I checked the blog and I started this in January 2016. Honestly, I thought it was older than that.
I had bought a FQ bundle of this Birds of a Feather fabric line. I usually don’t make quilts with all one line but I liked these fabrics. Then I chose some beige fabrics mostly with words for the corners.
I didn’t even have a plan for the layout. I finally decided to figure that out a few weeks ago so I had a goal.
I’m pretty happy with it. Let’s see how many years it is until I quilt it now!
I was able to test out my kayak this weekend. The husband had been saying that he was going to come with me to make sure I was ok. I swear he is getting anxiety when it comes to me. He doesn’t want to let me out of his sight. Even going to work has him worried and then I spent the weekend protesting and kayaking. He decided at the last minute that I would probably be fine and let me go on my own.
I went to a local reservoir that I knew had an easy place to get into the water. There were loads of other kayakers there. I decided to treat this trip as sort of a proof of concept trial – Can I get the kayak to the water without it falling off the truck? Does the kayak float? Can I manage to float around without capsizing?
So far so good.
I went for a quick spin around a little cove and then left. I was starting to feel it in my abs. I’m such a wimp!
Now I know that I can do everything I need to do. Next time I’ll be going for longer!
Over the weekend I saw a quick quiltalong on Instagram. It was for the Big Kiss Quilt.
I wanted to make it because it is great for showing off fabrics that I bought because I loved the pattern. Then I got them home and had no idea what to do with them. I picked out a few of these fabrics and threw this together.
See the Dalmatian fabric? I bought this for the first quilt top I ever made all the way back in 1997. I’ve been carrying that around for a while. It has been in 6 houses with me.
This is a fun quick quilt. It is about 50 inches square. That isn’t a favorite size for me but it would be good at this size or a little smaller for a baby quilt.
For the past few years I’ve been thinking that I would like to be a person who kayaks. It seemed like a fun lifestyle. Unfortunately I live too far away from the lake to easily run up there on a day off without making a whole day adventure of it.
Last year I realized that I was an idiot.
You see I grew up near Lake Erie. That’s what I think of when I think of a body of water. Yes, it would take me over an hour to get there now. But, amazingly (to my brain) there are more bodies of water in the world than the Great Lakes. In fact, I’m all but surrounded by rivers and lakes. In the summer every third or fourth car has kayaks on their roofs. Where did I think they were all going? I live down the street from this guy even.
Last summer I explored the idea a little. I did a trip down a quiet river in a rental kayak a few times and agreed that I would like to do this on a regular basis. I started to look for a kayak.
Videos on YouTube told me that the first thing I needed to learn was how to roll my kayak upside down and then right it. No thank you. I decided a wanted a sit-on-top kayak so if it flipped over, I would just fall out. I’ll take my chances swimming with a life vest on. I watched videos of people running crazy rapids and going over waterfalls. Nope. I’m not about that life. I would like to putter around a lake while taking pictures of birds and plants. Then I saw a video of people testing the stability of fishing kayaks by standing up on them and walking around and casting fishing rods. These were my people. I have no interest in fishing but I have a lot of interest in not flipping over.
I figured out the beginner fishing kayak I wanted and then started watching to see when it would go on sale through the winter. I finally found a sale but not on the boat I wanted. I found the kayak that is the next step up in that brand, on sale, with a paddle included, with free shipping for about $100 less than I was looking to spend on the other kayak. I jumped on the buy button.
It has been here since the beginning of February waiting for warm weather to go out and start exploring.
One thing I learned in my research – If you are on instagram, follow #kayakingwithdogs for delightful pictures of dogs in their life jackets going out on kayaks. It is well worth your time. Sometimes the hashtag gets hijacked by kayakers doing crazy stunts (without dogs because dogs have more sense) which is sad but it let me know what insane things other people do with kayaks.
They don’t take that long to make. The hardest part is looking at all the fabric I’m wasting because they aren’t square. I’m the kind of person who always has to try to maximize fabric (or wrapping paper) use. Just blatantly cutting a curve hurts my soul.
I posted a picture of my mask on my Instagram story.
I instantly got hit up to make some for other people. A former coworker has a sister who is immunocompromised in a few different ways. The sister works in a nursing home where they have no protective equipment. How could I say no to that? I whipped up four (2 for the sister and 2 for my friend and her husband). I think I’m going to make a few more for us since they need to be washed after every outing.
One of my quilting works in progress is a pattern called De la prominade. It is from Quilt Fusion. I don’t usually buy a lot of patterns but I loved this one from the moment I saw it.
You trace the pattern pieces – the hundreds of pattern pieces per block – onto fusible web, cut them out, and then assemble them like the picture. When you are satisfied you iron them in place.
Here are the blocks I have done so far:
The center carousel
The top center horses
The bottom center swans
The left side horse
That panel is pieced but not quilted yet. Each panel is layered on a piece of batting and all the pieces are sewn down around all the edges. Later they will all be sewn together and a backing sewn in place. It is much easier to quilt this as you go than trying to maneuver the whole thing.
I’ve been neglecting this one for a while. I have a place picked out to hang it. I even painted the room a soft grey to accent this. The husband doesn’t believe that it will ever be finished. Someday…
We have a finish! I know, I know, I can’t believe it either.
I’m a fan of Elizabeth Hartmann’s animal patterns. I’ve made the hedgehog and the fox and the whale. I really liked the flamingo pattern too. About a month ago it occurred to me that the neighbors across the street where having a baby. They have two flamingo statues in their yard. They are apparently really into 1950s decor, according to my husband who has talked to them. They painted their front door a bright blue. I realized this was a perfect excuse to make the flamingo quilt.
I made the small size with just 2 flamingos.
One had to be pink to be traditional (or natural). I made the other one blue because they were having a boy.
I quilted it with just straight (ish) lines in a varigated pink and blue.
I was actually sad to see this one go. I liked it.
I made the husband deliver it. I’ve never even seen these people but he’s had conversations with them. Now I think I’m considered the Boo Radley of the neighborhood who only comes out to go to work and spends the rest of the time making quilts in the basement.
I got all my plants into the raised beds and built the fence and it is working! No varmints have eaten anything inside the fence. Outside the fence it is a different story so I attribute the success to the fence.
I decided to make some videos to show what is growing around here and follow it every few weeks. (I filmed this on my phone so they are vertical because I wasn’t thinking. I will fix it next time if I remember.)
This is the main vegetable bed.
Since I filmed this the pea plants have decided to climb towards the trellis using the guide twine I put down and I’m so proud of them! Yeah, yeah, they’re plants. I’m still proud.
This is the area where I’m failing to grow berries.
In the 7 years that we’ve lived here we’ve tried so many gardens. Every one has had issues. My yard is too shady except in the middle. I have rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and deer. They are stone-cold garden predators. They even managed to eat my tomatoes in pots on my second story deck.
Finally, enough was enough. The husband decided to give up a section in the middle of his beloved grass for raised beds. I decided to use all my hard-won horse-fencing knowledge to keep the critters out. (For a while I toyed with electrifying the fence.)
We started small with just a 4′ by 8′ bed and a 4′ x 4′ bed. If the plants survive the year we may go bigger and put in permanent and more attractive fencing.
The last time I did new raised beds I had piles of aged horse manure. We did not this time. Our compost piles have not broken down well so we had to buy dirt and compost. I put in a soaker hose system in case we ever need to water. Hopefully, it will keep raining here and we won’t need it. Then I topped it all with straw for mulch.
I started out adhering to Square Foot Gardening guidelines. I even had my 12 inch square quilt ruler out for measuring. The back row of the garden is pristine like that. As you get closer to the front it gets more freestyle until chaos reigns in the small bed.
I planted so much stuff that I had to make diagrams. There is a combination of plants and seeds out there. Just yesterday I noticed that some of the peas are sprouting. I’m so proud.
I’ve also started trying to make a food forest in the back. I keep adding berry bushes along the fence line. Some vermin keeps pulling out the strawberry plants. I planted a few varieties of potatoes in piles of straw too. We’ll see how that goes. They are also outside the fence so I don’t know if they will survive.
Updates to come throughout the growing season hopefully!
Oh my gosh! I’m doing so good. I’m actually sewing on a regular basis. Mind you, I’m bouncing project to project so I’m in no danger of actually finishing anything but progress is being made on the major WIPs I wanted to work on.
I worked really hard on this last month. I was so proud. Yeah. It is exactly the same as last month because I got distracted by other projects.
De La Promenade
I started the panel that makes up most of the left side of the quilt. I already have the three blocks that make up the center of the quilt made and quilted. The carousel horse in the picture on the pattern is blue with a white mane. I found a blue I liked for the body but plain white seemed a bit flat. I auditioned some very light blues but wasn’t sure. I decided to ask the husband. He panics when I ask quilt questions because he thinks there is supposed to be a right or wrong answer and not just an opinion. So I prefaced this with “I just need an opinion. There isn’t a wrong answer.” I showed him both mane options. He picked white because….(wait for it)…. because a light blue mane isn’t realistic. A light blue mane isn’t realistic on a horse with a blue body. He had no problem with the blue body. I was wrong. There obviously was a wrong answer.
I made the mane white but used a polka dot white on white so it wasn’t too flat.
You build the horse from all the pieces on a nonstick sheet and then peel him off and put him on the background. The horse is considered part A in this block. There are still parts B through D to go before I can put this block together.
This is my never-ending hand piecing project. (I get tendonitis if I hand sew too much so I limit myself to just a little bit a day and you know I don’t work on it every day.) I forget when I started this. I tend to work consistently on it for a while and then let it sit for a while. Lately I’ve been pretty consistent.
It is from Willyne Hammerstein’s Millefiori Quilts book 3. The book doesn’t actually have much in the way of directions. There are some diagrams of how a few of the pieces go together and then a diagram of how everything fits together and then the five shapes you need to use and that’s it. Just make it from the pictures.
I was at a complete loss of where to start with this. How do you even pick colors? I decided to use a stack of really obnoxious fat quarters I had as the color selection. I combined this with grey tone on tone fabrics and black/white fabrics in places where I wanted the eye to be able to rest. I made up a few basic rosettes to practice and then picked a few that worked together and started combining them like in the diagram. Occasionally it isn’t clear what piece is supposed to be used but I think I’m figuring it out. I was pretty proud to finally get a whole chunk of it together this month. It seems less scattered now and more like a thing that actually may be finishable.
I’m making a file to show how much is together. Blue dots show the parts I’ve finished. See why I call it the never ending project?
It worked! It worked! I sewed so I would have something to say here.
True confession time. I didn’t finish the whole post last time before it autoposted in January. I meant to list all the WIPs (Works in Progress) that I want to work on this year and then show if there is any progress in each one.
This is a new project. I figured I could handle one beginner block each month and actually end up with a quilt for someone. The second block was a simple one to be done in pink.
The word fabric was left over from a baby quilt for a kid who is about 6 or 7 now.
I found out recently that a few people I work with don’t like polka dots. They find them creepy. They are obviously wrong. I love polka dots. I have a lot of dot fabrics at home.
On Ringo Lake
This was 2017 (shut up) mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter. I did really well making all my pieces on the weekly schedule. There are hundreds and hundreds of pieces. And then it sat. I had an unexpected day off work during the super cold spell so I decided to spend it sewing. I went downstairs meaning to work on something else but I saw this and decided to work on it instead.
By the end of the first day I had turned this:
Typical behavior for me would then be to wander off never to work on this again for months. But that didn’t happen! I came back the next day and worked on it again. I ordered a backing for it even.
I had helpers.
Powder used to lay right by the sewing machine and I always told her that it was a miracle that she never got her tail sewn. She never really got close though. This was my first time sewing with the Lucy-kitten. She decided that she could catch the moving machine needle between her front paws. I screamed, “Noooooooooooooo!” at her so loud that she went off and pouted because I scared her. Better hurt feelings than sewn together paws.
I’ve even kept going. I’ve decided to quilt this in a simple all over pattern. I’m going to quilt this in sections using a Quilt as You Go technique. I’ve ordered the stencil and received the backing fabric. Here is the first section put together.
Look what that kitten did to my high class design wall!
De La Promenade
This is destined to hang above the daybed in my cat/music room/library. The whole room was painted to show it off. Now I just need to finish it. It is fusible applique and quilt-as-you go. This is what I meant to work on when I got restarted on On Ringo Lake.
This is the third panel. This is fusible applique that is then sewed down/quilted in one step. I finished quilting the second swan so this panel is done. Now I need to start tracing panel four.
I’m making this post in a fit of optimism on January 1. It is going to be a monthly update on what I’m sewing. The idea is that if I don’t have anything new to say at this time each month, I’ll be so embarrassed. Therefore, I need to sew something, anything, so I have something to blog about. Let’s see how well this works. (I only finished 1 quilt in 2018. Mind you, I started bunches of stuff…)
About a month ago one of my coworkers asked me out of the blue if I had finished any quilts lately. I was offended. She knows better. She knows I only start quilts and then they live half-done forever in my basement.
I was also a bit concerned because actually I was applying myself diligently to finishing a quilt for her for her rapidly upcoming wedding.
Yes, I hope ya’ll are sitting down, I finished a quilt project!
I’ve always wanted to do a pineapple quilt block quilt but that’s a lot of work. I had only seen them paper pieced. I found a handy dandy ruler that made it a whole lot easier to do.
I made the whole thing mostly with scraps from my magical scrap bin. No matter how many times I dug in there I always found more jewel tones to work with, even if I was sure I had emptied it of useable stuff the time before. I only messed up once and used the same dark fabric in the same block.
I also decided in midstream to make this quilt as you go.
I sewed together each row of 4 blocks and then layered and quilted them. I used the fussiest way possible to join them together but you can’t tell I did anything unusual from the front. There is just a folded under edge of the backing where each row is joined together on the back.
I added borders the same way. I had a different plan for the borders but hated it once I started piecing it. I got the husband’s opinion. He got all nervous and told me that supported me in everything I do. I told him that I was hating what I was doing so critique away. I might have created a monster. He had unsolicited opinions about binding colors and fabric selection after the one day when I asked for his thoughts.
It is at its new home now. I finished with 2 days to spare. I didn’t know how to act with that much wiggle room.
I am lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room in my basement. When we moved in I wanted to get some storage built. The husband found someone to do it. The plan was brilliant if I do say so myself. I wanted two floor to ceiling cabinets with a huge ironing board overtop of stacks of drawers. The idea was to be able to lay out a whole quilt top and iron the longest seams.
I got the two cabinets fairly quickly. Then, crickets. He never came back to do the drawers. Never. The husband would see him around and ask and it was clear that part two of the project was never going to happen.
Fast forward to now. I was trying to figure out how to make it myself. I thought about getting dressers or stock cabinets or something. Then, we ended up breaking down Z’s room since she is not able to come back here anymore. She has a dresser. It was only 4 feet long so it didn’t fill the whole space but it was available and free. I cleared out the plastic tubs I was using to store my smaller pieces of fabric by color. The fabric lives in the dresser now. We put the dresser in that space on furniture sliders so I can move it around fairly easily. Ideally, I wanted it on wheels because the ironing surface needs to be a bit away from the wall so you can drop the already pressed area down behind the board. Since there will be a gap, I know I will drop other stuff. I wanted to be able to move it so stuff wouldn’t be lost forever.
I went to Lowe’s and got a very sturdy piece of plywood. I had them cut it to 2 feet by 8 feet.
I placed it on the dresser. I had some thick batting. I put one layer on the board and stapled it in place.
I bought 3 yards of Kona Steel for the cover. I stapled that in place making sure to pull it tight.
I moved the dresser back into place and centered the board on it. I had brackets to put on the side of the dresser to support the edges of the board but I forgot that the dresser had a fancy lip on it. The brackets won’t lay flat. The board I chose is very sturdy so for now I’m leaving it alone. If it starts to bow later I’ll find some way to fix it.
I added a flat wall plug extension cord to the plug behind the dresser. I used a command hook to keep the cord in reach. My iron doesn’t have an off button. If it is plugged in, it is on. I keep the iron to the left because I am left handed.
I still had the issue of the dresser not reaching all the way across the space. I wanted it to look more finished so I bought some tension rods and the cheapest curtains on Amazon to hide my scrap bin.
The whole project cost under $100 (not counting the initial purchase price of the dresser) and took less than an hour to complete. I have one unintended consequence though.
Now hanging out in the sewing room with Mommy is more comfortable. Soon after this picture he was sprawled out full length. He doesn’t understand why he can’t play with the iron though. I may need to find a way to wall mount the iron so this fool doesn’t burn himself.
Look! I’m sewing. I mean, sure, I list quilting as one of my major hobbies but I hadn’t been doing much of it.
Recently I started working on two projects out of the gazillion I have in pieces in my sewing room.
De La Prominade by Quilt Fusion
I saw this pattern on Instagram when they were testing it. I had to have it even though it was completely impractical. It is a bed sized quilt when done, which I don’t need. I can make it a bit smaller by leaving off the outer borders. If I hang it, it would need to go horizontal and I don’t think I have a big enough spot. I still don’t care. I love it.
This is the center block. You trace the pattern pieces onto paper backed fusible web. Then you cut out all the pieces and build it.
This block sits above the carousel block. This is designed to be quilt as you go. That’s nice because you don’t need to maneuver a big quilt through the machine. After I made the block I spray basted it to batting. Then I free motion quilt around all the pieces. Once the whole thing is together and quilted you add the backing fabric and quilt around the blocks to hold it all together.
I also started on a snail quilt that I’ve had the pattern for for a while. The husband, who thinks he’s funny said, “That sounds like a slow project.” It turns out to be pretty quick though. I made all the bodies in one sitting. Then I’ve been making a few shells at a time. The finished lap sized quilt has 60 snails.
This is the big one that makes formatting book reviews simple. It is a paid plugin so it must be good if I have it since I am cheap. There is a learning curve for this one because it can do so much but there is great support. I also have add ons for this:
Automatically send my published reviews to Goodreads. (I like that this gives an option to send an edited review to Goodreads if I get too rambling here.)
Reading challenges add on makes the little bars on the right side of the screen that track categories of reviews. My only complaint is that I write a lot of reviews with multiple books and you can’t track each one.
I just downloaded a multiple rating report that I may use for audiobooks to separately rate the narration and story and any other category I want to make up.
My UBB wishlist:
The ability to host cover images on a third party site
Automatically sending reviews to Amazon or other sites
Featured Image from URL
My theme has the big picture at the top of the post. I love the look of that but I didn’t like having to host all those images on my site. This plug in lets you host pictures on Flickr and then use them as a featured image. I love, love, love this one! Find it by searching on your Add Plugins page.
Where do all those stock photos come from? Pixabay is my favorite free stock photo site. I can usually always find a great image that ties into whatever I’m writing about.
If you write a lot of posts that follow the same format, this is a time saver. I use it for my Monday posts. I click on last week’s and it copies the post to a new draft. I change out the galleries of the books I am reading but my headings and featured picture are all preset. I use this for monthly wrap ups too where I am updating information on challenges. I don’t have to look up and link to the challenges again. It just gets copied over. Find it by searching on your Add Plugins page.
WordPress Editorial Calendar
I love being able to move posts around on my calendar. I write down title names when I get an idea and if I don’t get around to writing it or if I want to change when it is posted, I just drag and drop. It is so much better than working off a list. Find it by searching on your Add Plugins page.
I use Later.com to schedule tweets, instagram posts, and pinterest posts. When I write a review, I send the cover photo here and then write the tweet to go out once in the morning and once at night. It is easy to use the same picture for Pinterest but it isn’t as easy to pin to multiple boards as Tailwind is.
You’d rather take pictures with a camera instead of a phone and edit them on your computer
You’d love to schedule a bunch of photos ahead of time
Later can help
I love taking pictures with my camera. Getting them to Instagram was awkward. I’d have to download them to my computer, edit them, email them to my phone, download them on the phone, and then upload them one at a time when I remembered.
Later is a website and an app that work together to simplify the process. When I’m ready to schedule Instagram photos, I go to the Later.com website.
I can upload all the photos that I want to work with and drag them onto the day and time that I want to post them. This is perfect for photo challenges if you take a bunch of photos at once but need to wait until the appropriate day to post.
Selecting a photo brings up this screen.
From here you can crop, change the date and time of posting, edit captions, and even make it add a link in your bio.
Ideally, Later would then publish the post for you but this is were it gets little bit awkward still. Instagram does not allow third party software to post directly to the site.
Instead, you have to have the Later app on your mobile device of choice. At the time that you scheduled, you will get a notification that you have a post ready. You open the app and select post.
The app downloads the photo to the device and asks you to select Instagram. It also copies your caption to the dashboard.
You are able to do any additional editing like normal with Instagram. Then you paste the caption into the text block and post.
Is a perfect solution? No. Does it help? Absolutely. I like being able to batch upload my challenge photos once a week and then not have to think about it again until I get a notification.
That’s 2 in less than 30 days. I know, I’m shocked too.
Of course this one had a hard deadline or it wouldn’t have happened so fast.
The pattern for the whales is Preppy the Whale from Oh Fransson. It is a hard pattern to design with if you don’t want to make a zillion whales because it is long and narrow. I added the black and white checked stripes because the top was too boring without something else.
I used the last of my Tula Pink yardage for the back. I couldn’t pass up the thematic opportunity to put the octopi on the back of the whale quilt.