Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year to All!

Each year I get to this day, the last day of the year, and I wonder where did the year go?  I thought as I aged I would have more time each day.  Instead, time just seems to fly by faster each year.  Have you heard people who retired say, "I don't know how I had time to work".  That is now what I am saying.  I have been retired from the State of Illinois for 3.5 years. 
So I looked back through my pictures and here is my year in review, not in chronological order.
In March, one of my bucket list wishes came true.  My Easy Street Quilt, pattern by Bonnie Hunter, was juried into the Rosemont Show in Chicago.  I also had the honor of working for Sew Batiks in their vendor booth at the show.  My friends and I took a bus trip up to the show on the last day
Pointing out some of the secret message blocks hidden in the quilt. 
After loosing my Yorkie, Rascal in October 2014, I was heartbroken.  My son and I picked out a new Yorkie puppy in May, 2015.  Meet Tucker, who is now 9 months old and weighs only 3 lbs.  Your literally can tuck him under your arm and carry him around. 
 In June, my husband and I celebrated 28 years of marriage and spent a week in LasVegas!
We had a blast trying out some of the many restaurants. 
Harry Potter, my Australian Shepherd,  were invited to participate in a reading program at the Tiskilwa Library.  
My friends and I made a trip to Shipshewana, Indiana for their annual quilt show.  We participated in a shop hop before the show started.  I got buried in fabric at Lollies' in the basement at their "fabric" happy hour! 
A quick pose with the girls after a long day of shopping and the quilt show.
My husband and his horse, Hoot.  We placed Hoot with another family this year.  He is so loved by his new family and we follow him on facebook.  I miss having a horse, but I haven't missed the chores this winter. 
Now for the best thing I ever made!!!
This is my son, Aaron.  Four years ago he joined in partnership, creating 815 Productions.  They are a DJ and lighting company.  I love this picture of him inside our local Red Covered Bridge during a wedding photo session.
This fall my husband left his career with Coca Cola after 24.5 years.  It was a difficult decision but he is very happy with his new career at Marquis Energy.  My retirement has paid off, as I have taken on more at home so Rod can work a swing-shift and get enough sleep.  If I still worked, we would see very little of each other.  My quilting business in our home is the right fit for our schedules.
Below, we were able to attend our friend's son's wedding on October 31st.  I love this picture of us. 
From my family to yours, have a happy and safe New Year's Eve!
Yours in quilting,

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Design Wall

Good Morning!  What a Monday morning we are having here in Illinois!  Freezing rain is falling along with winds gusting to 40 miles an hour.  As I sit here at my kitchen island looking out the back door, ice is forming on the deck and wire fencing.  The weatherman is predicting 1/4" to 1/2" of ice coating forming on everything.  I am just praying that we don't loose power.  We may also receive about an inch of snow.  We are spoiled here as we have had a pretty mild winter to this point.

Yesterday we had a quiet day at home after having a large Christmas gathering here on Christmas Day.  We served about 14 family and friends dinner and later played dominoes.

After getting home from church yesterday, I spent the day cutting fabric for Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt, Allietare.  You can find the free pattern and directions HERE.  I worked on cutting the 296 half-square triangles for Clue #1 using the constant grey and neutrals.
 As I am cutting the neutrals, I was also cutting the 2" x 4 1/2" rectangles for Clue#2 and the 3 1/2" x 7 1/2" rectangles for Clue #3.  Some of the neutrals I pulled out to use were less than a fat quarter of fabric.  After cutting the above units, if there was any fabric leftover, I cut it up to fit my storage system, i.e. odd size strips go in the string bin,  2" square, 1 1/2" squares and crumbs.
I am really excited to be using up some of the fabric and not returning it to my drawers.  First of all, its exciting to have stash that you can pull from (its taken a long time to get to this point).  Second, I like when I use up a piece of fabric (makes room to go shopping).  Third, I have enjoyed seeing the wide selection of neutrals I have been collecting.  I try to be frugal when shopping and only by fabric with a purpose to go with a specific pattern or project.  Neutrals are my one "freebie" when shopping.  This means, I allow myself to always myself to shop for neutrals without guilt.
My sewing/texting buddy, Cathy and I have agreed to work on this Mystery quilt together.  We have swapped fabrics.  She also helped me out by giving me the constant grey for the project as a Christmas present.  She was traveling and visiting her daughters out West and was shop hopping.  I was so excited about receiving the fabric as I was being a good girl, staying home and finishing customer quilts.  She is farther along than I am on the quilt but its not a race.  I want to enjoy the experience.  My goal it to have the clues cut out before going to a quilting weekend on January 15th.  My plan is to quilt on customer quilts during the day and work on cutting in the evenings.  Yesterday I made great progress.  The advantage of being behind, I have all the clues printed and can cut all the neutrals at once for each clue.  I don't think I have ever cut a whole quilt out before starting to sew. 
Have a marvelous Monday!  Be safe out there as you travel in this wintery mix of weather.
Yours in quilting,

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Finishes - Eye Candy Friday

I am getting my whoop on today!  Doing the Happy Dance!  I have completed all the quilting on quilts for Christmas.  The last one goes home this afternoon.  So let's see those pictures, please.....
First up, is a baby quilt with dimensional geese.  The customer requested all over stippling.  She had been turned down by several longarmers as their hopping feet would get caught in the flying geese.  I knew the Glide foot would float right over the edges of the dimensional geese, so I said yes to quilting it.
The video doesn't work below, but it gives a view of the Glide foot that is cupped so there is nothing to catch on quilt as it is stitched.  The picture also gives a better view of the dimensional geese.
My wonderful hubby is the official quilt holder.
Second is this lovely modern quilt by Bekah. 
 I really like her color choices.
This is Bekah's mother's Christmas quilt.  Mom just recovered from breast cancer so they are having a very blessed Christmas.
Below is the last quilt to go home for the Christmas season.  This lovely quilt will be keeping Sylvia's granddaughter warm.
A view of the texture on the back.
The thread is Omni Mulberry. 
The quilting pattern is Ginger Snap by Apricot Moon, purchased through Intelligent Quilting. 
Below is the best quilt I have worked on all year.  It is the second totally custom quilted quilt I have done.  This year Handi Quilter released an update to their Pro Stitcher software and I had to learn to run my machine all over again.  After working with the program through the summer and early fall, I loaded this quilt and worked on it for six weeks.
Threads used on this quilt were Signature Graystone (in gray areas), Omni Cream and Omni Banana. 
Thank you to my customer, Anita, for her patience.  Anita has been such a blessing to my longarm business.  She has gently pushed me to keep trying out my skills on her quilts.  Also, I received long distance assistance from Elaine Gilmore in Georgia and Melissa Kruschwitz in Florida. Elaine is the Handi Quilter National Educator that trained me to use the new Pro Stitcher update as well as providing on-going support.  Melissa took the layout of the bottom border that I sent to her by email, put it in Art N Stitch and connected the corners and emailed it back.  I will be taking some online training with Melissa in the near future to learn how to manipulate the patterns and layout a whole quilt on the computer before stitching.  My goal for 2016 will be learning Art N Stitch to improve and expand my quilting skills.
Enjoy your weekend and do your happy dance!
Yours in quilting,

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday Tips - Take a Break from your Stress

I know we are all busy decorating, shopping, and preparing for Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanza, etc.
Most of us are so busy taking care of arrangements, baking, parties, shopping, etc. that we rarely take time for ourselves.  To help manage your stress, I recommend you take a few minutes for yourself each day.  Just a 15 minute break just for you! 
1.  For example, one morning I took 15 minutes to give myself a simple pedicure. 
2.  Another day, I stopped quilting for others and took a 15 minute break to sew a few quilt pieces together.  Piecing is my favorite stress reliever.
3.  Another time, I took a break and cut a few pieces for Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt, Alletaire!
Each one of you are very important and I want you to take time to pamper yourself a little.  I hope this will relieve some of your stress and put a smile back on your face.
I found this picture on Facebook.  It shows the different types of Singer bobbins.  If you are interested in vintage machines, this might be of some help. 
Have a terrific Tuesday!
Yours in quilting,

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Finishes-Bello! Minions

This week I am excited to show you two finishes but only one picture.  I finished matching Minion quilts.  They are identical so I am only posting pictures of one.  They are good sized measuring 73 1/2" x 79".
 I used Bananna Omni Thread and Frisky Feathers pattern. 
They go home at 9am this morning.  I am down to three more quilts before Christmas.  My goal will be to post all three of those next Friday.
We have had some beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the last couple of days.  This was yesterday's sunrise out my back door. 
I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend.  We have had a house fire down the street and two bad car accidents that have killed young mothers leaving behind young children.  Remember each day is a gift.  Tell your loved ones how much you love them!  Life is precious. When I hear stories like this, I wish I had a pile of quilts that I could walk over to and pull out a quilt to give each child that just lost their mother.
Yours in quilting,

Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Finishes

A couple of weeks ago had a few sew days with my "quilty" friends from Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin.  Betty J. couldn't be with us but she sent 4 charity quilts.
Below is my favorite of the four.  It is a cheater panel that looks like blue work.
Its adorable! 
Below, is my little pony and Betty has made several of these.
There are some very lucky children who will get these wonderful quilts. 
Kathy D. and Barb O. are patiently waiting for the distribution of the
mystery project parts, below. 
Below, is my mystery project.  I made to tablerunners,
one large and one small.  I chose my border fabric and will
add it later. 
Below, is Barb O. finished top.
Isn't is unique! 
While we were sewing up a storm,
we had our first snow storm outside.
About 6 inches fell overnight.     
    Everyone posing for a selfie with me.
Kathy C. was working on these make-up bags for Christmas.
This is the Quilt of Valor that I was working on. 
Wanda S. was working on this baby quilt. 
Carol O. was working in this Little Red Button quilt. 
Carol O was also working on Row by Row blocks. 
Tammy has been working on this wedding quilt at the
last two sewing days. 
Tammy used Pimga pens to transfer information about the wedding,
guest's wishes, and on the back the wedding vows written by
husband and wife.   
Mary was working on this Quilt of Valor for her husband. 
Susie was very busy back in her corner. 
Have a great weekend and hope you have a productive weekend.   
Yours in quilting,