Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Stash Report - Week Four

I am finally finished "Orca Bay"!  What an amazing journey this mystery quilt has been, but that's a topic for another post. The best part has been the amount of fabric moved out of my scrap bins - I only spent about $10 on 10 fat-eighths to expand my selection of black. (but that was before I was counting stash)

Please excuse the lighting - it is almost evening and raining, so I had to turn on all the lights to get this shot.  I'm going to have it quilted by a long-armer, there are way too many seams for me to try and tackle it. I'll count the backing and binding separately for the Stash Report.

Bonnie estimated about 9.5 yards, her EQ plan estimated 17 yards, I think it was closer to about 13 yards or 12 metres. So that is what I'm busting out of here!

Used this Week: 12 metres
Used year to Date: 27 metres
Added this Week: 0
Added Year to Date: 7.6 metres
Net Used for 2012: -19.4 metres
I am so glad I discovered Bonnie Hunter and her method of managing scraps and her beautiful way of designing quilts from scraps.  I would never have expected a quilt made entirely of scraps spanning 30 years would be so beautiful! 

I've almost finished another quilt top this week, but it's not ready for counting yet.  Being snowed in has been great for sewing time, but not so great for work - I haven't been able to go for the whole week because there is a stretch of highway between where I live and where I work that has been treacherous with whiteout conditions or freezing rain most of the week.

But after a week of snow and wind, it started raining on Friday.  First we had freezing rain, and my car looked like this yesterday morning:

That ice is about 1/2" thick!

And rumour is our town has one snow plow.  I wouldn't know because it never did come down my street.  Here is what it looked like yesterday morning:

That is snow, ice and freezing rain coating the road.  But 24 hours can bring a huge change.  This is what I woke up to this morning, a bare driveway, a windshield that is clear, and I can see grass again!

By tomorrow, this week of storms will just be a memory.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Having given my New Year's Resolution some serious thoughts, I'm only 3 weeks late.  The last two years I chose a "Word of the Year", like many others on the internet blog circuit.  2010 was the year of "Joy" as in finding Joy in the little things of life and finding more Joy in my life.  2011 was the year of "Change" and 2012 is "Nuture".  I struggled to come with this word, I had considered organize, action, focus, family, relationships and other similar words, but at the end of it I realized I want to "nuture" all of the above: I want to nuture relationships with my family and friends, I want to nuture my own personal growth, health and well-being, I want to nuture better finances, home environment, and more.  So "NUTURE" it is!

To that end, I've come up with a few goals:

*Continue my weight loss journey (15 lbs last year)
*Host more family dinners
*Get back into my scrapbooking, starting with 2011 and work backwards until I get caught up
*Learn how to free-motion quilt
*Develop a routine for housekeeping and paying bills

Now to come up with an action plan!
The only thing I have done so far is join this!

Check out this great way to learn to free-motion quilt - link here!

Remember that picture I posted yesterday?  This is what my car looked like before I dug it out.  My son-in-law has since been over and cleared the rest of the driveway, just in time for the freezing rain to start. It's a skating rink out there tonight.

Want a funny?  I was cleaning out my phone pics and came across this - the Troll car - it was parked in a local shopping mall parking lot. (too bad it wasn't Walmart, I could send it in to People of Walmart!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I can only imagine what Western Washington and Seattle must look like, if we only got hit by the edge of this latest storm. It's been close to 20 years since I've seen snow like this!  Today is my third snow day and at this rate, I won't be going in the rest of the week.

My poor little bug was buried up to the top of the tires.  I managed to get it dug out, but got stuck in a snowdrift just a few feet down the road, so I managed to get back in my driveway and here I am staying til I see the last of this!    Just a few hours later, the snow had blown back in behind my car, trapping me for the next few days until the rain comes on Saturday.  I dread the thought of the flooding that will follow - mostly in the local farm areas.

The upside is that Jack Frost has made a visit!  Both of the following pictures are of my kitchen window - so drastically different from one side to the other:

I have never had frost on my windows since I moved here to BC as a teenager.  This reminds me so much of when I lived in Labrador - and so does the weather today!  It's -25C with the wind chill factor, and the winds are blowing at about 70 km/hr.  I wonder why I don't remember this bone-chilling cold of my earlier years, standing waiting for a school bus, when it was even colder there.

I've been holing up in my sewing room and got my Orca Bay quilt top put together to the point of the outer borders.  Here it is on the double bed  in the grandkids' room - reading a measured size is so much different seeing it in real life:

Pardon the lumps and bumps, but I didn't take the time to move the stuffies out of the way!  I think this quilt might have found it's home. 

I've also found the time to make a start on the Just Takes 2 blocks, I have finished Blocks 1-5 and have to review the tutorial on back-basting before I attempt Block 6.  Maybe I'll do that tomorrow, since it looks like it'll be another snow day.

Here's four of my blocks - still not crazy about the lack of contrast between the aqua and white but it will make a nice pillow in my living room.  I'm going to wait until I can order some Bella Christmas Red to start over.  I love the way the Bella fabrics handle and are soft to the touch, so my true Red and White quilt will be done with the red and Bleached White.

When I was doing the blocks, I realized the instructions primarily used individually-cut pieces.  After analyzing them, I realised some could be adapted to quicker methods.  The Ohio Star is exactly the same measurement as the ones I did in my Orca Bay quilt, so I pulled out Bonnie Hunter's instructions and used my Companion Angle to quickly piece this one together.  Faster and more accurate than individual pieces in my opinion. I also tackled the large block in a similar fashion, and wrote down my notes right on the block instructions of both so that I have them to refer to when I do my red and white quilt (and future ones I might do). Here's my notes on the Ohio Star.

I love this Ohio Star so much!  I've already got another quilt planned out using a printed panel of quotes about grandchildren. Now if I could only find it!

Here's a picture of it from the website Block Party Studios.  I bought it in a kit at a quilt shop in Sumas, WA with the pattern they list (because they didn't have any individual panels left), but I want to do mine using the Ohio Star.  The quotes are based on 5" blocks, so they would make 14" blocks, and the two top quotes measure at 2 1/2" x 10" so they could go into sashing or the inner border somehow. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Stash Report and Ocra Bay Update

This week I was a good girl and didn't acquire any more fabrics, but I didn't finish anything to count either.  My stats remain the same at:

Used this Week: 0 metres
Used year to Date: 15 metres
Added this Week: 
Added Year to Date: 7.6 metres
Net Used for 2012: -7.4 metres

I hope to have a big finish next week, as I wrap up my Orca Bay mystery quilt.

We had our first real snowfall this weekend and I took advantage of the freed-up time (from a meeting that was cancelled) to finish sewing the pieces of Orca Bay.  I had to finish the "birds" and then sew them to the red string blocks.  Imagine my surprise when I had too many birds left.  I recounted my red strings and I was 32 short!  I'm not sure how that happened - I must of been interrupted when I was cutting the paper bases.

Anyways, I got them finished this morning and after a visit from my grandson and his parents (dad came over to help me put new blinds up in the living room), I played with the layout on my living room floor, the only place big enough to do it.  Even so, I still misjudged its size and had to push furniture out of the way. As I was laying out the blocks, I was sort-of paying attention to the blocks to ensure no two fabrics are beside each other and I was amazed at the final result!  I didn't have to move a single piece - Bonnie is so right when she says it will all work together - the eye blends the colours together so beautifully.

Did anyone else have pieces left over?  I had two of these left, this one and a black version that I made a mistake on:

I couldn't leave them on the floor though.  If I left them out to go back and forth to the sewing machine, Daisy (my dog) would steal the pieces and hide them in her crate!  She stole one right from the bucket I had put them in to bring them upstairs before I even got started but left them alone while I was working on them.

Don't the pieces look wonderful piled in there?  I've done a pretty close estimate of the number of pieces I have sewn at 4,352.  I have another 420 to add when I put the border on. 

I'm going to try webbing the top Bonnie-Hunter fashion so I've stacked the blocks in columns and rows.  If I'm successful I'm going to do a more detailed tutorial because I'm still a little confused on how it works.

I'm finally making good use of these Fons & Porters pins I bought a few years ago.  I have modified them by adding numbers to the back:

I'm using the U (up) pins to make the tops of the columns and the column number; and R (Right or Row) to mark the row number as I stack.

Here's the beginning - wish me luck!

And just because, here are some updated pictures of the grandbabies.

Zoey helped me take down the Christmas decorations (well, played with the tissue).  I just love her Pebbles hairdo.

And Alex tried to make show angels today.  It was a little hard because there was ice on top of the snow.  We had everything yesterday, from snow to freezing rain to weird little mini-snowballs - I thought it was hail but it was funny puff-balls of snow.  There was even a funnel cloud spotted in Vancouver.  Today was beautiful and sunny, but more snow is on the way.

PS: Have you discovered the "Just Take 2" quilt-along yet?  Check out my previous post, about 3 paragraphs down for more infor. I've done the first 4 of 6 blocks, and 5 more were released today.  I did mine in aqua and white, but I not sure if I want to do a whole quilt in it.  It just doesn't have the punch of red & white, but that's another topic for a different day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekly update

Lately, I've been posting weekly updates thanks to Bonnie Hunter and her Orca Bay Mystery Quilt Link-Up.  It's been a great motivator to get things done, and it is the most progress I've made on a single quilt top since I took a class with Judy Niemeyer in 2008.  I finished that quilt flimsy in just 3 weeks, but it's still not quilted.

(I would love to have it custom-quilted, but it is out of the budget right now.  If (and that's a big IF) I can learn/improve my free-motion quilting skills, I might be tempted to tackle it, but that's not happening anytime soon.)

Since weekly updates worked so well, I'm going to commit to myself to at least update this blog weekly, with my progress on my latest projects.  I may try to participate in a few blog link-ups, such as Judy Laquidara's Sunday Stash report and Design Wall Mondays.  I really want to manage my stash better (i.e. quit accumulating and start using!) and I like the way Judy keeps track of hers.  She doesn't look at what she already has (good thing!) but only tracks what comes in and goes out.  She counts the yardage when a top is completed, when the quilt has been backed and quilted, and when the binding is added.  She also counts what has been gifted/donated/or otherwise what is disposed of.  The goal is to end the year with less than what you started with.  So my 2012 report to date (9 days in) looks like this:

Used this Week: 15 metres (approx. 15 metres given away to my sister and niece)
Used year to Date: 15 metres
Added this Week: 7.6 metres (5 metres fabric purchased for Zoey's big-bed quilt, 2.6 metres brought from New Zealand by my daughter)
Added Year to Date: 7.6 metres
Net Used for 2012: -7.4 metres

I'm also going to update my UFO (Un-Finished Objects) list and try to clear some of those up this year.  I'm already planning Christmas presents with some of those UFOs.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to have some ongoing projects.  I'm still working on my Hexie Madness and Farmer's Wife blocks, and I'm considering "Just Take Two"  by Gay of Sentimental Stitches and Brenda of Dear Jane fame. They are intended to be red and white blocks in honour of the Infinite Variety quilt show, a collection of red and white quilts collected by Mrs. Joanna S. Rose. I would have started by now, but I don't have any decent red in my stash, and can't decide if I'm going to buy some, or make it in aquas, chocolates and white to match my living room. I have lots of Sweetwater's Pure left from making a lap quilt earlier this past year, and some Bella Solid in Blue Raspberry to match so I'm leaning towards that (it sure would make a dent in my stash!). 

I'm looking forward to a good, progressive New Year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Orca Bay update.. or how I spent my New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve has never been a party night for me, unlike a lot of people.  As a teenager, I babysat as many kids as I could because it was good money.  As a young married woman, we hosted a party the first year we were married (2 weeks after the wedding) and we had a new baby the following year, so no parties after that.  Once I got divorced, parties were out of the question (and the budget).  As the kids got older, I would invite some single (or want-to-be single) girlfriends over to scrapbook but now that the kids are grown and married, I'm back to babysitting!!  Life is truly a circle!

Zoey at midnite

Although Zoey's mom and dad didn't have big plans, they did invite 2 couples over to play games and cards, so I offered to take Zoey overnight so they could have a sleep-in.  Funny thing is, she always sleeps in at my house and never wakes up before 7:45 (at home, she wakes up about 6:30).  My daughter keeps asking for my secret, but I don't what it is - just that both my grandkids have always slept well here.

After putting my little sweetie to bed at 7 p.m., I heading to my sewing room for some Orca Bay sewing. I made good headway on those red strings and created a nice mess.

 Before I went upstairs to check on Zoey and welcome her into the New Year with a kiss (my secret tradition with every child I've been with on this special evening), I played with my Orca Bay pieces. 

I did have the white block surrounded in the same way, but....

Imagine my surprise when I checked my blog list at 12:03 a.m. my time.  Bonnie had surprised everyone with an early reveal!  I was so close on my guess - if only I had figured how those white blocks fit in!

So I played some more!  My design wall is too small to hold the full width but I'm liking it!  My goal is the top put together by the next Monday link-up.  Wish me luck!