Friday, June 24, 2011

Yay for Friday!

It’s Friday! Yay for Friday! This week I didn’t do any sewing, boo. It’s been too hot. The only thing I’ve done is lay on the couch slurping popsicles and swaying in time with the fan! We finally broke down and turned on the air conditioner. Now our house is much cooler and I’ve found my energy.

I cleaned the house last night. Bathrooms, floors, even cleared the breakfast bar and dining room table of all paperwork. Then I still felt like cleaning and decided to tackle my sewing room. It’s pretty again! I can go in and not feel oppressed and hot and lazy. Now when I walk in I feel energized and renewed. I still need to organize it better, but at least everything is off the floor and off my desk. Before, the room looked like a thread and paper factory had exploded.

I also finally washed my First Quilt. I have to admit I was so scared to wash it. I had this paranoid thought that as soon as I washed it the quilting would start unraveling. I was kinda right! The quilting came out fine, but one square completely fell apart at the seams. I don’t know what happened. The rest of the quilt is fine except for that one square. Were the seams too scant?

How do I fix it? Topstitch? Quilt in the ditch around that one square?

Thearica at Pigtales and Quilts is hosting a new UFO link party. Beginning July 1st, every Friday night Thearica will post a link page where you can link up. The plan is work on your UFO that weekend and blog about it before Monday morning. Thearica will be giving prizes too! Come play with us!

This works in my master plan perfectly. Now that I’m more or less caught up on my BOMs, I will be using the weekends to work on my UFOs. And Friday nights are wide open now! I’ll reserve the weekdays for my BOMs and other current projects. It feels so good to have a plan!
This weekend is my county fair. The local guild is having a Quilt Show in the fairgrounds. I’m so super jazzed to go! I can’t wait to check out some local talent. Yay for Friday!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lots-O-Fun in Blogland

Linda from Stray Stitches is hosting a giveaway. She is giving away a Hens and Chicks Table Runner kit from Connecting Threads. In case you’ve been blogging under a rock, Linda writes a great blog every weekday that highlights quilty giveaways, interesting facts of the day, and her infamous Final Thought. It’s a great blog that has been one of my favorites since I began blogging. Check it out, and then become a follower because Linda is awesome!

Shawna from 1 Choice 4 Quilting is also hosting a giveaway. She’s giving away a Fat Quarter Bundle of 16 fabrics of Strawberry Fields plus 2 yards of matching Bella Solids. And…she’s offering 20% off everything in her store! Swing by to enter the giveaway and stay for some fabric discounts!

Would you like to win a quilt book? I love quilting books. I think I have more books than I do fabric! It’s sickening, really, but I can’t help it. Jeanette from Inch Worm Fabrics is hosting a book giveaway! Jeanette has a lot of giveaways on her blog and has some fun stuff in her store.

Anna Lena from Anna Lena Land is hosting a Bow Tie Block Challenge. The goal is to make 1 block every day beginning on the first day of summer (yesterday!). At the end of Summer you will have 95 bowtie blocks! I’ve been debating with myself if I should jump in with both feet or just dip a toe in. I don’t know, I’m wishy-washy. I have a bunch of old shirts that might make cute bowties. Do you want to do it with me? Anna Lena has instructions for 6 or 3 inch blocks on her blog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

FNSI results and Giveaway at Green Fairy

FNSI was a success! I started with a small snag. My sewing machine wouldn't work right! The top thread was showing through to the bottom. I checked the tension. I had it all the way down to 1 and then realized it was not my sewing machine. It was my thread! I was using some donated thread that was cotton wrapped polyester and my machine hated it! It wouldn't even wind right on the bobbin. Has this ever happened to you?

So I switched threads and moved on. At first I used the same quilting technique for my Rehab Quilt, which is pinning paper to the fabric and sewing on the lines. After doing one, and all the chaos over the thread, I was over it and just wanted to quilt! So I just tried FMQ with no marking! I think it turned out rather well! I quilted a leaf vine in the borders, I free-handed some stars in the cornerstones and then free-handed some posey patterns in the charm squares.

Not bad, huh? I'm pretty impressed. Especially since I can't draw at all. I am improving though!

I wish I had time to work on it today, but it's my nephew's first birthday, then hanging out with our best friend tonight, then Father's Day BBQ with the fam tomorrow! I'm trying to type this super fast!

Look who joined me for FNSI

Normally, these guys are not allowed to lay on my fabric, but they looked so happy and sweet, I let them hang out with me!

Check out this giveaway at Green Fairy Quilts! Judi is giving away a Holly Jolly FAT QUARTER BUNDLE by Riley Blake Designs!! How awesome! She is also offering 25% off all her fat quarter bundles. Her prices are so low to begin with, so check it out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Today is FNSI!

I’m so excited. This week I’ve been working on catching up on my Jewel in the Crown BOMs. I did Block 2

And Block 5

I am now officially caught up! Yay! Just in time too, because I think Reeze is going to be releasing two blocks per month pretty soon. I am totally loving this quilt. It’s so much easier to sew when you follow Reeze’s instructions! I am hoping she will post instructions to the setting triangles soon so we can start on those. I need to buy more batiks too, because I am running out!

That means I am caught up on half of my BOM projects. I’m still behind in the Civil War quilt along, although there is no stress. This week coming up I’ll work on catching up on my Boot Bash BOM.

Tonight, though, I will be quilting on my Bliss Quilt. I really love this quilt. I made it to take to work so it fits perfectly on my lap without making it look like I’m sleeping on the job. I have my thread picked out, a rough idea of what I am going to quilt and my quilt sandwich. I brought it to work today so I can let it my quilting plan germinate in my head. Hopefully by tonight it will sprout a fully-grown plan!

So get your comfy shorts on, pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s sew together!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FNSI and check out this giveaway!

Last Friday was our last softball game of the year. Do you know what that means? That’s right, Friday Night Sew In! Woo-hoo, I can finally play again! Come play with me! Sign-up here. I’ll be in my sewing room, watching the new Bachelorette, in my short-shorts I only wear around the house, drinking wine and playing with fabric. Doesn’t get any better than that!

Here’s some photos for my Photo Fun month:
My lover, my sweet husband, love of my life, my hunky huzzy:

And my Hello Kitty ring. I got it from a birthday cupcake. It reminds me of childhood.

And check out Talin’s Corner for a GO! Die give-away. I love my GO! And try to use it whenever possible. It makes life so much easier! Hurry over to enter!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Camping and some more photo fun

Gratuitious Fruit Shot

Happy Monday! We had a great weekend, our last softball game followed by camping by the river! No quilting. I really need to get some hand projects together for summer traveling and camping. We got to test our huge new tent: it sleeps 8 people!

We cooked some delicous food over the campfire. I try to do all my cooking over the fire when camping. The menu: rosemary chicken, rosemary-garlic new red potates, corn on the cob.

Later we popped some popcorn over the fire and threw in some Pineapple Upside Down cakes. The food is one of my favorite parts about camping!

We fed this guy some of our chips. We also saw a butterfly, a centipede and an all-white moth who landed on our friend's finger.

We sat by the river and waved to all the rafters. We each got a small sunburn.

Then it was time to come home and get back to work, which is where I'm AT right this second. And should probably be DOING right this second. I'll be back tomorrow!

This post is linked with 30 Day Photo Fun Come and join!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thanks Bess!

I got something fun in the mail! I won a prize from Bess over at James and Bess: Random Thoughts. They have the cutest kids over there! Bess posts mainly on family stuff but likes to sneak in some crafty projects. This is what she snuck to me:

A darling ruffle clutch and a checkbook cover!

I love this fabric! It’s a feminine, fun green. The clutch is the perfect size for me: I can fit my Moda wallet (which is really a change purse, but I call it my wallet) and my camera and my camera cord. That’s everything I carry with me on a regular basis. Besides my iPhone, of course, but that’s normally in my hand at all times!

The checkbook cover is fabulous too. I can never find my checkbook because I use the boring blue cover that it came with. I swear, my eyes just glaze right over it. Not anymore! Now it stands out and shouts “Use me! Use me!”

Thanks so much Bess!

My picture of the day: High Angle. This is taken from my office. I work on the 14th floor in downtown Sacramento, just a few blocks from the Capital building. My husband is down there waving Hi to you!

And for tomorrow's picture: Sunset. Uh...small problem. I go to bed at 8:30 at night, and it's still light out! so I thought I'd take a picture of sunrise instead. Of course, today the sun didn't rise. It just snuck quietly behind some clouds. So my picture is "Sunrise Time in the Park" (aprox 5:50am)

And "Sunrise Time in the Park at a High Angle" aprox (6am)

What a difference in light that 10 minutes make!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's not all Black and White

I've been catching up on my Black and White Delight BOM blocks.
I really like this one!

These blocks are so easy to make! Easy to cut, easy to sew. They finish at about 12.5 inches. Normally, I would scoff at such an easy pattern, big pieces and easy blocks are not my "thing." But after working on Civil War Quilt blocks and Jewel in the Crown blocks and my awesome Boot Bash blocks, it's nice to work on something that comes together quickly.

I'm really glad I chose green for the accent color too. I only chose green because I had just bought a bunch of Fat Quarters to make scrappy leaves (which didn't happen). It's not a favorite color of mine, but I love it in this quilt. This quilt is just growing on me!

Picture of the Day: My big stack of library books and my handsome husband (he's not really that fat, just looks weird in this photo :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Boot Bashing

Yesterday I mentioned how I've been working on cathing up with my BOM's. Here are my super-cute Boot Bash blocks:

I used the satin stitch on this one. I don't know why I always think satin stitch is so hard. I am afraid of it. But whenever I do satin stitch I always think: "That wasn't so hard!"

This one I tried a blanket stitch. I think I was very successful!

I am totally loving this BOM. I can't wait to see the finished quilt!

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Own Worst Enemy

Since the FMQ Challenge has ended, I have focused on catching up on my BOM's. I had a list of 12 in January. Some I actually tried and abandoned. Others never got past the "maybe" stage. Now I have 5 actual BOM's that are active. Two others are still in the dreaming stage; I may get around to them this year!

This week and on the week-end I really knuckled down and got some Jewel in the Crown blocks done. I am paper-piecing all these blocks.

Do you ever feel like YOU are your own worst enemy? I sure do! I print out the foundation and then think: "Oh, that's weird. Why did she draw all these as seperate pieces. That's silly! I will skip a few steps by taping all these pieces of paper together." Did I stop to think that Reeze Hanson is a very talented and experienced pattern designer and she knows more than I do? No! I just went ahead and taped all those pieces together. Then I struggled over five days to work on one block. Argh.

I had to put this block down several times. It was emotionally exhausting. But lesson learned! One thing about me as a person: I always try to take the morale of the story. I try to learn from my mistakes. It's something I'm very conscious about.

Unfortunatley, I had already taped another block together. This one looked much easier so I just jumped right in.

I'm laughing at myself right now. One good thing that came out of this: I got pretty good at mitering corners! Silly me.

This one I think should have more contrast. But oh well! Today I printed and (didn't tape!) prepped the other two blocks. Two more and I will be caught up! I'm running low on batiks so...I'm hitting the fabric store today! Yay! The real one, not Joann's (sorry Joann! Love you!). I haven't been in so long, it will be nice to visit again!

Hands and Paws

My husband and I are hand-holders. I know, cute, right?! We hold hands when we walk down the street, when we sit next to each other on the bus, and even when we fall asleep at night.

Gratuitous ring shot.

My husband has very large hands and they always make me feel safe. My cat Azrael also has very large hands and I'm quite scared of his paws.

Yikes, look at those claws!

I swear, you've never seen a cat with paws like his. He's built like a football player. Azrael weighs 17 lbs and still looks lean. Compared to his brother from the same litter, he looks like a Saber Tooth Tiger.

And my favorite hands-photo, from our wedding this summer

I love that you can still see some playa dust on our hands.

Photo Fun in June~Come join the party!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Working Hard

Abby over at The Feathered Nest is hosting a Photo Fun Party! Since my photos need much work, I thought this would be a great way to practice. Of course, in typical Jen-fashion, I am in no way prepared. So here's my self portrait of me at work:

Just monkeying around

What do I do for my job? I'm a CA state worker. That means I wear tennis shoes to work

and walk around downtown Sacramento for lunch and ride the bus from the suburbs. Currently I am taking self-portraits and posting them on my blog. Normally I do this:

Early in the morning though I do this:

That's it for today, I'm off in 10 minutes and I can't get outta here fast enough!