The Unforgiven

Remember this back in April?

Yeah, I totally take back the "almost forgive" part and change it to "definitely do NOT forgive".

She killed our 3 year old Elm Tree. 

Well, just the top half.  But the arborist says it will only grow sideways now and really should come out.



Mystery Block of the Month

Here's my Block #4 from the Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery BOM - (my first BOM EVER).  So far, so good. 

Now I'm all caught up.  Yay!  Hurry up Block #5 and please show up in my mailbox soon ... I need to make you!

Today's confessional:  thanks to this block, I've decided to change the border fabric that came with the finishing kit from a taupe/red floral to this delicious pink strawberry print.  What?  Me change a pattern?  In favor of pink?  I know.   I should warn you to sit down before springing something like that on you ... ;)

This block was designed by the super talented Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.  Of all the quilts I've made in my lifetime (over 200 so far) one of my favorites is this ...

"All Things Christmas" is a beautiful quilt made with a fun combination of piecing, applique and a little bit of embroidery & sweet embellishments like ribbons & buttons ... all framed with an elegantly scalloped border.  Home run, in my opinion. :)

In fact, this very quilt is responsible for all this fabric winding up in my stash!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my fellow Canadians!


Puzzles - Quilting Style

As a mom, I think doing puzzles is very good exercise for growing brains.  When I was a kid, I loved doing puzzles.  It was one of a VERY few things I was better at than my big sister.  Which is probably why I liked doing them ...  ;)

So naturally, I encourage my girls to do things that are good for them but that I also like to do. 

Now, I'm trying not to force quilting on them.  I don't want them to hate it because I made them do it.  But if I can figure out how to trick them into doing something educational while wrapping it up in a pretty package full of fun, I will.

That's right, I'm sneaky.  I'll admit it. 

Here's my latest triumph.

Math puzzles.

Cleverly disguised as last week's FW blocks.

Can't believe I didn't think of this earlier!

Oh, and did I mention they both had so much fun they're BEGGING me to cut more blocks?!  Mwah ah ah ah ... some things about parenting you just can't put a price tag on!

The only downside to this whole exercise?  Watching them man-handle the triangles.

Bias cut edges should be respected.

And feared.


Daisychain Sampler "B"

At the risk of being rude, I didn't like this letter ... at first.  Lemme 'splain.

Compared to all the other letters in this alphabet sampler - which I would describe as romantic, feminine, antique, etc. - B just sorta looked out of place to me. 

I didn't get it - which is not altogether unusual.  I often arrive late to the party.

I just kept thinking about this movie from 1980.

Now don't get me wrong.  I have a VERY strong sentimental attachment to Xanadu - or more specifically the soundtrack.  LOVE ELO!  You can go ahead and make fun of me.  I don't mind.  It will just make me feel sorry for you that you can't appreciate the total awesomeness of this song.


But back to the letter ... it just didn't say Daisychain Sampler to me.  I even contemplated coming up with a different design.

Then suddenly the heavens opened and I had a moment of clarity.  It's not electric disco, you doofus who still spends WAY too much time in the 80s, it's CLASSIC ART DECO ... as in the Chrysler Building!

Just gotta spin it for myself sometimes and then I'm all good. :)

How do you like me now?  Darlin' I like you just fine.  ;)

Again, pattern available here and COSMO floss available here ... just sayin'.

And now I'm going to hit replay on that video like 10 more times and sing & dance in ways that make my husband so embarrassed to admit he knows me, let alone married me.


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week #19

Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue & White

#7 Birds in the Air

I think I want to marry this block.  Seriously.  If I didn't hate triangles so much I'd make a giant king-sized quilt with this exact block repeated over & over & over ...


# 18 Century of Progress

Ok.  The fabric placement in the book for this block TOTALLY drove me banana-nuts-crazy. 

I mean, I get random, deliberate mistakes and even symbolism (I think I read on the Flickr Group that this block has something to do with a Ferris Wheel), but I usually crave symmetry.  And this block just looked like ... like ... well, like someone should stop messing around and fix it already!  So that's what I did for mine. 

And I'm not the only one with this problem 'cause I've seen LOTS of FWQALers alter this block too.  I consider myself to be in good company here. :)

So with all due respect to the very lovely person who designed this block, here's my "century" that progressed to "symmetry".


Mini-Series Monday #3

Tee hee!  Isn't this just the cutest little block EVER?

She's 1-3/4".  Unfinished.

I love this "quiltlet" version if Sweet Pea - 15" square.  It just might be my favorite ...

... scalloped edge and all!

Here's the big version.  Both were made with scraps from my unruly scrap bin.

I did have a little oopsies with this one, though.

Kay.  You know how you need to clean your iron sometimes?  (I use a lot of fusible batting & fusible interfacing so my iron gets gummed up regularly.) 

But you never remember it's dirty until AFTER you've turned it on and it's hot.  So you tell yourself you'll clean it when it cools down and you go ahead and use it ... 'cause, you know ... you hate waiting.  And then forget to clean it later.  Vicious cycle ensues and the iron gets dirtier and dirtier.

Yeah.  That's what happened here.  And I paid for it ... dearly.  See the ugly black marks on the ribbon?  They look worse in real life.


But I'm also a scrapbooker.  And scrapbookers know "there are no mistakes, only opportunities for embellishing."  Ladies, am I right? 

Lucky me, this quilt includes a sweet little bow detail.  And it just so happens to hide (most of) the stain.

Yay!  (But if you're familiar with this pattern, just you never mind that the bow is supposed to be on the OTHER side.  It took me a while to come to terms with this ... necessary modification.)

And check out the itty-bitty FMQ flowers!

Eeeep! :)  AND I have a clean iron now too ... for a few days.

Teaser ...


Repentant Quilter

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. 

I've never participated in a Block of the Month Club.  Ever.  In 25 years of quilting.  Can you believe that?

I've watched many a BOM Club project unfold - from a safe distance.  Some even start out promising.  Really promising.  But just when I think I'll jump onboard, a super ugly block and/or fabric shows up and I turn and run for the hills, thanking my lucky stars that I escaped unharmed.  I chalk it up to an (un)healthy dose of "perfectionism" (or control-freak-ism ... whichever you prefer.  I'll admit to both). 

I started one once - about 15 years ago.  The first block had a white background.  But then the next one had a cream background.  Couldn't do it.  So I quit.

If I'm gonna spend that much time on a quilt, I want to like it when it's done.  I don't want to make (yet another) quilt I can't stand and then end up giving it to my brother who lives in a cabin in the woods ... where no one who knows me will see it.  Ever.  Because it's so ugly. 

(No, he's not the unabomber.  He owns a ski lodge/touring company for extreme skiiers.  And his "cabin" is a pretty nice lodge ... )

See, I've long referred to myself as a "Line Whore" - meaning I'm most comfortable making quilts with fabrics that are all from the same designer/collection.

I know, I know.  Some quilters think that's a lazy/boring way to sew.  I understand.  And I deeply respect those who can throw fabrics from here and there and everywhere into a quilt and have it be the most stunning thing EVER.  I envy that skill.  But I can't help it.  I've just made too many costly mistakes and I'm very gun shy about experimenting.

Told ya ... perfectionism at its worst.  :(

Well, I finally found a BOM - "Mystery" no less - that I'm excited to do.  It uses a TO-DIE-FOR fabric line ...

I mean, come ON.  HOW can you NOT love Strawberry Fields by Fig Tree

And with blocks designed by super awesomely nice & talented ladies like these?

Can't go wrong. :)

This Club started in June but I'm a little behind because I entered my address wrong when I signed up online (graying hair strikes again!) with the Fat Quarter Shop and ... long story short, I got my first block & finishing kit 3 months late. 


And the ladies at Fat Quarter Shop were so nice about it too.  (Thank you, Cheryl!)  :)

The best thing about this BOM for me?  I joined with a friend of mine.  We got together a few days ago to play catch up.  She was nice and waited for my stuff to arrive in the mail. 

I have good friends. ;)

Oh, and the OTHER best thing about this project?  We split a fat quarter bundle ... in case we screw up. 

Any excuse to buy more fabric, right?!  (Although it's possible I threatened her into the joint purchase). 

But I'm finding that the fabric provided in the monthly kits seem to be VERY generous so we probably didn't really NEED the extra fabric.  (Since when did I ever worry about NEED?) tee hee

Block #1 - by Bonnie of Cotton Way & Camille of Thimbleblossoms

Block #2 by Pam of Heartspun Quilts

Block #3 by Carrie of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

These blocks were fun to make ... but at 12" they are positively GINORMOUS next to all my little 4.5" FWQAL blocks!


Sunkissed Circle Case

Ok.  I really did have fun making this cute little pouch.   And wowzers you guys!  Okay!  I'll write up a tutorial for this free Moda pattern I showed you last week.  Hopefully I'll have it ready for some time next week.  Kay?

My original plan was to make the same pattern three times using these mini charm packs - one for me and one for each of my daughters.

But I changed my mind because ... well ... I just thought it would be a little more interesting for you AND me if I came up with different designs using these squares instead of making the exact same thing over again. 

(And just as an aside, Sherri posted a tutorial for a drawstring gift bag yesterday using these little charm packs!  It's a great project.)

So for today I decided to make my own little round pencil case design (see it here and here).  Thought it might look cute made with squares.

Here's what happened.

The layout.  I had the perfect hot pink fabric from Lakehouse (few years old) in my stash for the zipper binding to coordinate with the super cute "Sunkissed" fabric by Sweetwater for Moda.

The mini charm pack came with 42 squares and I only needed 25 for the body.  So to use up even more squares, I pieced the ends.  LOVE how they look!

Yes, I cross-hatched.  I thought it was so perfect for the checkerboard!  And I used a sunshiny-yellow thread.

Always have to make the inside pretty (Robert Kaufmann upholstery scrap).

And, of course, a little zipper pull too.

My 8 year old has claimed this for ... what else ... ?

Princess Pencils!

PS:  I can't even TELL you how happy I was to find that three of her pencils had erasers in colors that match the fabric EXACTLY ... ! 

Love it when a photo-op comes together :)


Daisychain Sampler "A"

I thought I'd start today by talking about how I transfer embroidery designs onto cotton fabric.  Please note there are different tools and techniques out there.  I'm just sharing MY preferred method.

I stayed away from embroidery for many years (decades?) because I didn't like the printed or marked drawing to show underneath my stitches.  It bugged me.  (It's a thing.) 

So I stuck with counted cross-stitch.  I think you could wrap the earth a few times with the amount of embroidery floss I've cross-stitched!  Seriously.  I would cross-stitch on a bench in a shopping mall downtown during my lunch hours in my teens & 20s (& 30s).  (Yes, I'm that nerdy!)

And now as a mom, I'm often spotted stitching while my girls are at their extra-curricular activites.  (Although a friend informed me that toting my needlework around in a large wicker basket was going a little overboard ... just because I WATCHED "Little House on the Prairie" on tv as a kid doesn't mean I need to RE-ENACT it as an adult.)

But a few years ago I was introduced to these PERMANENT pens.  Pigma Micron pens.  They come in assorted colors and "fine-ness-es".

Yes I know, the word 'permanent' gives some of you a case of the vapors just thinking about it.  It did me for years too.  But then I did something else.   I started tracing my designs using tiny dots instead of solid lines.  Now I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for eyes that don't cooperate all the time (I can always tell if I need a new prescription for my eyeglasses when I embroider.)  And it doesn't always work depending on the color/design of your fabric & threads, etc.  But I usually stitch on white or light cotton and my markings are (almost) always totally invisible.  I'll show you as I go along.

Now to Letter A.

Ok.  You know that scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when they remove the ceiling tile from that tomb and Indiana Jones rolls onto his back and says "Snakes ... why'd it have to be snakes?" 

Well, that's kinda how I feel about this letter.  Only instead of snakes it's "Satin stitch ... why'd it have to be satin stitch?"  I've never gotten along well with the satin stitch.  I mean, it's gorgeous and all.  But it takes me too much time to make it look really nice.  Other stitches you can kinda fudge a bit and not be quite so exact and your work still looks good.  But satin stitch?  No can do.

I'm not in the mood right now to tackle it.  So I'm just doing the chain stitch part of this letter and skipping the rest for now.  I'll come back later ...

If you feel like joining the dark side, the pattern is available here.

And I got a few requests to share the floss colors I'm using so here they are (COSMO brand, available here):

103A, 104, 105, 2105, 2251, 252, 683, 684, 533, 534, 535, 142, 143, 144A, 368, 714

And my fabric is ... well, in the picture just up there. ;)  It's a Moda 3 Sisters print from the "Simplicity" line.  It's a few years old and probably difficult to find in stores (just sayin').  But any white, light cream or something light with a subtle print (like mine) will work with the floss colors I'm using.


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 18

Yellow & Blue

Yep.  More yellow. :)

#15 Buzzard's Roost

I think of one thing and one thing only when I hear the word "Buzzards" ... dating my husband. 

No, it's not like THAT.  He wasn't some half-dead carcass I was circling.  We started dating in high school ... well, HE was still in high school ... I was in University.  That's right, I got me a younger man. ;)  But I've always looked really young for my age and people used to think he was dating "jail-bait".  Tee hee!

In fact, when we went out for our 15th wedding anniversary earlier this year, I ordered a beer and was asked to produce my ID!  It's been years since I stopped taking my wallet when I go out with him.  (He never lets me drive when he's in the vehicle ... can't really blame him, can you?)  But the waitress actually sent the manager over to make sure I was "legal".  For the love of all things holy, there's just NO WAY I look under 21 - hair color can only work so much magic.  It was kinda nice, though. :)

Anyhow, the point - that has taken me 2 paragraphs to get to - is that one of our favorite places to go when we were dating was a pub called "Buzzards".  Good times. :)

#12 Broken Sugar Bowl

I gotta use more of this blue!  It's tricky because this print is a rather large scale floral and I have to be careful cutting little pieces. 

Super happy, isn't it?!  I think I'm getting over my yellow thing. ;)


Mini-Series Monday #2

Happy Mini-Monday everyone!

Remember Little Lady? 

Well, here she is all LITTLE little ... 11" x 15".

A block measures 4" x 4".

I repeated the same FMQ design from the big version seen here...

Cute, huh?

And I even added the ric rac.

This detail wasn't part of the original pattern in the book.

But I got the idea from other quilts designed by Camille like this one and this one. :)

Used up more scraps on the back ...

Again ... this is NOT a placemat, people.  (Could you even IMAGINE letting someone spill spaghetti sauce on this?!)

Next week ...


Mr. Martha?

Ok.  Has this ever happened to you where you walk into the kitchen on a Sunday morning only to find your husband doing something he's NEVER IN HIS LIFE EVER DONE before ...



... making homemade vanilla of all things?  Since when was I married to Martha Stewart??!!  (Although note HIS idea of a "decorative bottle" - LOL!)

Disturbing, hilarious and endearing, all at the same time ...  ;)


Daisychain Alphabet Sampler

This past Spring, I was visiting one of my very favorite blogs and nearly fell over when I saw this beautiful sampler (pattern available as a PDF)!

I HAD TO MAKE IT!  I just HAD to.  I mean come ON people! 

Now you may or may not know that I like little.  Remember my obnoxious decision to make my FWQAL blocks 5" instead of 6 1/2"?  And the Mini-Series I started this week?  Well, I'm doing it again. 

But lemme 'splain .. there is a method to my madness.

See, Alicia's sampler is stitched with crewel wool which is thicker than embroidery floss.  I'm a flosser.  However, if I use the original pattern size with floss, the letters will look a little too "skinny" for me.  Plus, I want my sampler to fit easily in an 8 1/2" x 11" pre-made frame.

So I reduced the size of the pattern to about 70%.

Now I love Alicia's sense of style, but the colors she used for her version just wouldn't work in my house.  So I picked these little pretties. 

Have you tried COSMO embroidery floss yet?  I was a hard-core DMC girl until I tried these ... now I'm a Cosmo girl!  (Tee hee!)  But seriously, this stuff is awesome.  Super Buzzy is one online store that carries the entire collection of solids. 

I based the colors on my all.time.FAVORITE fabric lines - Paris Flea Market by Moda (2004?). 

You guys, if I could be reincarneted as fabric, THIS is what I would look like. 

So for the next little while I'll be sharing my progress with you here and there in amongst my Mini-Series & FQWAL and other silly things.  Not quite as big an undertaking as Project Simplify, but I hope it will entertain you a little.  And maybe inspire you to get the pattern and start stitching up one for yourself.  ;)


More About Me

I've been blogging for a little while now, talking mostly quilting & motherhood ... and being an occasional bad driver

I should qualify that last thing by saying I've never hurt myself or any one else with a vehicle.  I've just damaged my vehicle(s).  And my husband's.  And maybe my dad's. 

And maybe my neighbor's truck.  (Dude, he shoulda KNOWN better than to park at the bottom of an icy hill in the winter in Canada ... just sayin'.)

Oh yeah, and maybe my sister's brand new car.  Word to the wise ... if you're driving through the mountains, go AROUND big rocks that have fallen onto the highway - not OVER them.  Boulder vs. oil pan ... guess who's gonna win.  That might seem obvious now, but it wasn't so much when I was going like 90kph (55mph) very early one morning ... maybe ... (sorry, Sister!)

But there's more to me than just quilts and insurance claims.  I embroider.  Yep, I do.

So why haven't I mentioned this before?  Well, last summer (2010) I kinda messed up my hand by embroidering WAAAAAY too much.  (One WOULD think embroidery is safer than driving ... unless you've met me.)

I ended up looking like this for a few months ...

I know.  Super attractive, right?  I felt sorta like this ...

... just without the cool.  (But it does get you out of doing dishes and stuff for a little while!)

And then after a cortizone injection (for De Quervain tendonitis if you're curious), I looked like this for a few more months.

Only slightly less ridiculous. 

After months and months (and months) of physio ... and by the way, I was my physiotherapist's very first embroidery injury - an honor I mention with great pride ... my hand is almost back to normal. 

But I have to be very careful.  No more sitting on my butt for 10 hours straight with a needle & thread in hand.  I'm having to employ things like "balance" and "moderation" in my daily activities.  (Yuck.  Hate those words.  Have I ever mentioned that I'm also sometimes a little immature?)

So back to being careful, I still get into trouble if I spend a few evenings in a row watching an entire season of "Weeds" on DVD (for example) while doing this ...

My hand was very cranky for a few day's after all that cutting. 

(And my mouth needed a bar of soap!  Sheesh.  "Showtime" (not HBO, my bad!) tends to bring out the sailor in me ...)

But never mind that.

The reason I'm bringing up the embroidery thing is because if you happen to stop by tomorrow, I don't want you to think you came to the wrong blog when you see this ...


Across the Pond Pouch

As I promised last week, here is the first mini-charm square project.  I picked the new "Butterscotch & Roses" by Fig Tree to start. 

She was pretty easy, quick and fun to make!

Here's how it went.

First, the squares sewn together and quilted.  The pattern doesn't say to quilt the patchwork, but I did anyways because ... well ... because that's just the way I roll.  ;)

Found an older Fig Tree FQ my stash for the lining - perfect!

I didn't feel like going all the way to the store just for a zipper so I used the best color match I had on hand.  Not bad!

And I always trace templates so I can preserve the original.  (Learned that one the hard way ...)

Here are the 2 body pieces & the lining cut out.

(Sorry, I got so into my sewing I TOTALLY forgot to take zipper installation photos!)

The outside ...

And the lining ...

There just so happened to be two cream squares in the pack so I deviated from the pattern again (call me a rebel!) and added these little fabric tabs to the zipper ends - just makes for a little nicer finish, I think. 

They aren't necessary ...

But see how they look?

And one more leftover square - cut diagonally - makes the perfect little zipper pull.

Just as pretty on the inside. ;)


Not bad for 39 - 2 1/2" squares, half a FQ, batting scraps, a zipper and a few hours.

Super cute, eh?  If you're interested in me making another one of these as a tutorial, please leave me a comment.  If there's enough interest, I'd be happy to do one up. :)


Farmer's Wife Quilt Along Week 17

Red, White & Pink

#54 - Kitchen Woodbox

I'm trying very hard to resist the urge to put a fussy cut flower in the middle of every "square-in-the-middle" block.  But right now I'm kinda thinking this one might need a little "su'mm su'mm". 

(That was my totally lame attempt at saying "something something" gangsta style.  When am I going to learn that I should just stick to my middle-aged haus frau vocabulary?  Hmmmm ... NEVER!  Being silly is too much fun. 

My husband says I'm the funniest person I know.  Well, I wouldn't go THAT far.  There are plenty of people who are WAY funnier than me.  But I do make myself laugh. :)

#17 - Cats & Mice

Kinda white.  But I like it.



Project Simplify - THE MINI SERIES!

Howdy y'all!

I'm very excited because today is the first of nine "Mini-Series Mondays" here at Pretty by Hand!

That's right, you heard me.  But not the same kind of mini-series I watched on tv during my babysitting days in the 80s like "Shogun" & "Thorn Birds".  This mini-series doesn't include forbidden love with a priest or anything like that.

My love of little things inspired me to come up with this Project Simplify encore ... a series of mini quilts!  (Get it?  Mini Quilts = Mini Series?  I know, I'm witty beyond belief.)

This lil' cutie is 2-3/4".

Back in April when I was making the first quilt, I had some scraps that were just BEGGING to be made into something.  And when I wasn't allowed to do any work on the quilt while my helper was in school, I HAD to find SOMETHING to do with my time ... because, you know, housework is over-rated.

And plus I started thinking that since I didn't know which quilts I'd be donating, it would be nice to have a little souvenier of each project. 

Ok, that sounds TOTALLY lame right now as I'm typing this - souvenier quilt of a quilt?  For real??  That's just taking fabric hoarding to a whole other level.  But it seemed like a good idea at the time ...

I wasn't confident enough with my FMQing back then so I chickened out and did simple straight lines.

This miniature version of Square One measures 13 1/2" x 16 1/2".   (Don't even THINK about calling it a placemat!  You can ask my husband what will happen if you do ... )

So for the next 8 weeks, I'll be bringing you Mini-Series Mondays - all the quilts from Camille's book  Simplify miniaturzed.  Nothing like milking a good idea 'til it's dead, right?

FWQAL is temporarily rescheduled for Tuesdays because let's face it ... we all love a good alliteration, don't we?  Mini-Series Mondays just sounds way better than Mini-Series Tuesdays.  :)

And what would a Mini-Series be without a teaser for the next episode?

Sorry ladies, no Richard Chamberlain ... I asked ... he doesn't do quilt blogs ;)


My Kind of (Buried) Treasure

When I was tidying up my stash on the weekend, I found these three mini-charm packs (they were buried ... under more fabric). 

2 1/2" squares ... pretty small.  And until today, I really didn't know what to do with them.

I already used a fourth mini charm pack - Bonnie & Camille's "Ruby" - for one of the Project Simplify pillows.

It turned out so beautifully (if I do say so myself).  But I don't want to make cushion covers or baby quilts or placemats.  Not that there's anything WRONG with those things.  Its just that the colors in these remaining mini packs don't coordinate with any room in my home.  So I was wanting to make something "non-home-decor" with them.

Well what do you know ... also during my clean-up, I unearthed this cute pattern that came with a mini charm pack .  Don't judge.  Being a little disorganized can make for the best treasure finds ... my kind of booty!  ;).  

It's for a little patchwork pouch.  If you're interested, you can download this MODA pattern for free.

Remember that fairsies math rules in my house.  There are 3 charm packs for 3 girls, including me (somehow I think my husband isn't really all that interested in a pretty patchwork pouch ...)  How perfect is that?

I'm intriqued by the idea of making a little pouch like this with darts.  And with making something I'll actually use with the mini squares.

I'll let you know how I make out.


Project Simplify - Finish Line!

Ok.  Deep breath.  Got a lot to cover today so I'll just start.  (If you're new here, you may enjoy reading the "Starting Line" post here.)

My main objectives for this Project were:

  • reduce my fabric stash
  • learn how to free-motion quilt
  • make every quilt/pillow in Simplify with my daughters
  • donate quilts & pillows to help raise money for non-profit organizations

Let's see how I did.

1) Stash Redux - CHECK!

My "before" stash ...

In terms of yardage & weight my stash lost:

75yds / 69m (holy crap!) and 27lbs / 12kg (wish I'D lost 27 lbs ...)

Here's what that looks like ...

empty shelf space!!!

I know I wasn't supposed to buy any fabric (who was I trying to kid?).  I should have qualified that with "to use for the quilts & pillows in the book".  I was successful by that standard.  However,  ...

Now this TOTALLY surprises me.  I had no idea there was this much space left!  That should give you an idea of how messy my sewing room is most of the time ... told ya I had to clean up to take these pictures! ;)

I really thought I'd bought at least as much as I'd used up and maybe even more.  I'm very happy to still have some space.  It would be really nice to hang on to that "breathing room" and fill it with things like pictures and other pretty dust collecters.  But knowing me, that empty space will be filled with junk in about 30 seconds ... ;)   (Girl's gotta have SOME secrets!)

I also finished 14 full or partial spools so my thread drawer is a little tidier.

I went through 85 bobbins (yes, I kept track).

I broke 5 needles.

Mostly from doing this ...

'cause I'm a career refuse-to-pull-pins-out-before-I-sew-over-them kinda quilter and am not likely to ever change (despite an emergency trip to the sewing repair guy a few years ago). 

But a few from doing this ...

2) Learn FMQing - CHECK!

From this,

and this,

and this,

to this,


and this!  It still freaks me out that I can actually DO this now!  :)

A word about FMQing.  I'm not going to be obnoxious here and tell you that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it.  I'm just going to say that I started this project with a strong desire to learn, and I practiced until I got it.  Sounds hokey, I know.  But I forced myself to work at it - and shamed myself into sticking with it by blogging about it!

3) Make every quilt & pillow in the book with my daughters - CHECK!

I made 9 quilts and 4 pillows and my girls helped me with 8 quilts (fairsies math ...)  We had so much fun and I'm super proud of them for humoring their mama ;).

4) Donate quilts & pillows to help raise money for non-profit organizations - CHECK!

I donated these two quilts to my friend's literacy fundraiser.  Together they raised $125.

Next I donated this quilt top to "Quilts for Quake Survivors".

I missed the deadline by like a day and didn't really know what happened to it until "Happy Zombie" Monica surprised the heck out of me with this post!  How weird is THAT.  I was blown away by that coincidence. :) 

Still don't know what's going to happen with the quilt.  But it will be used to make money for someone ... somehow ... I'll keep you posted.

Finally, I gave this quilt & pillow set to a fundraiser for Orchestra Iowa

The silent auction event is in a few months.  I'll let you know about that one too.

Well.  I guess that's it ...

... or is it?  Awh, come on.  I wouldn't just end it like that, would I?  ;)

I've actually been keeping a "little" surprise for you.  I had a "little" flash of inspiration waaay back when I was making the very first quilt for Project Simplify so I have a "little" encore of sorts for you. 

I'll fill you in on Monday. 

But it just might have something to do with these ...

Need a size reference?

tee hee!


Note to Self #5

Never use misguided optimism when parking a minivan. 

For example, "I probably won't fit, but maybe I'm wrong!" can end up looking like this ...

Apparently, the laws of physics don't care if you're late picking up someone from the airport.

(Again, reeeeeeeeeally sorry Honey!)

Notice the super awesome job I did getting TWO body parts instead of just one? 

Even the police officer who filled out the damage report was impressed.

"Go big or go home," right?

How about, "Just go early you nimrod so you can take your time finding a bigger parking spot ... "