Monday, January 16, 2017

Rope Bowls - A Fun Little Gift Project

The trouble with Instagram is that I stumble upon cute craft projects that I might not see otherwise. Enter my new obsession of crafting with cotton clothesline rope. In a matter of a few hours, while watching some tv, I can make a cute little gift like this:

It's a great way to use those favorite little fabric scraps that are too small to use in a real project but you can bring yourself to actually throw them out. I used this tutorial here in case you're interested in trying this yourself.

I needed a way to hide the unfinished end of the bowl so I just folded over a piece of fabric with my label on it. It's not perfect but it got the job done.

I gifted this bowl to one of my neighbors but I liked it so much that I had to make another one for me to keep. I used some of the fabric scraps that are in my Turquoise Facets quilt.


This time I finished the bowl off using the same decor weight fabric that I used for my dining room placemats. 

I like the look much better, however, I need to be more aware of where the end is in relation to the last bit of woven fabric. I don't like the way it covers part of it up, especially since it's one of my favorite fabric scraps. I plan on making some of these as gifts for my son's teachers, using their favorite colors. I also want to make some coordinating coasters for my living room.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Finish Along - Q1 Planned Finishes

Click here for the 2017 Finish-Along Details

Last year I attribute a lot of my successful finishes to my participation in the 2016 Finish Along so it should come as no surprise that I will be participating again this year. It really helped to keep me focused and was a great motivator for me, being able to check a project off of my to-do list. So, here is my list for the first quarter of the year. Yes, it's ambitious, but it's supposed to be. Better to have too much and roll it over, than to have too little and run out of things to do. :)

1. My 2017 Stash Bee Faux Purple Plaid Quilt -- this is to be a wedding gift for my cousin in March. Here are the blocks that I've received so far, up on my design wall.

2.  Twin sized BB-8 quilt for my son's 7th birthday.  The backing fabric arrived yesterday so I should be able to finish up the top and get it basted by next week. That will give me plenty of time to get it quilted and bound before his birthday in March.

3.  Set of 4 Rope Coasters for our living room, using this rope and some of the scraps from this fabric bin, all which coordinate with the rest of the handmade decor in our living room.

4.  I'd like to transform these quilt sandwich circles into 2 free motion holiday ornaments, like the ones found in this tutorial.

5.  Transform these 2 layer cakes into one of these patterns that I worked on in EQ7. It's an easy project and I even have the backing fabric for this project so it's doable.

6.  I've been using this sad little eye mask for a few years now. (I think it was included in a game that my son had).  I don't use it all of the time, mostly when I have a migraine episode during the day and want to block out the light or if my husband and I are both in bed and he would like to read a bit before sleeping. I'd much rather have a pretty eye mask made with this fabric:

7.  Finish putting together these blocks into a finished top, and get this Aspen Frost Jubilee quilt  done!

8.  Welcome Panel - I have a few whole cloth panels that found their way into my stash. This one is from Benartex and while it's not exactly my style, it would be a nice free motion quilting project that I can get done in a day. It would make a nice gift for one of my aunts.

That's 8 documented projects outside of my monthly bee obligations and other sewing. Again, it's a lot but that's okay. It's good to have a list.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

January - Ready, Set, Goal!

Hello 2017! I am so ready to conquer this year and get things headed in the right direction. I've always been on the fence about the New Year's holiday. Do I like it? Don't I?  It signifies the end of the Christmas season which always makes me sad. I love having the house decorated for the holidays and the soft glow of the Christmas tree in the corner is especially soothing. The thought of putting everything away always makes me a little depressed. But on the flip side, the new year signifies a fresh start, an opportunity for a new beginning. I think the thing that tips the scale in favor of the new year is back to school. What can I say, I love my first grader dearly but after 2 and a half weeks at home, I'm ready for the new year to begin. If for no other reason than to get back into our normal routine.

So, to get back into my routine it's time to set a monthly goal. This year I will again be participating in the One Monthly Goal project hosted by Patty over at Elm Street Quilts. I had one gift that I didn't finish in time for Christmas and that was the BB-8 quilt for my son's new Star Wars room. Here is what I have so far:

For this month I need to enlarge this to twin size, purchase some backing fabric, and baste it so that it will be ready to quilt for February. I'm very optimistic. I can do this!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Planning for 2017 - Simply Specific

Before I could decide on what my quilting goals would be for 2017, I needed to look back and see how I did his past year. Not much changed since my mid-year review in July. In fact, the only thing that changed was some more home decor sewing.

It's only taken me 3 years now to realize that I've been I've been approaching my sewing and quilting goals all wrong. I am a detail-oriented person. When a director said "I want Peter Pan to fly across the stage..." it was my job as a stage manager to make sure all of the specific details happened (platforms in place backstage, regulation tested rigging, union stagehands trained specifically in actor flight, costume harnesses, etc.)  and not just leave it as a vague idea. In wanting to give myself creative flexibility I essentially left my goals too vague for me to take action on in a meaningful way.

So here is the 2017 strategy - Simplified goals that are much more specific:

Focus on Current WIPs (in order of importance):

  • BB-8 quilt - I really wanted this for Christmas for my son, but since he didn't know about it in the first place, I'm okay that I didn't finish it. The new deadline for this is for his birthday in March.
  • Stash Bee 2017 quilt - technically it's not a WIP yet - I have 1 block made but it won't be revealed until January 1st on the Stash Bee blog. The blocks I get from this bee are going to be made into a lap quilt for my cousin who is getting married in March.
  • Aspen Frost Jubilee Quilt - this was an orphan block project that I adopted a few months ago from  Libby at Life on the Hill. Between finishing up all the Pulse quilts I got the sashing started but still need to get those blocks put together. This project has been an orphan long enough.
  • Pinwheel Wedding Quilt - add outer border and quilt by the end of the year (actual wedding is still TBD so there is no rush on this finish). Possibly quilt this on my DSM, although it's a bit big. Could be good practice with ruler work.
  • Midnight Mystery Quilt - needs to be quilted on a long arm. This one is going to take more than 1 day since it's a large queen size so I need to find a friend that can allow me that much rental time. 
  • Plaid Picnic Scrap Quilt - while this is not a hard deadline quilt, I want to make this project my "in-between project" - the one that I'm pinning or sewing between the other priority projects, sort of like a leader-ender project. 

Selfish Sewing:  

These are projects that I really want to do for myself.
  • I'd like to make at least 1 block a month from the pattern Bubbles
  • Leanne from the Devoted Quilter posted this tutorial to make these adorable free motion quilted ornaments. I admit, I'm a bit intimidated to try flow quilting like this but I think it will be a good exercise for me. I'd like to try and make one or 2 a month. 
  • I'd like to make a quilt using my own block pattern Dutch Windmill - I'd like to make 1 block a month using all solids from my stash.

Sew from my Stash - with a focus on precuts:  

Yes, we all seem to say this at some point, and I'm no different. I seem to have plenty of fabric and I don't really go on large fabric buying binges. I'm really good about only buying something that I need but I did have a problem with buying precuts a few years back and a goal that was on my list last year was to use more of my precuts. Again, that was too vague so here is a more specific goal, and these are if I feel the need to start a new project!
  • Layer Cake Quilt - using existing layer cakes of solid navy and Bonnie & Camille with the pattern/layout that I planned earlier this year. This is going to be a gift for my brother and his wife for next Christmas.
  • Somerset Jelly Roll & White Jelly Roll -- I think I'd like to use Chelsea's Picnic Pinwheels pattern from Patch the Giraffe.
  • Make at least 1 quilt to donate to charity. After last year's huge Pulse initiative, it seems a bit ridiculous to only strive for 1 quilt but I'm being realistic. The goal, though, is to still use what is in my stash. 

It's Okay to Watch from the Sidelines & Still Be Inspired: 

There are still so many projects that I want to tackle but I have to be realistic and remind myself that it's okay to say no, and just soak up all the creative energy from my cozy chair in the corner. Having taken over Stash Bee this year, I think it's important to not over-commit myself this year. I also know that I'm going to be a bit more involved in my local guild and will be coordinating some long distance swaps in 2017. Last but not least, I think I'd like to try a mini swap of some sort through Instagram.

Monthly Goal Setting: 

Setting goals each month really helped to keep me accountable so this is something that I need to continue doing. It appeals to my organizational nature of getting to check something off of my to-do list each month.

So there it is, all laid out for 2017.  More specific than in previous years which will hopefully lead to more success. 
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