Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Emerging From Hanging Sleeve Hell

Whew! I did it! I got all my hanging sleeves attached for the quilts I plan to hang in my guild's annual show. I kept putting them off, forgetting that there is a lot of hand-sewing involved, which takes time! I spent a good two days getting them attached by machine and then sewn down by hand. Oh... a couple of the quilts needed to be bound, as well. So all this prep work has prevented me from doing the fun stuff that I want to do: creative sewing, aka PLAY time in the sewing room. But I have now emerged from the Hanging Sleeve Drudgery and will be free to play.

Here are the six quilts I will have in the show. You may be interested to know that almost all of these were inspired by fellow bloggers.

inspired by Tonya of Lazy Gal Quilting

inspired by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts

inspired by Victoria of Bumble Beans

inspired by Wanda of Exuberant Color

This one was inspired by the pattern which looked easy, and an impulsive purchase of fabric.

This is a quilt block painted on a chunk of wood. It was a guild project after our speaker on Barn Quilts. We're going to have a fence row with our barn quilts displayed on it. I discovered I am a lousy painter. See where it is pink in the patterned part? I was trying to be smart. I poured the yellow background paint into the red paint, hoping it would make orange. It didn't. It made pink. Oh, well. Live and learn.

This is the small quilt I am putting in the small quilt auction part of our store. It was inspired by Victoria of Bumble Beans.

If you can make it to the Twin Cities, Minnesota on the right days during the month of February, go on over to the History Society building in South St. Paul and check out our show. Here are the details.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My January Finish

Yay, I did it! Here's my finish: my goal was to get this quilted and bound in January, and I managed to get 'er done!

I love the look of stripes for bindings.

This is 50" x 70" which is a little big for me to comfortably do on my domestic machine. I managed, but it's not my favorite thing to do. I admire people who can do beautiful free motion quilting on little domestic machines! I may never get that mastered, but at least this quilt is done. Hooray!

I'm linking up to the Year of Finishes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

V's Fabric Challenge

I have been wanting to finish this challenge for quite some time. "V" from Bumble Beans sent out swatches of the fabric that I used in the middle of the string blocks, the darker fabric with flowers in it. In desperation I made the string blocks, then set it aside.

Now I'm wanting to work on her next challenge, Tea Towels, but I figured I should finish this one first.

I didn't have a clear idea in mind. I made some "made fabric" squares and thought about setting them on point around the border, like this.

It just didn't do anything for me. I tried it in a few different arrangements, and didn't like any of them.

Finally I gave up on the "made" squares and, again in desperation, went with this setting with flying geese in the corners. I went ahead and put it together and am working on quilting this. I'm still not in love with it, but it's OK. Hopefully someone will like it enough to bid on it. I'm putting it in my quilt show store where we have a small quilt auction. I need to get it done and bound in the next couple of days. Quilt show set-up is next Saturday!

It is approximately 24 inches square.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Books: Juliet in August

Juliet in August by Dianne Warren -- I love this book! It is a simple story about a small town, Juliet,Saskatchewan, over the course of one night and one day in August. The characters are so loveable. They have the regular human foibles that we all possess... not understanding each other, feeling hurt that we are misunderstood, falling in and out of love, wondering where our lives are leading, what might have been, and working through our hum drum days as well as the exciting ones.

It's a very readable, human story. Since I finished the book, I have been thinking a lot about the various characters.

Definitely 5 stars.

I think you know I love to read. I also love photography. I found the coolest blog that combines these two loves: it's mostly photos of people reading on the NY Subway system. Here's a link:

Underground New York Public Library

I was mesmerized by these photos and stayed up too late looking at them. Neat photography, and I was impressed with the wide range of books being read.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who Made My Barbie Doll Clothes?

I am wondering if you smart readers have answers for my question.

Am I buying the services of slaves?

About a week ago, more or less, I caught an episode of Katie Couric's talk show. Her guests were discussing the problem of trafficking of girls and women (and sometimes boys). Often they are forced into a sex slave nightmare. Sometimes it is a work slave situation. For example, girls are removed from home, passports and IDs are taken, they are locked up with no access to and no contact with the outside world, and they are forced to do whatever the prisoner dictates.

I know this goes on. Sadly, the trafficking happens even in my own state. One thing the show talked about was the consumption we do and whether it encourages the existence of work slaves. Children are often forced to do labor in fields or mines, for example, and not allowed to go to school. If we buy the products of that field or mine, we are economically supporting slavery. Sadly, they said that the cosmetic industry is a big culprit.. some of the chemicals used in cosmetics are typically produced by child slaves. (There's another topic -- how to make purchases wisely so that we don't support slave labor. Where is the transparency?)

Now here is my question. Recently I started buying home-made Barbie doll clothes on e-Bay. One of the vendors I have purchased from sends me the doll clothes from China. At first I thought, "oh, how nice. I'm helping a fledgling entrepreneur in China make a cottage industry for herself." Then I began to wonder -- do these products come from a child labor/slave situation where the kids are made to work for pennies so that I can buy Barbie doll clothes on the cheap?

Some of these nice dresses go for as cheap as 99 cents. The exchange has gone very smoothly. I have purchased several of these fancy doll dresses (for various kids I know or as gifts for other kids). They come in the mail promptly and are well made and look cute on the Barbie dolls.

Is there a way I can find out -- reliably -- who is making these dresses? I don't want to support slave labor, but I do want to support someone trying to make an honest living and finding an easy way to work from home.

What do you think? What would you guess, when buying a dress for 99 cents from China? Remember it's on e-Bay where sometimes it has to go cheap so it'll sell, because of the glut of sellers... how can I research this to put my mind at ease?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sister K!

Today is my sister's birthday. She is 65 years old! I think she would let me say that out loud.

K. has always been great at the things I can't do well. From an early age she was a good seamstress. She used to make doll clothes for me, and not from a pattern -- just from being creative. While we were growing up, K. was the one who helped Mom with sewing and cooking. I did not learn that stuff well - just wasn't interested - but was envious of K's skills.

She still is a skilled whirling dervish in the kitchen. She's a great cook and hostess. She can throw a good party at a moment's notice.

K. had her three kids before I had any of mine, and I was so glad! I got to watch her raise her babies, and learn from her. When mine came along, I felt much more confident about how to be a mom, from watching K's example. (Never quite reached her level of Mom Mastery, but.. who is surprised by that?!)

She's also an excellent seamstress. When I took up quilting, I knew she would, too, because she would be intrigued by the fabrics and colors. She was fabulous at quilting immediately. But she hasn't had time for quilting in recent years, because she opened a bookstore in her town. She does that really well, too. She's the energizer bunny, running a great shop, promoting literacy and books all over town, loves to read, loves to talk about books, and I've seen her make sales based on her enthusiasm for books.

Outside of sewing, cooking, and reading/selling books, she is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and of education. She has chaired a million different groups and boards and organizations. She's good at that kind of thing. She and her hubby have left a very positive mark on the town where they live, making contributions to art festivals and musical events, helping to fund-raise for the schools and help get an important school levy passed, among many other things they do for the town.

You can guess that I'm proud of my sister. She's talented and energetic. Compared to her I'm kind of a goofball and can't do many things right. When I visit her house, I always leave something behind, because I'm scattered and forgetful. But she seems to like me anyway.

So today I wish my oldest Sisty Ugler a very happy 65th birthday! (I'm the youngest, and there is a middle sister, too, and a brother... some day I'll write about them, too.) K., I hope you learn all you can about Medicare, because when it's my turn to get on it, I'll need someone to tell me what it all means.

Eat some cake today in honor of my sister, K.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend Report

I visited my mom on Friday and Saturday. I helped her get rid of a bunch of recycling and threw away some junk she wanted to get rid of. Also helped her change the sheets on her bed. She doesn't like to feel that she is a burden, so she tries to stop me from helping her, but I made her accept my help. I wanted to help her! After all, she is 91 years and 11 months old. She has earned the right to have a little bit of help now and then. And after all she has done for me, I have the right to help! Yes? Yes!

On Saturday the wind blew in from Canada and brought blowing snow and plummeting temps. While I was out running errands for my mom, the temperature fell from 21 deg F. to 12 deg F in just over an hour. It is not even going to get out of the negative numbers for tomorrow's high. I'm planning to stay inside as much as possible.

When I wasn't at my mom's, I was home, sewing. This is a bit of what I accomplished over the last 4 or 5 days (none of these from start to finish, so don't have a heart attack). I'm not THAT fast:

I don't know who gave me these string blocks. I had to make 4 more to complete the top. It will eventually go to Wrap a Smile.

This is a scrappy top I'd forgotten I had. I found it in my "projects" pile. Added a second border to it, because it was on the small side. It, too, will go to Wrap a Smile.

This red one was the subject of a post where I asked for your input. Thank you for your comments and ideas. I decided to do the simple thing and just slap these on as regular borders. I liked the idea of slashing and adding the vertical whites, especially if done on a slant, but I just didn't want to take the time to fuss with it. So far I have no idea where this quilt will end up.

While sewing, I watched some football. This is the end of the Atlanta - SanFran game. My friend in Atlanta was bummed that SanFran won. Notice that piece of wood with things sticking in and out of it? That is our home-made TV antenna, made out of a clothes hanger. Hubby found the pattern online. It's not glamorous, but it works great! We don't have cable, but our antennas work just fine.

Found these nine-patches that I had forgotten about. I'm working on getting this top assembled. This and another one similar to it will be gift quilts for a family I know.

I almost finished knitting this sweet little preemie hat; I was at my mom's and had forgotten to take along all the supplies I needed. I'll finish it in the next few minutes. It is sitting on top of a quilt that I need to hurry and quilt. I did make progress in getting it laid out on the table, and I cut a backing piece for it. Next: cut the batting and iron the backing piece - then quilt!

I notice my readership is up to 135 which I feel is so fun and an honor! Thank you for being my blog followers, all 135 of you! Wanda H's link at her blog, Exuberant Color, helped bring some traffic my way. I think that accounts for the recent upsurge. I'll try to not bore you to death at my blog! Hang in there when I have my boring days, please. Hugs to you all!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Books: Two in Progress

I am currently reading two books. Both are excellent.

One is Juliet in August by Dianne Warren. The other is Four Souls by Louise Erdrich.

One is from the Lucky U shelf at the library, so I have only one week to read it and return it. The other is for a book club discussion. I need to have it done in about ten days.

I'll tell you more about these fine books next Friday!

I started using my gym membership, and now my legs are sore. It's hard to walk up and down stairs. Must keep it up so my muscles get used to the new me.

Thanks for the comments on my previous post. I am still contemplating what to do on that quilt. I appreciate your thoughts on the process. Stay tuned to see the final piece!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Progress and a Question

Using the "dump and sew" method, I created this quilt using my red scraps. I posted the beginning photo a couple of days ago.

Since then I finished the five rows of red scraps, and I made sashing rows from white scraps. (Well, I'm in the process of doing white scraps... not quite done with them.) While taking photos of my progress, I noticed a different look with the white scraps on top, several inches inside rather than on the sides as borders.

To do this I would have to applique them on top. The blocks underneath are just long rows. They don't have blocks at consistent spaces where I could rip out a row and sew in the white. So... what do you think looks better? White scraps as horizontal rows and as outside borders...

...or white scraps set in, making this different look.. I don't know what to call it... a lattice look?

I'm hesitant to sew the whites on top as I would have to do.. I like them sewn onto the sides. But do I like the look of the "lattice" view enough to applique them in that inner spot? What do you think?

(Please ignore the curvy nature of the white vertical rows.. I would fix that on the final quilt top, plus some of that is from camera distortion.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Yikes! I Did it Again!

Oh, me and my big ideas. I have been thinking that I need to get some regular exercise. I always tell myself that I'll start walking outside. But there are always too many excuses: too hot, raining, too cold, too icy, too dark. So then I go back to thinking about joining a club.

A while ago I finally quit my Y membership, because I was paying but not going. Now there is an Anytime Fitness near my house. I mean.. really near. I could walk to it. Any time I'm out and about, I drive right past it. It has been shaking its finger at me and making me feel guilty. So I went in today and joined. Oh, boy. Here we go again. I hope I can keep going, because this is the closest to my house a gym can get without being in my back yard. It couldn't be more convenient. I want to be healthier... I hope I can get myself to go to the gym.

Funny thing.. the manager was very friendly and personable. He admitted to me that he hates to exercise, too. Somehow that made it feel more like a friendly place where I can make it work.

And now I'm retired so have even fewer excuses for not fitting it into my day. I've done this and failed more than once, as you may remember. Crossing my fingers! You can cross yours for me too, if you want.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

No to the "Shoulds" -- Yes to "I Wanna"

The weekend is coming to a close; I enjoyed my weekend activities. I managed to avoid anything tedious such as cleaning. I pampered myself and just did what I wanted to do all weekend. (I know, I'm spoiled.)

On Friday a friend and I went on a road trip to shop in a quilt store that was having a sale. Also, she had a gift certificate to spend. I knew I didn't need any fabric, but I caved and bought some. It was so beautiful and on sale, after all. It was raining, in January -- weird for Minnesota weather. We did not encounter any ice on our trip, although just north of there I understand they experienced some bad ice on roads and had cancelled school and even closed the freeway. We lucked out.

The cold came swooping in, and I spent the rest of the weekend warm and inside. I think the highs this weekend were around a balmy 12 deg. F on both Saturday and Sunday (is that around -10 deg. C?) So you can see why I stayed inside.

I sewed and sewed, did a little knitting, and wrote a letter. That's about all I did! I did not even open up one book (disappointing). I managed to NOT do the sewing I should be getting done for our guild's upcoming quilt show. The "oh this looks like fun" projects are so much more compelling than the "should get this done" projects. So here is what I did:

Made a table runner - spur of the moment, very impulsive - I just started sewing and it turned into this:

It's almost done; I am still working on quilting it. I decided to turn it pillow-style instead of using a binding, because I didn't want to cover up the cool fabric that is in the borders. (That is some of the loot I bought on Friday.)

Made blocks for Sunshine. TS will turn these into lovely quilts. The Ohio Star is my go-to block, kind of my signature block. I love to make it and almost always include at least one Ohio Star in my monthly Sunshine blocks.

Today, Sunday, I slept in and skipped church. It was so nice to stay cuddled in a warm bed instead of venturing out into the frozen wasteland.

And instead of the "should" projects, this is what I worked on today and while watching "Downton Abbey" :

I was putting away some fabrics and realized that a couple of my scrap bins are overflowing again. I love the randomness of grabbing and sewing them together. So I played with reds instead of finishing up quilt show projects. After all, there is always tomorrow! Right?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Snow Storm Flew to Alaska

A small snow storm that was very localized (my house) recently took flight and landed in Alaska, again very localized (at the home of S., my quilt partner of the month).

Here's a picture of the storm aftermath:

The children who live in that blue house made a snowman!

This is the doll quilt that I made as a member of the Doll Quilt Swap group. This is my first month as a member. Our theme was Snow. I couldn't post this picture until my partner received it, and I just heard word that the little snow storm arrived at her house today.

The 3-D snowman was not part of the original plan, but when it turned out to have such a big, white front yard, this house was just begging for a snowman. He is sewn on; he's not actually a "doll" that is to be played with.

I hope Snowman has found a happy home in Alaska. I hear it's a good place for snow-people to hang out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Books: Lithuania

Trakai Castle, Lithuania

This week I read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. I think this is a Young Adult novel, but it was so great, I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it just because of its classification. Also it has nothing to do with the popular Fifty Shades of Grey! Please don't get them confused. Please do read Between Shades of Gray.

The story is a fictionalized version of what really happened in Lithuania starting in 1939 when the Soviets invaded the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia). The story was lost to history and left untold for many, many years.

Anyone who was deemed an enemy of the Soviet state was deported, most to prisons or to labor camps in Siberia. You can imagine the outcome. The so-called enemies were dangerous thugs such as teachers, librarians, artists, and social workers.

This story is told through the eyes of a 15-year old girl. She and her family end up in Siberia, being treated like criminals and nearly frozen/starved to death.

These events really happened. Even now it is rarely talked about. Sadly, I have a part in this and a confession to make. Years ago I knew a young woman whose parents were from Latvia. She told me about the horrible treatment of Latvians at the time of WWII at the hands of Soviet Communists. Here is the terrible part: I didn't believe her. I had never heard of it... I couldn't believe it was true. She was young; I assumed she was exaggerating or had misunderstood. Years later I knew better, and when I saw her again, I apologized. She was gracious and accepted my apology. It's hard to not still feel bad about my original disbelief, however.

So now you see that I am part of this history, too. When Lithuanians finally returned home, were their neighbors just as skeptical as I was? Did anyone believe their stories? In truth, they probably only rarely talked about their history because they could still get in trouble for discussing it, years after the fact.

We have the opportunity, finally, to learn about this important part of history. We owe it to the annals of history and to the people who suffered to read this book and others like it... and to finally believe their truth!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Lots of Finishes!

I am concentrating on finishing some projects. A few of these have been in the works for a while, and I finally got them quilted and bound. Others are recent projects. Here goes:

1) Colorwash

This is a wall hanging that is 30" x 30". A while back I got a colorwash starter kit from Wanda over at Exuberant Color. She does amazingly gorgeous colorwash quilts like this, only much larger. She sent me a kit, and I added to it. I started making blocks and playing around with larger sizes, but I found it harder than I expected. I was kind of intimidated. So I decided to work on a smaller scale, and then I was more comfortable. I'm happy with how this turned out, although I quilted it myself and am not too impressed with the quilting. Luckily, that is not the most striking aspect to this quilt, so I don't think too many people will examine the quilting that closely.

2) A Quilt to Give Away

There are a zillion pregnant women at work these days, so I made a quilt which will be given away in a drawing. It is based on a design by Amanda Jean Nyberg in her book, "Sunday Morning Quilts."

3) A Where-Did-This-Come-From Quilt

Someone gave me most of these blocks. I don't know who or when. I finally decided to slap them together and put them to use. This quilt is going to Rosebud Reservation with three others, to be used in their layettes for newborns. I hope someone thinks it's "newborn-ish" enough.

4)A scarf for a Domestic Violence shelter

This is the coolest yarn! It has those larger, "bumpier" sections spun right into the yarn, and it comes up randomly as one knits along. I love the random look of this scarf and the varied colors in both the pinkish and the blueish bumps.

5) A hat for a homeless man

This is a project at Ravelry(dot)com. They are doing projects, one per month, for each state in the U.S. This project is hats for homeless men in Nebraska. They wanted washable yarn, so my choices were limited, as most of my yarn is wool. This is the only somewhat manly colors I had that are also washable. The hat fits my hubby, so I hope it'll work for some guy in Nebraska.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Help an African Village Get Clean Drinking Water

Her name is Pam. Several years ago she made a king-size quilt for her father. She has been hand-quilting it over the years. Now it is done, however her father has gone into a nursing home and can no longer use a king-size quilt.

Not wanting her labor of love to go to waste, Pam is offering this quilt in a drawing. Donate just $10 (minimum) to the Blood: Water Mission; all donations go directly to the fund for a well which will provide clean drinking water to a village in Africa. Leave Pam a comment. Your name will be in the drawing, and you could win this beautiful quilt. (100% cotton, hand quilted with wool-blend batting)

Here is a link to Pam's blog where you can donate and leave a comment: LIVING WATER QUILT RAFFLE

Most of us can spare $10, and a village can get a well. Win-Win!!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Are You the Knitter I'm Looking For?

A while back I read someone's blog. She talked about making blankets for residents of a nursing home. She asked for knitted rows of whatever stitch and yarn we wanted to use, making them 40 inches long.

I have a row almost complete and might make more, if only I could remember who it was who asked for the rows.

Do you know? Is it you? A friend of yours? If you have the answer, please let me know. I thought I would remember how to find her, but, of course I can't. I hope my readers can help.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

So Many Ways to Help -- Quilts Needed!

I love to make quilts to give away, to provide comfort and happiness to those who receive the quilts. Every time I hear about a new collection of quilts for people in need, I want to join in. I sometimes promise more than I can deliver. Today I am providing you with a short list of places that need our help.. can you make some quilts to donate to any of the following? There are so many needs; we have to work together to accomplish the goals. I hope you can help, and also help spread the word.

200 quilts for Sandy Hook first responders The first responders at Sandy Hook experienced direct and vicarious trauma just by doing their jobs. Let's thank them by giving each one a beautiful quilt.

1500 quilts for Happy Chemo One can order a box to be sent to anyone you know who is going through chemo. The box includes a beautiful quilt along with special deals for other cancer-related items and information about resources.
communicate your desire to help with Em's Scrap Bag
She pledged 1500 quilts and needs help reaching that total.

Margaret's Hope Chest has several projects going; this year's new project is quilts for new moms who are being treated for post-partum depression.

a father holds his child who is wrapped in a Wrap-a-Smile quilt

If you like to make quilts for kids, Wrap a Smile may be just for you! Wrap a Smile sends quilts with Rotary volunteer groups who travel around the world performing free cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries for kids. Each kid who goes through surgery gets a quilt after surgery, and it's a quilt to keep. Be sure to watch the inspirational video on the linked Wrap a Smile page. Terry is its founder and is a tireless WAS quilt enthusiast. The need here is on-going, as Rotary sends medical teams out almost every month of the year. Each team needs about 130 quilts.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Friday Books: Flight Behavior

photo by Ted Wilcox

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver... a farming family in a rural area of Tennessee finds a surprising and shocking quirk of nature has landed in their back yard... unexpectedly and, as it turns out, incorrectly.

At first I was disappointed with this book. I love Kingsolver, so I was expecting a book that would grab me and lead me to sit up late at night, not able to put it down. That did not happen.

As I read further I fell more in love with the book. All the aspects that I can think of were done well: excellent character development, beautiful language - her writing is superb, interesting story line, everything was excellent. The one disappointing factor, I think, is that I sometimes felt I was being preached at. Kingsolver is passionate about the earth, nature, the complex issues surrounding global warming. This book came from her heart, yet I felt sometimes that I was being bonked over the head with the message. But having said that, I learned, so maybe I wasn't being bonked at all!?

Kingsolver handled the dichotomy of the issue so well! Some characters were passionate on one side or the other, others reacted with some skepticism... just like all of us when confronted with scientfic evidence in our own back yards that we may not understand or may not want to analyze too deeply.

All in all, an excellent book... in the end I want to say that I am disappointed in myself for being disappointed. It's a great story and wonderfully written... with that little bit of je ne sais quoi that is giving me pause. Please read it and tell me that you love this book. That will put my mind at ease. I give it 4 stars.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

I Joined a Second Group

I now have two new projects in 2013. These will keep me out of trouble and off the streets. This is a good thing! The first is the Doll Quilt monthly swap (see button in my sidebar) which I already mentioned a post or two ago. We have a theme every month, we are assigned a partner every month, and the two partners swap doll quilts. Cool! I already have my January top made for my partner. The theme is Snow -- something my partner and I both understand. She lives in Alaska, I live in Minnesota. All I have to do is quilt and bind my top and get it mailed to her by the end of the month. She is doing the same for me. This is a fun, new thing for me to be doing. I haven't done a swap in a long time, and I don't think I have ever done a year-long swap. I hope I like a whole year of it.

The second group is 2013 Lovely Year of Finishes (see button in my sidebar). Each month we set a specific goal of something we want to finish that month. This is what I want to finish this January:

It is a quilt top made of blue scraps (also mentioned a post or two ago); I used the "dump and sew" method. I didn't really "dump," though. I just pulled out my blue scrap bin and started sewing. I like this method. It grows and morphs into its own thing, usually not at all what I envisioned for it. The picture shows the top, sitting on my table waiting for some attention. I plan to get this quilted and bound this month. It'll be a challenge, because I rarely quilt something this large on my own little machine. Wish me luck!

At the end of the year, I will have 12 projects done for the Lovely Year of Finishes! Not to mention the 12 doll quilts for the monthly swap... I can envision needing to overlap these projects, but hope not to do that very often. That will depend on how crazy 2013 becomes. I am hoping for a year lacking in craziness.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

50 Cents Per Follower

photo by Jen Braun, from the Ampersand Families website

My blog and I are up to 126 followers! I am going to do what I did a year ago when I celebrated achieving 100 followers: I will pay 50 cents per follower to my favorite charity.

Ampersand Families will get $63.00 from me! Thanks for following, reading my blog, and for writing your comments that inspire me.

Ampersand Families recruits and supports permanent families for older youth, and champions practices in adoption and permanency that restore belonging, dignity and hope.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Sewing My Way Into 2013

I finally have had some good hours in the sewing room. Son is still home, and he ever so kindly offered to help me do some cleaning. I could pick any room, so I asked if he was willing to help me tackle my sewing room, the messiest room in the house. What a guy! He pitched right in, and we both worked for a couple of hours. It's not done, but I can now walk around in the room!

He left to visit friends, and I worked a bit more on the room. I found a lot of things I had entirely forgotten about. I have resolved not to buy any more fabric until I get a bunch of these current projects done and out of the house. (I hope I can stick to my resolution.)

Cleaning a sewing room and finding things that need one's attention are both great motivators! I awarded myself (for cleaning) with some fun sewing time. Here is a scrap quilt top I made. I think I might add something to top and bottom to make it a tad longer; otherwise it is done and is now in the to-be-quilted pile.

top in progress, growing as I sew scraps together randomly

I thought it used up a lot of blue scraps, but incredibly, as I cleaned and organized my room, I found loads more scraps, and my blue bin is once again overflowing, as are all the other colors. Using up my fabrics and scraps could easily become a full-time job!

I worked on another quilt that is a gift, so I can't show it to you until I present it to the recipient-to-be (RTB). I like it so far and hope RTB will like it, too.

I also worked on another secret quilt that will be gifted at a later date. I'm having so much fun, but can't show you much for now!

Yesterday I joined a group called Doll Quilt Swap. See the button on my sidebar. It is a group of quilters who swap home-made doll quilts once per month. I thought it would be fun to have a new idea to work on this year. I have not done a swap like this in quite some time, and have never focused solely on doll quilts. We'll see how it goes. I have become fond of making doll quilts lately, after I made some for Christmas gifts. Hence my interest in continuing the fun.

As 2012 ticks down to its final moments, I want to say that I continue to be humbled and pleased to have readers, one and all, visit my little blog. People from all over the world read my blog, and that just amazes me. I am glad we can share a little time together now and then. Whether or not you comment, I appreciate you coming around to share in my world.

A few random fire crackers have started blasting off in the neighborhood, so I suppose that means it is now 2013. Well, Happy New Year to one and all! May it be a year of health and happiness.