Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017 Goals

Since 2017 starts tomorrow, it's time to put some goals in writing.  I've been thinking about this for a week or two, and I've enjoyed seeing goals set by others through the 2017 Planning Party hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl.

2017 Planning Party

Big Picture/Overall Goals

Goal: Big Quilts
I'm not super comfortable quilting big quilts.  Well, the quilting process is probably where I'm least comfortable for any size quilt, but I especially struggle with large quilts.  I have a few big projects on my list of what I'm hoping to finish in 2017, so working with big quilts and hopefully at least getting over my mental block is a goal.

Goal: Focus on what's already started and what I own
This is hard to quantify.  I have a lot of fabric.  I also have a lot of ideas.  While I do finish things, it's easy for me to finish one thing and start 3 more.  I don't want to stifle my creativity because quilting is my outlet, but I also want to think critically before I jump into a ton of new projects.   I also don't want to completely limit buying new fabric, but I'd like to use up far more than I take in.

Goal: Maintain Commitments
I'm in 2 bees this year: Stash Bee, where I'm also a Hive Mama, and Bee Inspired, which is a small group of us that came out of the 2016 New Quilt Blogger's Hop.  I commit to fulfilling my obligations on time.

Goal: Remember that "It's okay watch from the sidelines and still be inspired"
That phrase is in quotes because it comes directly from Diana at Red Delicious Life.  She summed up what I have been thinking about for the past few weeks.  I see a lot of quilt alongs and similar events and I want to do them all, but I can't.  I can watch and appreciate what others do without needing to join them all along the way.   

Goal: Blog Styling
I wasn't sure what to call this.  Basically, I have a pretty bare bones blog and I have some ideas of features I want to add, but I haven't sat down to figure it out and do it.  I did the 2016 New Quilt Blogger's Hop and I learned a lot.  I know some people in the group are talking about doing it again; I don't know what the rules are on that, but I do know I want to put some time in to the blog beyond writing posts.

Goal: Use my Quilter's Planner
I didn't have a Quilter's Planner for 2016, but I saw a lot of action online.  I decided to get one for 2017.  I suspect this will be more of a Quilter's Journal for me, because I use an online calendar for work and I add the major household stuff to that and it doesn't make sense to keep 2 calendars.  So what I need to do is figure out what using it looks like for me, and if it's something I want to continue beyond 2017.

Quantitative Goals

12 quilts donated to Project Linus
6 mini quilts or pillows completed
6 scrap projects completed

I am also making a list of 12 projects as a part of All People Quilt's 2017 UFO challenge.  While I think it is unlikely I will finish all 12, it is a list of things I want to work on.  And 2 projects on that list need to be evaluated if I don't touch them--I need to decide if I am going to finish them or if I should move on by either using the parts in something else or passing on to another quilter.

This now seems like a long list!  I'm excited to see what I accomplish in 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Recap & Reflection

If 2015 was the year I discovered the online quilting community, 2016 is the year I jumped all the way into the pool.  I continued to participate in the Finish Along, this year hosted by multiple people across the globe.  I also did OMG, or One Monthly Goal, every month, and I completed all but one.  (My April goal was to make all the HST for the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt.  I finally made all 1,100 needed HST in DECEMBER.)  Probably my sentimental favorite finish of the year was my February OMG, the growth chart for Munchkin:
Probably my favorite finish of 2016
In terms of online community, this year I added:
  • Stash Bee. I loved it!  It was great to see how different all of our tastes are, and to make 1 block a month without a lot of commitment.  It was a great way to try new things and just dip your toe in the water, so if you didn't like a technique or a block or a color combination, you weren't stuck with it for long.  And I can't wait to dive into my pile of bookshelf blocks from my turn as queen and turn them into something fantastic!
  • 2016 New Bloggers Blog Hop.  This was a stretch for me, as the blog started as a way to just log my projects, but I was really glad I did it. I love the community aspect and that was the main thing I got out of the experience.  My blog will never be something I can put a ton of time into or want to polish or be professional, but I did learn stuff and had a lot of fun.
2016 New Quilt Bloggers
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I really like the laid back nature of this challenge.  People pretty much make it their own.  And I love the butterflies that I made.  I will end up with 2 quilts and a mini from my 16 blocks from the year.  But I had trouble keeping up with the months.  I have an idea for a block for 2017, but I haven't decided to commit yet.
Rainbow Scrap Challenge Bright Butterflies
  • I occasionally linked up with Oh Scrap! hosted by Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. (Ain't that the truth!!!)  And I linked up with Scraptastic Tuesday hosted by Leanne at She Can Quilt and Nicky at Mrs. Sew & Sow a few times as well. 
2016 was also the year I discovered pillows.  It started with me making a penguin pillow for Muchkin's birthday, then led to throwing out the pillows from the living room couch and making more.  I've made 4 total, with plans for at least 3 more in 2017.

Last December, I created a list of 12 projects to work on for 2016.  It was never intended to be a "finish them all" list, just a place to start.  I have finished 3 from the list and made signigicant progress on 2 more.  One goal was about cleaning up, and while I didn't go through the spefici drawers written on the goal, I have done a lot of cleaning out and reorganizing in the sewing room, so I'm going to count that as 6 of 12 goals either completed or with significant progress.

Donated Quilts: I set a goal of 12 quilts made and donated to Project Linus.  I made donated 12 kids quilts to the Charlotte chapter of Project Linus in 2016, and I also made a quilt for the Pulse project.
Quilt for Pulse
Mini Quilts: I set a goal of 5 mini quilts.  If you don't count the pillows, I completed one.  However, I've been working a lot this week, and I have 2 that are at the binding stage.  And my batik hexie mini, while not finished, is a lot farther along than it was a year ago. 
Hearts Mini
Scrap Quilts: My goal was 3 scrap projects.  In going through my finishes, I count 5, plus 2 more that I've been working on but aren't finished yet.  My two favorites are the butterflies from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Here, Fishy Fishy, which was a baby gift for my college roommate for her baby boy.
Scrappy Fish
All in all, 2016 was a good quilting year!  I don't get a ton of free time, but what I do get, I spent a lot of it quilting.  I made some good online friends.  I continued to be involved with Charlotte's chapter of Project Linus.  And I am happy with the projects I made.  Can't ask for more than that!  Here's hoping for more of the same in 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bright Butterflies for Baby June

All year, I've been making butterfly blocks as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The block is one I adapted slightly from the Summer 2014 issue of Quilter's World magazine.  Each butterfly is 12 1/2" high and 17" long unfinished.  Over the course of 2016, I made 16 butterflies.  I picked the 9 brightest and turned them into a baby quilt.

Baby June arrived a week before Christmas.  Her mom, my friend Kate, has seen the finished top and was really pleased.  Kate loves scrap quilts, and since she & I have traded scraps many times over the years, several fabrics that made it into the quilt came from her and some have family associations--there's at least one from a quilt her grandmother made, and I didn't even know it!

The sashing fabric is Kona Bordeaux.  The back is The Very Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. Kate & I are both librarians so a fabric that comes from a children's book seems very appropriate. I quilted it with the wavy line stitch on my machine; I thought that might make it look like the butterflies are in flight.  I'm super pleased with how it turned out!

Finishing this quilt was my One Monthly Goal for the OMG goal-setting party hosted by Elm Street Quilts (goal setter #56).  It was also #9 on my list of Q4 goals for the globally hosted Finish Along under the name "Gummie's Quilt, as Gummie was how baby was referred to before she was born and her name was announced.
Elm Street Quilts

2016 FAL

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Piggie Pillow

My son has recently become interested in pigs.  He told us that Santa was going to bring him a Blueberry Piggie.  (Yeah, we had no idea what that means, either.)  I talked to Santa and knew he was bringing a stuffed animal pig with a blue bow around its neck, but I decided at the last minute to add a piggie to our pillow menagerie in addition.  So this guy was waiting on the couch Christmas morning.

Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts released a farm animal pattern recently, and just before Christmas she started putting single blocks from her patterns into her etsy shop.  Since I only wanted the pig, that was perfect for me.  I had the day to myself the Friday before Christmas and on a whim at lunch time I bought and downloaded the pattern and got fabrics from my stash.

And here's where the shenanigans began.  Because I decided to double the block size.  Except I just did a straight double and didn't think about how the seam allowance would now be out of wack until I was a fair way in.  But I was able to compensate and I don't think the proportions are too far off, though anything that looks off is the fault of me and not the pattern.  It's also now a really large pig face.  If I had it to do over, I would use the standard block, but oh well.

The fabrics in the pig are Kona Ballerina, Plum, Pepper, and Coal.  I had a pig print that worked nicely for the back; it is Barnyard Boogie by Blank Quilting.  I am now a pro at the envelope pillow method from Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts and I didn't even need to pull up the directions.

So here is our current pillow family.  A kangaroo was supposed to be next, but the paper pieced pattern is much bigger than I realized, so I'm putting that on the back burner because I don't really want a pillow that big--that's why I got rid of the couch cushions and moved to the fun ones in the first place!

Monday, December 26, 2016

car and train carriers

Munchkin likes cars & trucks.  We generally have some small trucks with us whenever we are out.  I've been wanting to make him a car carrier for a while and finally made one for Christmas.

I meshed 2 patterns together: this tutorial from homemade by Jill and a pattern that was in the Winter 2012/2013 issue of Simple Quilts & Sewing magazine.  The outside fabric came from my local quilt shop recently and the inside fabric is part of a fat quarter a friend gave me.  The solid is Kona Clover and the road is felt.

While I was at it, I made one for our friend Buddy whose birthday is 2 days before Christmas.  Buddy is about 10 weeks younger than Munchkin.  The 4 of us parents were friends before the boys were born; timing was just really lucky!  Buddy is crazy about trains.  His version has a train print on both the outside and the inside, also with the Kona Clover as the solid.  I swapped out the road for train tracks.  I did a Google image search for "felt railroad tracks" to get some ideas of how to put together the train track and I basically did it off a picture.

I like that the boys have matching toys but that they reflect individual preferences.
inside, without cars or trains

We had some fire trucks for Munchkin, so he got his loaded up on Christmas morning.  It was a hit and he stopped opening presents to line up his new trucks on the road.

Buddy's dad told me that his was a hit, too, and that it will be the go-to toy to take out to lunch or dinner.  Travel and eating out will likely be the primary uses of ours, too.  I wanted something that could take trucks on the go. 

This was goal #10 on my list of Q4 goals for the globally hosted Finish Along
2016 FAL

Saturday, December 24, 2016

last minute Christmas gift

My dad is particularly difficult to find gifts for.  This year when I asked what he wanted, he clearly wanted me to make him something but didn't have suggestions for what.  I was at a loss until I remembered the car trash bags I have made--you can see them here and here.  So I made him one.

The main fabric is a train print that my friend Snow gave me recently.  My dad has always liked trains, and the print seemed subtle enough to work for him.  The straps & binding are Kona Pepper leftover from Here, Fishy Fishy.  I use the pattern "Not-Ugly Car Trash Bag" from the book One Yard Wonders.  I've made it several times.  I line mine with PUL so they are less likely to get gross and I've made a few other minor adjustments. 

I also used snaps this time, something that Snow added to the one I made for her this summer and I thought was brilliant.  It was my first time using my snap setter but definitely not the last!  I love how easy it was!  I went back and added snaps to mine while I had it out and will upgrade Husband's as well.

This was essentially a spur-of-the-moment make and I hope he likes it!

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I finally finished all my butterflies for the rainbow scrap challenge!  Yellow was the last color, and here they are:

I added them all up and I have 16 butterflies from throughout the year.  I didn't have one space big enough to lay them all out, so you'll have to wait until I have a finished product to show.  They will be split into 3 projects. 9 butterflies are going into a baby quilt, 6 will go into a quilt for Project Linus, and that leaves 1 to become a mini for me.  Interestingly, I am keeping the very first butterfly of the year!
That's right, I'm keeping the butterfly with Darth Vader's face in it!  It just makes me so happy.  At some point, I'll quilt it up and it can join my wall of minis at work.

The block is from the Summer 2014 issue of Quilter's World magazine, though I have adapted it slightly.  Mine finished at 12 1/2" high and 17" long.

I had a good time with the rainbow scrap challenge.  I haven't decided exactly how I am going to use it next year, but I will do something.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hey Hey, I'm a Monkey!

As I finished this pillow, I couldn't stop singing the theme song from The Monkees.  And so a pillow is named!

The pattern is part of the Zoo Animals bundle from Kristy @ Quiet Play.  The Zoo Animals bundle includes 9 different animal blocks.  I have plans to make the giraffe and the koala in the near future; some of the others may come at a later date.

Her paper pieced pattern is for a 10" block; I enlarged it to a 16" block.  I added more of the background fabric to make it fit a 20" pillow. I think some of those pieces around the eyes would be awfully tiny in a 10" block!  My one disappointment with the pattern is that there was no instruction about adding the face.  The picture showed what I am guessing was embroidery, but there was no guideline or written direction.  I used embroidery, and I wished I used more strands to make the face show up better.

The fabrics are Kona cottons in Chocolate, Scone, & Seafoam, with Black & White used in the eyes.  I used a 20" pillow form from IKEA and the envelope pillow method from Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts.

Kangaroo is next, but I have a few projects I want to finish before I can hop to making that one.  Here is the Monkey with its friend Panda.

The monkey pillow was goal #6 on my list of Q4 goals in the globally hosted Finish Along.

2016 FAL

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

OMG December Goal

I am hoping to get quite a bit done during December, as I get extended time off work and should have extra sewing time.  For my One Monthly Goal, I've chosen the baby quilt that will be made with the butterflies I've been making all year for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Green Butterflies

This might be a bit of a stretch, as I still haven't actually finished all the butterflies; I still have yellow left to make.  I intentionally haven't been counting my butterflies and made a number each month that made sense with how many scraps I had.  This goal is to completely finish one quilt, but I suspect I will still have some butterflies left for a second quilt.

The main reason for fast-tracking this project is that it is a baby quilt for a young lady expected to arrive any day now!  No official name yet, parents are referring to her as "Gummie" for now.  So Gummie's butterfly quilt is my One Monthly Goal.  Linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts.

Elm Street Quilts

Monday, December 5, 2016

I Spy a finished quilt!

For close to a year now, I've been working on an I Spy quilt for my niece.  I asked her parents (my brother and sister-in-law) if I could make her a quilt for whenever she moves into a big girl bed.  I wanted to do an I Spy quilt very similar to the one I made while I was pregnant that is now in Munchkin's room.

And here it is!  There are 192 I Spy fabrics.  I kept a spreadsheet so that I would not repeat an item.  There are some that are similar, such as a bird and an owl, or a sailboat and a pirate ship, but there is no actual repeating of main objects. The sashing is Kona Coal.

Her birthday is this week and she is arriving for a visit this weekend, so I get to gift it in person.  (She lives in OR and I live in NC, so this is a big deal.)

Her favorite color is purple.  So is mine!  I had a big piece of a purple batik that I used for the back, and I pieced it with a leftover bit of rainbow batik and a pinkish/purple batik that I honestly picked because it was the right size for the space I had left to cover.

I am super pleased with how it turned out and I can't wait to give it to her!  I hope she likes looking for stuff half as much as I do.  In making this, I realized that the quilt I want to make for my bed is an I Spy quilt!  Husband agrees, so that will be a project in 2017.  If I think this twin size is big, a queen size will be huge!  But it's fun to look forward to.

This was #1 on my list of Q4 goals for the globally hosted Finish Along.  I will also be linking up with Julie at The Crafty Quilter for her Hello 2016, Goodbye UFOs. I've been working on this all year and it's great to cross it off the list!

2016 FAL

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Red was originally the color for September in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, but I've been behind.  I'm determined to get a quilt completely finished by the end of 2016 so I'm trying to get caught up.
Here are my 2 red blocks.  You can see that I had to stretch a bit to get 2!  The top one is my "light" reds, and there are quite a few that are actually some sort of red on a lighter colored background.  So it's a wide interpretation of red :)

Yellow is now all I have left.  I'll be away from my sewing room for just over a week, as we have company coming and the sewing room is also the guest room, so I need to pack up the machine and clean up a bit.  But yellow butterflies will be first on my list when I get back in there.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Farm Friends

I've been doing a little non-quilt sewing for small gifts, mostly in preparation for my niece's visit next week.  I had seen pictures online of Stacy Hsu's Farm Friends stuffed toys, so I went to my local quilt shop and bought a panel.  There are 4 animals in each panel: cow, pig, sheep, & chicken.  Each animal has a mama and 2 babies.  The mama has a pouch so the babies can settle in for a nap.

I asked my brother and sister-in-law which of those animals my niece likes best, without explaining why I was asking.  They said cow. So when Noodle is here, she can have a special friend. (When I talked to my brother on Thanksgiving, he said he was curious about that specific list of animals. I had asked about 2 weeks before.  I still wouldn't tell why.)

Of the three animals left, I asked Munchkin which he likes.  He said pig.  So when Noodle is here and gets her cow, I will give Munchkin the pig.

We have close friends who are expecting Baby 2 in the next few weeks and it is likely their son will stay with us while mom & dad are in the hospital.  So I asked my friend if her son likes chickens or sheep better, again giving no context.  She replied (via text) that he had petted a chicken, so I went with chicken.  I especially that he will get his mama with 2 babies as his mama is getting her second baby, so one chick can be him and one can be Baby Sister.

I'm not usually good with stuffed toys, but these were relatively easy since you basically just cut out on the dotted lines and follow directions.  I think they are cute and I hope the kids I made them for (mine turned 3 in October, the other two turn 3 in December) enjoy them.  I still have "Mama Baa" that I can make when the right recipient comes along.