Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekend Projects

I did a lot of sewing this weekend. Fun!

I put together another quilt top made from my guild's community service blocks. Then I cut a backing fabric for it, feeling enthused to quilt it immediately. Well, I kept adding fabric strips to the wrong end. The backing kept getting longer, but not wider, as I needed it. So I gave up on quilting. That long, narrow back will probably fit some other top, so at least it wasn't a waste of time.

I made some blocks for the block Lotto game at Sunshine. Actually I never play the Lotto, but I make blocks for the Lotto Lady to keep and make Sunshine quilts. I didn't make any November blocks, so I guess these will be for December - theme is "pot luck."

I made a few more community service blocks.

I did some quilting on a wall hanging, but didn't finish it (no picture), and I worked on some home-made Christmas gifts but also didn't finish (no picture).

Throughout the weekend I had been tossing scraps into a big pile, and today I used about 2/3 of them to make this doll blankie. It measures 23" x 28". It's not curved on the right side like it shows; that's just a function of the camera angle. My tiny scraps filled up another doggie bed.

A productive weekend, I'd say! Plus, while I sewed, the Minnesota Vikings managed to win their game today. Hooray!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Books: Hannah

Yes, I have a book review for you this week! I read Hannah, Delivered by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew. This is the story of birth, and specifically of a young woman who realizes she wants and needs to make a career change and to become a midwife. This book was obviously well researched. There is a lot of information on the training, the work itself, and laws and regulations that govern this field. Lest you think that sounds boring, it is not! The story is engaging, and the characters are varied and likeable. The writing is beautiful!

I felt a kinship with the main character, Hannah, in some ways. I won't go into why, but it's not because of career choice. (I'm not a midwife.)

Birth is celebrated in this book; I was brought back to my own experiences giving birth and the profound, miraculous thing it is. Having read this book gave me a feeling of having experienced something profound.

P.S. I know this author personally and think it is very cool that she wrote such a good novel. Her previous writings were in the spiritual memoir genre. She is talented!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Inside, Outside, Upside Down

One of my quilt guilds is holding a challenge: create a quilt which reflects the theme "Inside, Outside, Upside Down." I've been thinking about it for quite a while, but didn't have a clear inspiration. I actually played with one idea, but knew it wasn't what I wanted to do. I abandoned that idea right away.

Then I got inspired.. and created this quilt in two days. It's not totally done, the border is not yet attached, some of the details aren't finished, but this is pretty close to done as a top. And everything came from my stash! This guild is full of really talented folks, so of course I'm already second guessing myself. I feel a bit intimidated in this group. I am trying to learn to not be so hard on myself. Whatever happens, I had fun making this one.

I made two pies for Thanksgiving dinner. They look pretty bad, but hopefully they'll taste good.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving, if you are celebrating it this week. We're missing our son! It's a regular work day for him, far away in South Korea. Have a happy day, Son!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

...and Another One!

This is the biggest I've made using our guild's community service blocks. It's 56" x 81".

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another Quilt Top, and Where Did the Time Go?

This weekend I concentrated on blocks for our guild's community service project. I got several blocks made and some block pieces made, and I also assembled this top. I really hoped I'd get this top quilted over the weekend, too, but I ran out of time.

I had some minky scraps and decided to make this toy. It is pretty much the shape of the scraps as they came out of the bag. I might give this to (xxxxx??) for Christmas, although I'm not sure. Gotta keep the name secret, you know! Babies these days are born knowing how to read stuff on the internet.

I'm trying to work harder at keeping my sewing area neat even as I work and in between sewing sessions, but it's really hard to accomplish! The act of sewing itself is by nature a mess.

Who volunteers to be my live-in maid, cook, and laundry person?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

For the Dollies

I have made a few doll blankets this year. I meant to keep up with scraps and make doll blankets as I go, but that didn't last long. The most recent one I made is from some pre-cut blocks I found recently and didn't even know I had. I don't know where they came from.

The backing on that one is a super cute flannel with teddy bears on it.

My dolly wanted to pose today, because she really likes all these blankies. She wanted to pose with the newest one alone, because the flannel back is so warm and soft.

These blankets are going to our neighborhood agency that serves families in need. Doll blankets for Christmas! I enjoy making them for that purpose.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Books: Not Again?!

Yes, we have no book review; we have no book review today! (What tune am I singing that to?? Can you guess?)

Sorry, folks. I'm not done with the book I'm reading this week. I have been in a slow-reading slump, and I'm OK with it. It is causing me to think about next year. In 2015 I intend to read some FAT books; old books and classics like War and Peace and other books that will take me longer than one week to read. I'll have to figure out what to do about my Friday Books column. Do you have any suggestions? I like to talk about books on Fridays, but am quite sure I won't have reviews for you on a weekly basis in 2015. What would you like to see happen in my Friday Books column?

We're having a silent auction at work, as I mentioned in my previous post. At first I thought it was just going to be my stuff. I was so happy when I went back to work and saw a lot of very nice additions to the auction. It's a great mix of things, and some of them are being hotly bid between a few folks. Fun!

This is a photo of one of the auction tables before the good variety of other items arrived.

Does anyone recognize the bib on the left? LOL.. I bought it from Carin V. at her blog site, but held onto it for too long, and now it'll no longer fit the child I meant it for. So I added it to this auction...nothing better than re-using and re-purposing, eh!? I can't remember if anyone has bid on it yet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Couple of Auctions, a Few Quilts

Last year I did an impromptu silent auction at work. I set out a couple items, people bid on them, and they sold. The money went to a food shelf.

This year I decided to do it again, but in a more organized way. I asked co-workers who would like to participate, where the money should go, etc... and it got scheduled. About eight people said they would donate items. The auction went live this week on Monday. Turns out some people forgot or just decided not to donate anything. At first when I set it all up on Monday, I thought it was going to be the Carol Silent Auction - items just from me. But three or four other things arrived, and the auction was on. When I left work on Monday, no one had bid yet. I sure hope they do, because there are some nice things there, and I don't want them going for a pittance. I'll be back in pretty soon and can check the progress.

I took a picture of the auction set-up, then left my camera at work. Here's one of my donated items. Remember giving me advice on my finishing options? I went with those who told me just to finish it up and bind it and not go to extra effort of extending the HSTs into the border area. Glad I did it that way.. once I hadn't seen it for a few days, I realized I was content without doing that extra work.

If this doesn't get very high bids, I'm not going to let it go for a pittance. Some of the other stuff I might be willing to let go for a song, but not this quilt that took many hours of work. Below are two other items I put in the auction:

I also made a couple pot holders, and some dyed baby onesies.

Here is a quilt that I finished this week. I just love the colors in this. This quilt is for Wrap a Smile, not for the auction.

And here's one more auction item, but it's a different auction. It's a fundraiser to help a family adopt a child from China. Check out the auction at Facebook, here.

I donated this doll blanket for that auction.

I am crossing my fingers for some high bids in these auctions!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Books: Don't Give Up!

Please don't give up on me. I am still reading! I have had a two-week slump in my reading appetite, but I'm back at it and hope to have a review for you again next Friday, November 21.

Meanwhile, you can get some early Christmas or Hanukkah shopping done - why not buy someone a book?? Visit your local Independent Bookstore and pull out that holiday wad of cash you've been waiting to spend!

This is the library I frequented from age 12 until I went off to college. When this photo was taken, the building was for sale. It has since sold. It will be ... I don't know ... a retail place, I think.

This is the current library in the same town. It was built after I moved away, so I have never been a regular there. Now when I visit town, however, I go in to check out the Friends of the Library book sales. I've picked up some excellent books to put in the Little Free Library at church, and supported a "real" library at the same time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Retreat and a Few Projects

My quilt guild went on retreat this weekend. It's a great place to get a lot done. We had fun sewing for hours on end, and eating good food. Most nights I stayed up 'til 2:00 AM, but don't think I'm completely crazy.. I'm just partially crazy. I usually slept about 7 hours per night, so I was getting plenty of sleep.

beautiful views from our sewing room

Most of us bring along our own quilt to sleep under. This is my bed. The quilt is one I worked on during last year's retreat.

This last project is a doll blanket that will go into an auction/fund raiser to help a family in Michigan adopt their second child from China. I'll post a link to that auction when it starts in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Friday Books: Quilt Books

To be honest, I forgot all about doing a book review for today. I am currently attending a quilting retreat. I guess that's why I forgot.

One person who is a whiz at finding treasures at thrift shops found this great book about old quilts made with millions of TINY pieces. She got it for $1.09.

I didn't catch the name of the book, but here is a photo I took of one of the quilts pictured in the book. Yikes! I think the blocks were made using 1-inch strips.

Happy sewing, reading, and Thrift Shop hunting!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Best Job in the World

Have I ever mentioned how great my current job is? Not only do I get to pick my own hours, and there is no pressure whatsoever to work a specific number of hours, ever... but I also have the best management I've ever worked for in my life. They understand exactly what we worker bees are doing and are very supportive and positive.

Now they have won my heart again, in this way: we are organizing a small silent auction to run at work for a week in mid-November. All those who are participating as vendors voted and chose a charity that the sales will support. I guess I'm in charge, as it was my idea, and I'm doing the behind-the-scenes organizing. So... my bosses offered to give me a half hour, paid, for the work I do at set-up time and another paid half hour for the work I do cleaning up afterwards. What do you think of that?? I thought it was wonderful.

Here are a couple of the items we'll be offering at our auction:

A friend made these crocheted dish cloths, and I decided to make a matching pot holder to make these sets.

I have a couple other projects-in-progress that will be for the auction, but no pictures of them as yet.

Last weekend I finally studied the instructions for the use of my new sewing machine. Now I'm in the groove and can use it for anything. I'm having lots of fun with it. I may have shown something earlier that I made on my new machine, but this block is the official "first" made with my new machine and with me being aware of what I was doing.

I hate reading directions, but being aware is worth the trouble.

(American readers: did you vote today? I did. Exercise your privilege and right to vote!)

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Joy of Quilts

I have been slowly building my Depression Block quilt that uses zillions of scraps. Here it is as of right now:

I wasn't sure how many blocks I wanted to make; I guess I answered my own question by stopping at nine. So this is a baby-size quilt. Does it seem appropriately baby to you? There are lots of fun kid-friendly fabrics in there: an elephant, monkeys, a mouse that sews, airplanes, typewriters, flowers, chickens, etc... lots to look at, but atypical as baby quilts go.

I was going to add a second border, but that would make it 48" square which seems a little big for a baby quilt. So now I'm thinking I might just change the current border by adding in some HSTs to finish those flying geese units into square-in-squares. What do you think? Should I bother? It wouldn't be hard, just kind of tedious. And should I do them just in the borders or in the borders and at the four corners?

Here's another thing I made: a table topper. It was my "practice" one, using the fabrics I'm not as crazy about. I have some brighter Christmas fabrics (that I like better) to make a second one, but I decided not to do this pattern again. I'm glad I practiced with these less-loved fabrics first. This and whatever next one I make will be sold (I hope) in a silent auction we're doing at work.

Here's where I really felt the joy today. One of our Sunshine members (online guild) is currently working with the medical team doing free cleft lip/palate surgeries in Venezuela. She posted some photos at our blog, and here is a baby who was given a quilt I made!!! It's a rare and very joyful treat to see a picture of a kid with a quilt I made! I think my friend, Diane, quilted this one. I didn't, and the quilting is beautiful, so it must have been Diane. Look at this sweet baby!

I'm thrilled!