanging I usually just do the corners. I don't know why I was so intimidated by this.  It turned out nice I think.  I sure hope it is up to the standards of the magazine. This whole being published thing is very nerve racking. What if my work isn't good enough?  Oh, I would be so devastated.  It is exhilarating though.  I don't know how I will wait until it is on the shelves in October.

The binding all ready to go for my quilt.  I think Kona Oasis is my new favorite color.  It is gorgeous, don't you think?

I have a couple of other things coming up this summer.  Some new patterns, tutorials, etc.  I will do my very best to stay on top of the blog and not disappear again.
I'll be linking up with my usual blogs on the sidebar.

Happy Quilting!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Star Blossom by Dave & Tish + A Giveaway!

Awhile back I was given the opportunity to test a new pattern for some quilty friends.  Dave @ Dave the Quilt Engineer and Tish @ Tish's Adventures in Wonderland have released their first quilt pattern today and I have to say I was honored to be asked to test it.  Both of them have such great taste and amazing talent.

As soon as I started pulling fabrics for the quilt, I knew my version was going to give an entirely different perspective on the same pattern.  Star Blossom is a great design that suits all fabric choices.  I can personally envision it in at least 10 different color schemes.  Black and White, Fun Florals, Loud Color Explosions, I could go on and on.  You can make the design read calm and delicate or sharp and vibrant just by choosing a different fabric. I decided to make mine into a candy shop.
Yup, candy shop.  Think cotton candy and taffy and lollipops.  So, without further ado, here is my quilt top (I have yet to decide how to quilt this one, sorry).

Quilts with feet!  :)

Isn't it just a fabulous design?  Tish and Dave are even giving a special deal to those who want to purchase the pattern before Sunday, June 11th.  You can get all the details and see other versions of the quilt at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland.

But wait...there's more!  They are giving away a few digital copies of their pattern.  One of them right from this site.  All you have to do is comment on this post.  Let me know what color scheme you would use for Star Blossom.

Happy Quilting Everyone! 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Quilt Retreat Series Part 2.1: What to pack for a retreat - Sewing Gear

Packing for a quilt retreat is serious business, folks.  So many things to consider.  How much room in my car/luggage?  Will I be sharing a room/bathroom?  Will there be food?  How long will I stay? Can we drink wine? And perhaps the most important question of all:  Are there fabric stores nearby?

You can find my thoughts on different kinds of retreats in Part 1 of the Quilt Retreat Series.

I would not call myself a seasoned retreater, but I have been to a couple and as I prepare to head off to a new venue in July I find myself revisiting all the packing questions.

This overview, by all means, does not cover everything.  And each person will have different priorities.  These views are my own, and are the thoughts that go through my head as I prepare.

First off, it is the end of May and I have known about my mid-July retreat for a couple of weeks now and have already started a list so I don't forget anything.  I am a planner, what can I say.

I separate my list into a few categories:

  • Sewing gear
  • Personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc)
  • Food/Snacks/Drinks
  • Other
Before we start adding things to the list though, we have a couple of questions to answer.
  • What is my method of transportation?  Flying, driving?  Sharing a vehicle?
  • What is available at the retreat?  Linens? Meals? 
Once you have your answers and your retreat is booked, you can start packing. Because I have always had to drive to retreats, I have never been TOO restricted on what I can bring.  As long as it fits in the back of the car, I am good to go.  

Sewing Gear
(no affiliation or compensation for products mentioned and linked)
Packing your gear and projects can be a bit difficult, especially when you are used to having everything in its own place in your sewing room.  Start with the essentials and cut things where you can.  If you are going with friends, maybe you can split the load.  One can bring rulers and another can bring cutting supplies or however you want to divvy it up.  No need to bring multiples of things you will only use once or twice.  

I like to pack my gear & projects in a large plastic tote.  Something similar to this one I found at Walmart:

It can get very heavy, so I suggest getting one with wheels if that is possible.
Another option is the always useful IKEA bags:
Start by keeping a tally in your head of your Need, Might Need, and Optional items.  This list doesn't include the basics of travel like having decent pajamas, a supply of your medications, etc.

Need (most likely):
  • Sewing Machine - some places have rentals, but this varies.
  • Thread - might vary depending on your projects, but always bring an extra full spool of neutral. 
  • Extra - Bobbins, machine needles, rotary blades
  • Seam ripper, clippers, and scissors - I promise, if you don't think you will need it, you certainly will.
  • Machine Kit with cleaning tools and different feet
  • A project to work on (or a few) - you might have plans to buy something at a shop when you get there, but backup is always a good idea
  • Name badge - Especially if you are going to a retreat where there will be new people. Customize it and make your name memorable (oooo, that's a good idea for a tutorial). 
Might Need (highly recommended if space is not an issue):
  • Surge protector/extension cord - these are sometimes provided
  • Light/lamp - some venues have great lighting, some don't.
  • Rulers & rotary cutter/mat - these are on the might need list (as opposed to the need list) because some people prefer to have all their cutting done ahead of time and some retreats have community ones to share.  If you have any HST trimming or something similar I recommend a small mat for your own table so you don't have to hog the shared cutting table.
  • Cushion/chair - Many venues only supply folding chairs or hard conference style chairs, not the type you want to be sitting in for 8+ hours for 3 days.
  • Water bottle - Stay hydrated and keep the lid on your drink! 
  • Snacks - There is often a community snack table for the group.  Contribute your favorite.
  • Extra finished quilt/small fan - The temperature of the room may not be to your liking.
  • Sweatshirt/slippers - I don't think I am the only one that hates sewing in my shoes.  
  • Thread catcher/basket/lint roller - Remember, you are sharing a space and it is really impolite to just throw your threads on the floor like you do at home.  :)  (maybe this is just me)
  • Earplugs or CPAP machine - a good night's sleep is important to everyone
  • Mini iron & matt - Pressing stations are often supplied by the venue, but having to wait for one can be a pain
  • An extra FQ or a new little sewing trinket.  Many retreats have exchanges or games to participate in.  
  • Cards - If you have a blog, a shop, or just want to keep in touch with new friends it is handy to have a simple way to exchange information
  • Some hand sewing - You might want to sit and visit in a more relaxed space or sit in solitude outside for a bit.
  • Heat pad/Icepack/Ibuprofen - if you have aches and pains like I do, make sure you prepare.
  • Night light - to put in the bathroom of a shared room so a nighttime visit doesn't wake everyone
  • Cash - if your retreat is run by a shop, they may have some basic supplies on hand for  you to purchase in case you forget something

Goodness, that is a long list and I just know I forgot to add some things.  Let me know what you think needs to be added to the list.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quilt Retreat Series Part 1: What kind of retreat is best for me?

Over the next several weeks, I will be exploring many aspects of attending a Quilt Retreat (or any crafty retreat really).
You can start at the beginning of the series here at the Intro.

This week I wanted to cover the different kinds of retreats I have heard about or come across in my research to find the perfect retreat for me.

1. The Friend's house
        Probably the least amount of prep and possibly one of the most fun retreats.  Is a couple of local friends crowding into one of their studios, living rooms, or basements to sew for the day.  I think this is considered a retreat even if it is just for the day, because it gives you an excuse to ignore all your other responsibilities.  The dishes, the kids, the latest episode of Game of Thrones. You get to visit and have fun together and accomplish some sewing too.  My experience with these retreats always involved specialty coffees and some fast food lunch.  Such a good time!

2. The Guild Retreat
          I have never been on a guild retreat before.  I was only a member of a guild for a short time before I moved and haven't joined another.  This seems to be the most common type of retreat.  And I can completely understand why.  It gives the group a chance to pool their resources and spend a few days together in a different location.  Maybe a beach house, or a lodge in the country, or even just a hotel meeting room a few towns away.  Chances are, you know quite a few people in the guild and don't mind rooming with them or chatting the night away.

3. The Shop Retreat
          There are quite a few quilt shops that sponsor their own retreats, either in a venue at their shop or somewhere nearby.  The majority of retreats I have attended would be of this variety.  They can range anywhere from a few people to 75 or so.  My personal favorite is about 30 people.  Plenty of new friends, yet not overwhelming.  I have not been to one of these alone though, I usually have one or two people travelling with me.  These are fun because you will often get a decent discount at the shop.  *woot!*

4.  Small but adventurous
          I don't know if this should be a category of its own, but it didn't fit anywhere else.  I am not sure how common they are, but it was the first kind of retreat I went to.  The particular retreat I went to was a cabin in the woods near Glacier National Park.  It was a cluster of cabins that was usually used for tourists, but would occasionally rent to groups of 4-8 people.  There were 4 of us and 2 others, plus the owner and daughter joined us.  It was interesting.  It was a small setting, but only having a couple of people that were not with our group made for a little bit of awkwardness.  A good positive though was being able to take a stroll through the beautiful woods surrounding the cabin.

Another way to separate the different styles of retreats when making your choice is by location.  How far do you want to travel is a question to ask yourself here.

 1.  Hotel
          A lot of retreats are held at hotels in one city or another.  Some people travel to these because of the hosts or classes.  Others attend because they are local.  At these, there is usually the option of having your own room.  However, many hotels have "quiet hours" and quilting late at night or early in the morning would not be possible.

2.  Cabin/Beach House/Lodge
          These venues are chosen because of the atmosphere.  They are frequently surrounded by beautiful views and a bit of privacy.  Some have single rooms, others are dorm style or shared rooms.  Most often it is the entire building that is rented and most that I have seen advertise that you can quilt the entire night through if you so desire.

3. Cruise ship
          I have not been on a quilting cruise, but I know they are a thing.  The ones I have seen have classes/teachers as well as docking ports to shop and take a break.  I honestly don't know much more about them.  It sounds interesting though.

Finally, you need to ask yourself about amenities of the retreat.  Each one will be completely different from the next and this is a good time to explore different things, you may find you enjoy something new.

1. Kits and Classes
          Some retreats will be very structured and have specific projects to work on or a full line-up of classes to take.  If you are looking to increase your skill set or learn from the pros, this would be a good choice.

2. Meals and Snacks
          I have not yet been to a retreat where I was responsible for my own meals.  Of the two I have been to, one was home-made simple meals and the other was a catered buffet style.  The upcoming retreat we will be responsible for feeding ourselves, but the lodge has 2 kitchens for us to use.  Not all places will have that and you may need to plan on eating out.  Things to think about are:  coffee, snacks, is alcohol allowed, nearby grocery stores.  Many times, quilters will share the meal responsibilities and each handle a meal during their stay.  This include clean-up too.  If you don't want to have to think about any of that, make sure the meals are included with your stay.

3.  Privacy
          This one is completely personal preference, but a very important thing to consider when booking a retreat.  How much privacy do you feel comfortable with?  Do you need your own sleeping quarters?  Do you mind sharing with one or two others?  How about 20 in dorm style rooms?  Then you have to consider bathrooms as well.  You cannot assume that everyone will have their own bathroom unless you are staying in a hotel.

Well, there are a few things to think about when booking your quilt retreat.  Sorry for the long post with no photos.  :)
Do you have anything to add?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Going to a Quilt Retreat Series

I'm going to a Quilt Retreat!  Yeahoo!  *Happy Dance*

I have booked a retreat this summer at Over The Rainbow in Seattle, Washington with my aunt.  She will be flying in and we are going to shop hop on the drive all the way up there, taking our time and enjoying the drive.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally find a retreat that is 1. Not during the school year and 2. Not for guilds only AND 3. Not too far away.

As I prepare for this new retreat adventure, I find myself researching experiences that others have had.  I want to know what to bring and see if another quilter has suggestions that I haven't thought of. Then it came to me, I am a blogger now.  :)  haha  I can write about this adventure for others to read and possibly learn something or at least get a little entertainment out of it.

So, I present to you the Going to a Quilt Retreat series.

The posts may change a bit, but here are the ones I have planned:

  1. What quilt retreat is right for me? 
  2. What to pack for a quilt retreat.
  3. Snacks to bring to a quilt retreat (because we all know that snacks are ever so important to quilting! )
  4. Choosing projects for a quilt retreat
  5. Shop hopping
  6. Over the Rainbow retreat - my own adventure
  7. Best retreat tips poll
If you have any suggestions about things I should cover in this series, please let me know.  

Send me your tips!
I am looking for your best quilt retreat tip.  I will compile them at the end and do a post with everyone's best advice for retreating.
Email me your tips at adreamandastitch(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, May 1, 2017

Conquering that list of Goals

I woke up this morning with renewed energy to complete my list of quilting goals.  Now if only that motivation will last through my workday and still be there when I get home...

How many of you quilters deal with this?  When do you find time to quilt if you are just beat at the end of the day?

That being said.  I am so very close to being caught up with my projects that I have deadlines for.
Here is my checklist to finish in the next week (and a half):

  • Binding for Wedding Quilt (that should have been done months ago) - the wedding is at the end of May, so I think this meets the deadline as long as I get it in the mail by next week.  The quilt is quilted and the binding is ready to go.  I think I will be machine binding this one just because I haven't done it in awhile and I am in a bit of a time crunch.
Wedding Signature Quilt pre-quilting.  The little heart at the bottom in one that my grandma made before she passed.  This quilt is for a cousin.  

  • Catch up on my Freefall quilt.  I have been trying so hard to balance my quilting between the things I need to do and the things I want to do.  But ultimately the Need wins and I didn't have as much time to work on this last week as I had planned.  I did get started though and have all my little HSTs ready for trimming.

  • I have my Bee block for May to make and get in the mail.  That shouldn't take up too  much time, it looks like an easy, quick block.
  • I have a bridal shower to attend next weekend and have finally decided that I am going to make a simple table runner for the couple. 
Then after that:
  • I have not one, but TWO hops with block design and tutorial coming up that are Christmas themed.  
Lots of sewing to do, but it will be fun if I have the energy.  Did I mention I also was talked into signing up for a 5k at the beginning of June?  I would say that I am not a "runner".  So although a 5k is easy peasy for most, I have to train for it.  So, running is on the schedule too. 

To sign off, I will share some photos of a day trip that my sister and I took last weekend to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm Festival.  It was a fabulous day and we were so lucky that the rain held off while we were there.  It was a muddy mess, but we had a great time.  

Linking up with:
Needle and Thread Thursday with My Quilt Infatuation

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bee Inspired - Ooops March is Late

This year I joined my first ever quilt bee.  I am so lucky to have joined a group that is so friendly and forgiving.  :)  Because, oops, it is only April and I am already behind.  I know that is a huge Bee no-no, but I am going to chalk it up as a learning experience and get things straightened out by the end of this month and be back on track.

The April block was for Kate from Smiles From Kate.  Her blocks were gnomes and trees and they were made with a method I hadn't tried before.  I have to admit, I was really intimidated for some strange reason.  They didn't seem hard, on the contrary, they were blocks with a lot of forgiveness and leniency built in.  I guess it was just where I was emotionally and mentally that made me so scared to start them.  I did talk with her and get permission to take my time with them.  I didn't want to make blocks that I wasn't happy with or enjoying, so that is what I did.  I took my time.

With a good kick in the pants some prompting by my quilty friend Janice, who is also participating, I finally tackled the blocks this last weekend.  And of course, she was right...there was nothing to be scared of.  They were easy and fun.

I think I have mentioned it before, but I have a serious lack of low volume fabric in my stash.  I think I will have to keep a look out for some good pieces the next time I hit up the fabric store.  I did have some light greys on hand, and she mentioned grey in her colors so I went with it.  If it is not Ok, I am hoping she will tell me so I can make another block *hint hint Kate*

I guess that is what doing a Bee is all about.  Stepping outside your norm and trying new things.  New methods, new colors, new styles, new deadlines.  Hahaha.  I don't have my turn until September, but I think I already know what I am going to do.  I'll have to get that ready WAY ahead of time so I don't have to stress about it.

On an entirely different topic.  I have been struggling with my batting lately.  I have always used Warm and Natural cotton batting.  The last two quilts I have made have dark colored solids and they are picking up every single loose fiber there is.  It is so hard to clean up after.  Or take decent photos of for that matter.  Does anyone else have this problem?  How do you handle it?  What is your go-to batting?

Linking up with:
Linky Party Tuesday with Free Motion by the River

Monday, April 10, 2017

Freefall QAL - I see leaves!

I have finally got my quilting mojo back!  Yeahoo!!
My shoulder feels fine and I spent the whole weekend with my machine and Doctor Who.  :)
It was fabulous.

I spent Friday night and Saturday working on my FreeFall leaves for the QAL over at mmmquilts.
I decided to make all of my small leaves the same color.

I started to put together my leaf points and could not for the life of me figure out what I was doing wrong.  The paperless paper piecing method was new to me, so I continued to try...and fail.

I was so frustrated.  So, I went to bed then just as I was on the verge of sleep I thought to myself, "did I even measure the template I printed out?"  I woke up Saturday morning with newfound energy and went straight to my cut-out paper template.  Sure enough, I had printed it the wrong size, by about a 1/4 inch.  Sigh.  So, I threw my leaf points and my other cut points into the scrap bin and followed Sandra's instructions to draw my own (I didn't have a printer at home to print another template and I wasn't about to wait another week).   Easy Peasy!  The points went together like a dream!

Then onto the HSTs:

You gotta love the trimmings!

Putting the blocks together went so smooth.  I kept expecting to have to do some seam ripping to get some of those points nice, but they were all perfectly acceptable.  Some not quite perfect, but pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  :)

The color is off on this photo a bit, but I thought it was pretty anyways.

I am so excited to get the next set of instructions.  This is coming together so nicely.  You can view the progress of everyone else following along on the Linkup on Sandra's blog HERE.

In addition to the Linkup on mmmquilts, I'll be linking up with:
Linky Tuesday with Freemotion by the River
Let's Bee Social with Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle and Thread Thursday with My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, April 3, 2017

When will the break be over?

I know that we all take breaks from time to time.  From work, from blogging, even from *gasp* quilting.  It seems these last few weeks have been my time to break from blogging and quilting at the same time.  That may or may not have to do with my blog being about quilting.  :)

I have been doing a little bit of blog reading and commenting and as I get inspired by all of you I think to myself, "Today's the day, I am going to be back at my machine and I am going to be SO creative and successful!"  Then when I get home, I just can't bring myself to do it.  Part of it could be the near constant pain in my shoulder that has me exhausted by noon. (Trying a new treatment on Tuesday, so wish me luck there!)  And part of it could be that I have been working on things for other people too much.

I know I have mentioned my dear grandmother before and how she was a very important influence on my crafty life.  One of the last conversations we had was about quilting.  She told me that if it ever seems like work and not fun, then I wasn't doing it right (I am paraphrasing there).  I think that I fell into that trap a little farther than is comfortable for me.  I like doing things for other people, but I had too many deadlines on big projects and started feeling pressured to work on those.  Hence, not wanting to work on anything at all.  I have a feeling that I am not alone in this.

I have one more project to finish up for someone else, then I think that I am going to focus on things only for me for awhile.  My pattern writing mostly.  I really want to get some new patterns out there and I really want to try to get a pattern published in a magazine.  If you have any advice on that front, please let me know.

One of the things I have finished lately is my flimsy for the Meadow Mystery quilt with Cheryl at MeadowMist Designs. It was my first ever mystery quilt and I had a heck of a time choosing fabrics without knowing what the quilt would look like.  I am pretty pleased with it though and think I am going to use this quilt to try some new quilting designs on.  The muslin I used for the background just screams for some intricate designs.  Don't you think?

A closeup of the pretty brown fabric. It is hard to see the detail from farther away.

You can see more of the variation of the dark brown here.  Also, look at all those spaces wanting to be quilted!

And the completed top.  I think I have enough of the fabric to piece together for the back.  Not sure which one I'll use for binding yet.

To help improve my mood, Spring has decided to show up in Portland finally.  :)  I saw 3 little baby geese yesterday and then this is what it looks like all over the place:

Happy Quilting Everyone!
I'll be linking up to my usual places.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

T-shirts and Winners

I swear, I am still here.  :)
I just haven't had anything to share recently and don't even have any photos to share.  I think that is probably the main reason for the lack of posts.  I love a post with pretty photos and to be honest with you, I just haven't been in the mood.

The project I have been working on lately is a fun T-shirt quilt for a friend, but I don't know if I will share the full image because it has her name on some jerseys and other personal items.  I tell you what though....making one of these memory T-shirt quilts is really, really hard.  Not because of the sewing portion, but because of the cutting.  Some of these shirts were years old and she had stored them and carried them with her since childhood.  They were IMPORTANT memories and I went and cut them all up.  She wanted something useful made out of them.  She asked me to cut them up.  But, boy was it scary and it took me months to make that first cut.

I am happy to say that it turned out wonderfully and I can't wait to give it to her next week.

Onto the winner for my "Quilter's Laundry Day" Jen & Jan's Mini Blog Hop post!  I had 99 comments on that post and I was almost wanting to wait another day to see if I could get 1 more comment to round out the number, but I promised to do the drawing and I was anxious to pick someone.

I always like these little goodie bags to be a surprise.  The winner was comment number 44.  That comment was made by Bernie of Needle and Foot Once I receive confirmation that it has been received, I will add a photo.  Congratulations Bernie!  I hope you enjoy your little prize.  :)

I promise to start taking some photos and posting more often.  The sun shining more often will help on that front a lot.  I have some fun projects coming up and they will be a lot of fun to share.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

QAL Wrap up and Winners

Holy Smokes you guys!  The Jen and Jan Mini QAL & Blog Hop was a huge success!  I know I haven't had a chance to respond to each of your comments but they were all so nice and I thank you for stopping by and commenting.

There was such a creative group of quilters involved in this QAL!  If you haven't visited all of the bloggers on the hop, you can check them out HERE.

Janice and I decided to give away 2 prizes to the blog hop participants.  One for US only and one for International only.  We drew the names today and your winners are:

Sharon @ Yellow Cat Quilt Designs ($25 Fat Quarter Shop gift card)
Leanne @ Lizzie the Quilter (Craftsy Class certificate)


You still have some time to enter the giveaway from my blog by commenting on THIS post before March 23rd.

So, tell me... What would like to see for our next Mini QAL?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Jen & Jan's Mini QAL & Blog Hop

It's Blog Hop Day!!
*Can you see me doing my happy dance?*
I have been so anxious for this day to finally come.  I have been getting little sneak peeks of everyone's mini quilts, but no more than peeks and the wait has been killing me!

A few weeks ago, Janice from Color, Creating, and Quilting and I threw out the invitation to join us in making a pattern I wrote with the help of Janice and Kate from Smiles From Kate.  We had an overwhelming response.  So many people wanted to join the blog hop that we had to separate it into two days!  WOW!!! Seriously folks, I cannot express how much this thrilled me.
If you want to make this mini and missed out on joining the hop, you can still download the pattern for free in my Craftsy shop. Or view the tutorial.

In addition to the testing, I made a completed block to share as well.  This mini has so many opportunities for personalization beyond the fabric choices.  I chose to practice a little planned quilting.  (Is there an actual term for this? ) I usually do an all over stitch of one kind or another and I decided this quilt was the one where I started to change that.

The quilting can be seen much better on the back of the quilt.  I love the polka dots.  

You can't see it here, but I attempted pebbles on the road.  It's a good thing you can't see them.  They were HARD to do!

We had two fabulous sponsors for this hop.  Fat Quarter Shop and Craftsy.  Both were generous enough to supply gift certificates to a couple of our blog hop participants!  We will be drawing the winners from the hop participants later this week.


In addition to those two prizes, I will be sending a ***surprise goodie bag*** to one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment below and I will randomly draw a winner.  The last day for entry would be Thursday, March 23rd.

Now.....Finally.... What you all have been waiting for...
The list of blog participants for both days.  Make sure you stop by a few (if not all of them) and show them your love.  From the sneak peeks I have seen, you will not be disappointed in the creativity and talent of these bloggers!

March 10 

Jen Rosin A Dream and a Stitch
Kate Heads at Smiles From Kate
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Melva Nolan at Melva Loves Scraps
Vicki at Vicki's Crafts & Quilting
Julie Stocker at Pink Doxies
Anja Clyke at Anja Quilts
Diann at Little Penguin Quilts
Jayne at Twiggy & Opal
Susan Arnold at Quilt Fabrication
Leanne Milsom at Lizzie the Quilter
Sandra Walker at Mmm! Quilts!

March 11

Janice Holton at Color Creating & Quilting
Sola at Alice Samuels Quilt Co
Jennifer Strauser at Dizzy Quilter
Amy Gerlich at Amy Scrap Spot
Sharon Denney Parcel at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Tami at Sew Much for Free Time
Suzy Webster at Adventurous Applique & Quilting
Tish Stemple at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland
Susan Gordon at Sevenoaks Street Quilts
Anne Boundy at Said With Love
Barbara Wootie at The Flashing Scissors
Jan Welander at Making Scraps
Mary Macotte at Fleur de Lis Quilts

I think I can speak for Janice as well and say that this has been such an awesome experience for the both of us and we can't wait to do it again!

Monday, February 27, 2017

February Muggamo!

February is almost done and I have yet to share with you my super cute mug rug for the month.
Jen over at Patterns by Jen is sharing a new Mug Rug pattern every month.  Fun little projects that go together so quickly and are a great gift for friends (or yourself :) ).  You can find January's tutorial and February's tutorial Here and Here.

I know exactly who I am gifting this one to.  Now if I could only remember to put it in the mail...

I don't fussy cut very often, but this Love just wanted to be part of the February Muggamo!

I made an attempt at little tiny quilted hearts.  Some good, some not great, but still cute if you ask me.

The little swirls were very hard to do from the front because the thread matched the fabric.

Not your traditional Valentine colors, but I like it and see myself making this mug rug will all kinds of fussy cut bits.  

Linking up with the usual--all on my sidebar.