18 December 2014

Yuletide finishes

 It's the Holiday Season

Perhaps you started handmade, heartfelt gifts for Christmas or birthdays and then got caught up and then life took over?  That is exactly what happened to me last year.  I was determined to not only complete WIPS started for the holidays last year, but I would also get them done before December rolled around.   I think mug rugs/snack mats and place mats are great for practicing skills or demo blocks.  They go together fast and like cooking in a microwave; "instant" gratification.  These two projects are also neat for trying out decorative trims or new products.  You can have a project like this pieced, sandwiched, quilted and bound in about two hours.  (If you are beginner it may be longer)  And like most quilters I get a wee bit giddy when I pull projects out of the dryer.

Although I did not complete my goal by getting WIPS done before December, but I am 98% complete with the Yuletide WIPS.
First Mug Rug or Snack Mat

The first is a mug rug in solid green and low volume prints, FMQ'ed with a meandering squiggle and a botched flower in the middle.  My FMQ skills are not the best, but I try.  (Perhaps that is why I have so many tops finished and they sit waiting.)

Used zig zag stitch to keep from rolling up in the wash
Mug Rug Back

I used stripey green to make a binding.  I also like the Christmas fabric on the back.

I also made four place mats using a QAYG method.  I picked various fat quarter Christmas prints and left over fabric from the stockings I made last year.  This is a great project for scraps or orphan blocks.  I also used scraps of batting trimmed from quilts and other projects. 

I used decorative stitches to decorate the place mats over a few seams.  I used red, white and cream-ish natural threads.  I used my walking foot to complete the QAYG.  

Four place mats posing for photos
Decorative stitching showing up on back - right side a chain of snow flakes
More decorative snow flakes

red zig zag contrasting with blue, green and cream

I just love those happy little trees!

I cut the binding on the bias, but it didn't give the effect I wanted. I also used some decorative stitching on some of the place mats. 
used zig zag to keep binding from rolling and add pizazz
Fitting PERFECTLY into poly envelope!

Have you ever focused on a handmade Christmas? 

Another general question - do you find that sometimes your phone camera does a fantastic job and other times all the pictures look like junk?  All pics taken with iphone.  One thing I did ask santa for was a camera so I can take pictures of stuff for the blog.

12 December 2014

A Friday Finish of Sorts

Although I have been like a little Elf in Santa's workshop, I don't have much to share in the way of my makings, until after the holidays (of course).

I would like to share what I have done with my Low Volume Charm Swap fabrics I participated in with Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe and Melissa at From Bolt to Beauty.  As I opened my squishy package, I loved each print, but thought that if I made a quilt out of exclusive low volume prints, then I knew the quilt would get stained, or have dark jeans bleed over it in the wash.

I decided since all the "heavy lifting" was completed by the ladies and their great job choosing and cutting their charms, I would do a four patch.  I added some fabric from my stash that I had cut in to charms previously.  (I really like bright colors!)

I dug around on pinterest to see what might inspire me.  I decided to do a disappearing four patch to add visual interest AND offer a bit of a challenge.  

I used THIS YouTube tutorial from Missouri Quilt Company.

I found this block to be fairly easy, but once you sew and press you then have to cut, sew and press again.  My sewing set up makes this a wee bit challenging, but perhaps I can scare up a longer table at some point so I can have my machine at one end, my cutting mat at the other and I don't have to set or shove my machine over to make room for the mat to cut and trim.

I am quite pleased with the results. 
Left over blocks from the layout
I decided to set the blocks on point and use some fun chevron fabric as setting squares.  I trimmed my blocks down to about 8 inches and cut 8 inch blocks from the chevron fabric.  

A fun Layout - I think

closest chevron "block" is just the rest of the fabric folded for the picture (HA)

This one is a bit fuzzy

I hope I have enough chevron fabric left to make the setting triangles.  I have never set a quilt on point before and look forward to the challenge.  Good think I have my Robert Kaufman quilting app on my phone!

Have you ever attempted a quilt challenge that made you nervous?

Linked up with TGIFF and Finish it up Friday

11 December 2014

Thoughts on the Road to Making More McNays

This month we embarked on our journey towards parenthood.  It all started with a surgery. (That's what all good medical stories start with).  We were delayed in starting fertility treatments due to some nice cysts that grew on my ovaries.  Our doctor monitored them and decided that they needed to be dealt with.  

The following day I was getting looped up on some awesome drugs for an early morning procedure.  The doctor used a huge needle to aspirate both cysts.  A was "awake" but not aware of anything.  The last thing I remember was putting on the clinic's socks over my socks and moving towards the table with the stirrups.  Then I was waking up in my bed.  Ken helped me get dressed and drove me home, brought me into the house and put me to bed and I had no recollection.

Does anyone else find it eerie when recovering from anesthesia or other medication that causes amnesia???

Anyhooo - we waited all day Friday for all my medications to arrive from our special pharmacy.  The medication was ordered Thursday with overnight shipping for Friday.  The parcel didn't arrive at all Friday, although UPS did deliver the previously ordered dog shampoo.

I called UPS and they told me that the local distribution facility was closed for the weekend and my package would be delivered Monday.  I waited ALL DAY Monday and even missed work for this package.  I was also scheduled to tutor a student that evening, and so, after waiting all day; I decided to take my chances and go to my tutoring appointment.  

As I was leaving, I got a call from UPS stating that my package would arrive between 8:00 and 8:30 pm.  Although I got lost on the way to my appointment, I tutored my student and raced home - barely making it for 8:30.  

It was evident that UPS hadn't even arrived as there wasn't a note left on my door.  I beat them home!  I called UPS and spoke with someone to make sure my arrangements for picking up the parcel at the distribution hub. 

As I hung up the phone, I heard the familiar roar of a diesel engine and squeal of brakes.  The UPS man arrived with my medications at 9:00 pm.  

I promptly unpacked the box and stored the medications in their proper places (refrigerated and non refrigerated).  I gazed at our little Christmas tree and reflected on the little miracles that took place over the past two weeks.

  1. Payments were made in full to begin treatments and pay for surgery
  2. Surgery was successful and I recovered with minor pain
  3. Money for medication was available and paid
  4. My husband has a generous employer that offers great health coverage including fertility treatments
  5. My husband was wise with finances in having money available to make sure payments were made
  6. The medications arrived just in time for me to begin the hormone therapy
  7. I have generous friends and family who participated in our fundraiser last year to help off set medical costs
  8. I have a local support system that encourage me and are willing to give me my shots 
I think I need not any gifts for Christmas this year.  All we really want is for the treatments to be successful and result in pregnancy.

07 December 2014

Quilt Tops and Love

I wanted to blog about the process of one of my most recent quilt top finish for about two weeks.  My husband brought home a nasty virus and we spent about two weeks sick. Hopefully I will get some good pictures of the quilt top for this post.  

It all started with a phone call.  I called home and by brother answered the phone.  We talked about school, Seahawks, a girl who he's interested in, cool YouTube videos, music and such.  And I asked him if he would want a quilt.  He told me he thought that any sort of handmade gift is awesome and special.  

Now this brother is kind of a "black sheep".  Most families have one.  He has made some poor choices and had alot of struggles.  Some of those struggles are self inflicted, others are bumps throughout life, exacerbated by his choices.  There are some days when he thinks I am a corporate sell-out, others that I am the only one who "gets" him.

I asked if he wanted me to make him a quilt, and what sort of color scheme he likes.  He told me that he liked the new Seahawks colors.  I went on to the interwebs and researched the new colors and then I pulled out my trusty grid composition book and started sketching out ideas.

I decided that I would also include the old Seahawks colors as well.  This was the first time I actually sketched out a quilt top instead of just winging it.
notes for 12th man quilt

During planning and sewing of this quilt top I have had very unique impressions that this quilt will serve as a symbol of care and love.  Hopefully I have made it long enough since the guy is over six feet tall.
using notes to layout blocks
seahawks quilt all bound washed and dried

12th man block and my gold toes at the bottom

Have you ever made a quilt or handicraft that you knew would be cherished by the recipient?