Thursday, December 31, 2015

Episode VI

Okay so if you've made it this far - yay! After making the Star Wars quilts for dad & my brother I knew I would want one for me! I wanted a Millennium Falcon on mine too, but had to make it a little different from J's. 

I hand stitched the Death Star laser, but kept the trend of quilting in stars and using the glow-in-the-dark thread for this quilt too. I used the rest of the Star Wars fabric for the back and mine is Episode VI - You Rebel Scum! I loved using movie quotes for the names of these quilts.

This was on my Finish Along list for Q4 as Codename: Forest and I'm happy it's finished now! Linking up the final finishes at OntheWindySide. I'll be putting it up on my wall shortly. Here's all three together, now that the other two are in their new homes. 

Getting all three quilted was my December goal for ALYOF and it was nice to finish the year strong with the final linkup at Fiber of All SortsEspecially since Fiber of All Sorts & Sew are passing the torch on ALYOF. They've done a great job hosting the past few years and motivating so many people! I'm happy to see there are several bloggers willing to keep it going for next year.

Episode V

Now that Christmas is over, I can also share with you my completed secret quilts I made for gifts this year. It started with me taking a workshop with Laura Wasilowski on turning your own idea/inspiration into a quilt. So while making the Episode IV quilt for my dad, I realized my brother would probably want one too. 

This one is Episode V- It's a Trap! and includes a Millennium Falcon and a Death Star. It turned out really well and also includes quilted stars and glow-in-the-dark thread! I used Star Wars fabrics for the backing and wrote my label to look like the opening scroll text - just like the first one. This was a lot of fun to make - happy Christmas J!

This was on my Finish Along Q4 list as Codename: Icetime and am happy to say it's finished and gifted now. Wahoo! Linking up at OntheWindySide one last time.

Episode IV

Now that Christmas is over, I can also share with you my completed secret quilts I made for gifts this year. It started with me taking a workshop with Laura Wasilowski on turning your own idea/inspiration into a quilt.  Laura uses raw-edge fusing for her quilts and I had a brainwave that this was how I could make a Death Star quilt for my dad!

I printed out some images from online to get the right size/shape pulled fabrics from my stash (and momm's) and got started making my Death Star!  I love how it turned out -and so did the other participants in the class. I added some hand stitched laser bolts, quilted in some stars in the background and used my glow-in-the-dark thread to add a few stars and the x-wing jet trails.

I used Star Wars fabrics for the backing and wrote my label to look like the opening scroll text.  :) So I named this one Episode IV - That's No Moon! It's already hanging in dad's office - yay! This was on my Q4 list for the Finish Along as Codename: Slapquilt and I'm happy it's finished. Linked up to OntheWindySide for the finish!

Episode VII

Vacation started in the best way possible this year - I got to go see The Force Awakens. On opening day. For Free! TWICE!!  EEEEE!

So here's how it happened. :D One of my coworkers extended family members, rented out a whole theater opening day and invited friends & family. I was thrilled to be invited! Definitely fun to watch the new movie with a good group of fans. When the opening scroll started and all I could think was 'is this really happening?' It was awesome and it really felt like it had the soul of the original trilogy. You have to go see it if you haven't already - or even if you have!

Anyways, so we had a 4pm showing and got out around 6:30. As I was walking out I had a text from a friend who was going to see it at 7pm that she had a spare ticket, and would I like to see it in 3D.  hahaha So I pretty much turned around, walked into another theater and saw Episode VII again. In 3D! Awesome the 2nd time around too.  :)

Then I went a third time with my family when I got home for Christmas.  hehe.  It was still Awesome and I'll probably end up going again, because I can. There's even an ornament for my tree that's STAR WARS themed: I redeemed Disney Movie Rewards points for an episode VII logo pin!

Monday, December 7, 2015

trimming the tree

I put my ornaments up on the tree this weekend - starting of course with the newest additions from this year which include:

A small Gullah basket, Ft. Sumter pin & USS Yorktown pin from Charleston, a pin from the Sisters quilt show, a keychain bison from visiting the elk & bison prairie at LBL over the summer and a few DC pieces from Arlington Nat'l Cemetery and Fords Theater. 

 It's always fun to decorate the tree and remember where each one came from and the memories attached!

While it's been in the mid 50s this weekend and doesn't feel like December at. all., I woke up Saturday morning realizing I had 2 weeks to finish up some Christmas gift-quilts.  Eeep! Naturally, finishing these gifts were my first thought for my December goal at A Lovely Year of Finishes at Fiber of All Sorts so I'll leave you with this picture, from the last post, as there are some surprise elements at play here.

Luckily they aren't too big in size, so putting the finishing touches on them shouldn't be difficult. This elf better get to work! What sort of homemade gifts are you finishing this month?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Come in Rogue leader

Today it was back to work after a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving holiday at home. It rained most of Thanksgiving, but we played games and had fun making & eating the food! Alongside the turkey we had sautéed brussels sprouts with bacon, homemade orange-cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and a delicious mushroom & leek stuffing. We made a cranberry chiffon pie, which tasted amazing, even if it didn't set properly. Mmmmm

Before the holiday I finished up my November goal for ALYOF - original post- and am linking up the finish at Fiber of All Sorts The top is all fused in place and prepared with batting. Now I need to get my plan together for the backing and quilt this up in time for the The Force Awakens.....I mean Christmas.  ;)   Also linking up to WIP Wednesday with Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

what to work on next

Considering we're already a week into a month that also has a holiday weekend, it was tricky figuring out what would be my one goal for this month at A Lovely Year of Finishes. This is when it's good to have several ongoing projects at once.  I can look at my pile of WIPs and choose something that is manageable with my schedule.

This month, I'd like to finish the top for one of my secret projects- Codename: Forest. I've had a few sketches of what I wanted this to look like, but will need to finalize the design then finish the fusing to complete the top. As a secret project, I don't want to share too much but here's a sneaky peek!

Linking up at Fiber of All Sorts for another month of progress. I've managed to complete 8 of my goals already this year so here we go on number 9!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Baby quilt Finish

So very excited to share this finish!  When my co-worker first told us she was pregnant, I knew we would be making a baby quilt for her  - how could we not seeing as we work at the National Quilt Museum!

H is having a girl and she shared the colors chosen for the nursery: pink, aqua/teal, yellow & grey. A couple of us coordinated details and design and we set up materials to have each staff member make a block for the quilt. 

We told everyone to pick 2 of the 4 colors and they had a choice of either a wonky star or wonky shoo fly block so there wouldn't need to be any matching (or chopping) of points. Blocks are 9" finished, so the quilt is 36"x36" in size.

 Originally I tried quilting with a variegated thread but Gilbert (my machine) was really unhappy with that, so I ripped out those stitches and switched to my trusty Aurifil which worked beautifully.

I quilted it with a free-motion loopy design that includes some hidden butterflies, flowers and a bee. 
you can see the bee in the right-center pink square!


We managed to keep it a secret over the last month (no small feat with a staff of 15-20) but H was happily surprised this week when we gifted it to her! She said it's already draped over the crib so I know it'll be well loved. :D

Link ups:
Fiber of all Sorts : my October finish for ALYOF was quilting the HQ project

On The Windyside : on my fourth quarter list for the Finish-Along 2015

CrazyMomQuilts : Finish it up Friday link up
quilt back! I used some leftover squares to add interest around the label

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jungle Jam

When sorting pictures the other night, I realized I never shared the finish for this one. Oops! It was a surprise project for friends of mine who had their first baby this year.

They knew it was a boy and they told me jungle animals as some of the nursery decoration - with that I knew exactly which fabrics to look for at Hancock's of Paducah! These zoology prints from Robert Kaufman are perfect. I may have used the 'jungle' idea loosely as there are lions, giraffes, hippos, alligators, dinosaurs & foxes in there. I purchased a few of the animal prints and pulled the rest from my stash.

I had a blast putting this together and it didn't take long at all - maybe a day for the top. The quilting took a few more hours (over a few week nights) as I put different designs in each of the strips/rows and I used coordinating Aurifil threads.

I was thrilled to know that while visiting friends back in NoVA this summer I'd be able to gift the quilt in person on baby M's baptism day! Very exciting. I forgot to snag pictures of it finished until I was already traveling; but I got a few.

 Here's the back - I used leftover strips of the animal prints and pieced in that green solid to use for my label. Hope he loves it well.  :)
me * baby M

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday :: 10/21/2015

basted & ready
Over the weekend I managed to piece the backings together for 3 - yes 3! - of my quilts on the FAL list. I even basted 2 of them and will need to work out some time and ideas so I can start quilting. Progress on some of the secret projects is being made as well - but can't show anything yet.  This time of year I'm also hunting down pieces for my Halloween costume and hoping I can pull it off in time. Linking up over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and doodling quilt design ideas.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fourth Quarter Ambitions

Ready to Sew my way through Quarter 4 of the Finish Along and linking up at On the Windy Side! I've been taking inventory of my WIPs during the quarters this year and have a good number of quilt tops waiting to be quilted. So it's a good thing my Netflix list is also growing.
2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Committing WIPs to a list is good motivation for when I have time to sew and a fun challenge to myself as well. This time I have several secret projects in the works and gave them codenames to help keep them straight.

Codename: HQ project - Basted
It's a secret project, so you only get a peek! Needs quilting & binding & gifting. 

Codename: SlapQuilt- Top
A secret project I'm really excited about. Needs quilting & binding.

Codename: Icetime -Top
Another secret project I'm really excited about, also needs quilting & binding.

Codename: Forest -Pieces/blocks
You guessed it- secret project in the early stages

Big Bear - Top
 Needs backing, quilting & binding so I can put him up on the wall when winter rolls around.
Improv quilt - Top
Backing was recently acquired, so it needs basting, quilting (the tricky part on this one!) & binding. 

Disco - Top
 Quilt top I made at retreat using Jaybirds Disco pattern & fabrics from Architextures & Botanics! Found backing fabric so it needs basting, quilting & binding.

Science Fair - Top
 Another Jaybirds pattern! Backing fabric recently acquired so waiting for basting, quilting & binding.
Marsala quilt - Top
   Also needs: backing, quilting & binding.

Mini Charm Stamps - blocks
 These blocks are ready to stitch into a top, then backing, basting, quilting & binding. This quilt grew out of my obsession collection of mini charm packs and the desire to make something with them. (and not just let them stack up on the shelf...) I chose a postage stamp style quilt because I wouldn't need to cut all of the 2.5" squares myself!  ;)  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hello October

Over the last couple of weeks I've been plotting out quilt backings & listing WIPs & labeling finished quilts. There's also been progress on a few quilts, including this one: the HQ project. It's mostly a secret so this is the only snippet I can share with you right now.
It's currently basted so my October ALYOF goal is to quilt it and I'm linking up over at Fiber of All Sorts this month! Linking at Freshly Pieced as well for WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

sunshine adventurings

I made the most of each bit of Summer, so now as September winds down, I can recap the fun!

 In between work, work events & quilt making I got to have some summer adventures in places near & far.

The NEAR::
Snaps came to visit and we had a grand time exploring the area! Highlights included: southern IL wineries, Garden of the Gods & Cave in Rock park, some interesting back road-country driving, a ferry across the river, eating local at Pizza by the Pound,  the ins & outs of LBL back roads looking for old cemeteries.

Dad also came to visit and we filled our time with biking the greenway trail, making our own ice cream, outdoors-ing in Ft. Massac, visiting the TARDIS and the Superman festival.

The FAR::

This summer I got to spend a week or so visiting friends/family in NoVA - the longest I'd been back since moving. My days were packed so here are the highlights: planes, trains & automobiles, baseball at both Orioles & Nationals, a baptism & quilt gifting, Arlington Cemetery, a Titanic memorial, beating an Escape Room, turning FB friends to real-life friends, a cupcake tour in DC without the guide and more! Phew, are you tired just from reading all that? It was amazing!

the OTHER:: 
The hummingbirds have been just as frantic again this summer - constantly zipping around the deck, pool time and plenty of biking, Quilt Camp which means some of the best work weeks, many ice cream runs & walks, BBQ on the River festival, home visits with campfires & good times, a friends wedding, quilt projects that are really exciting. 
A spectacular summer and I'm finally starting to get in the mood for Fall!

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Another finish from my Quarter 3 FAL ready to share with you today. I'm calling it Sun-Catcher because it looks different from every angle. This started as a teaching sample for my Junior Quilters club - working with Split 9 Patch blocks and value. After the first block I got hooked and had to make more!

I had some trouble with loopy FMQ in one section, which I think may be due to a batik-like backing. So for the rest of the quilting I kept it simple with a variety of straight lines using the walking foot. I matched the threads to each section of color using my trusty Aurifil box of threads.

Linking up at On the Windy Side for the Q3 finish and over at Finish it Friday as well. Then heading back to finishing more quilts! :)

a Yellow jersey finish

Happy to share with you my September finish for ALYOF - finishing this quilt with binding. This is also a project from my original Quarter 3 FAL list, so I'm linking to On the Windy Side for the finish and I'm linking up to Finish It Friday as well.

 The profile is stage 18 of the 2013 Tour, which was the 100 edition of the race. This stage started in the town of Gap and ended with the awe-inspiring mountain climb up Alpe-d'Huez. The stage winner was Matteo Trentin, and the overall race winner was Chris Froome.  He also won this year in a fantastic race!

It was nice to have this one quilted for the final stages of the Tour de France this year! I matched my binding to each of the background colors which was new for me and used solid grey for the remainder of the binding. The quilting is fairly simple, but since each of the background colors represent each of the major jerseys in the Tour, I wanted to have the quilting in each section reflect that.   

White for the best young riders: Quilted a modified TDF logo

Green for the sprint points: Quilted bike wheels sprinting for the finish line

Polka dots for the King of the Mountain: Quilted mountain peaks

Yellow for the overall race leader: Quilted in Eiffel Tower & Arc d'Triomphe as the race finishes in Paris