Sunday, September 16, 2018

Scrappy Trips Top

 I made the most of the first NFL football Sunday last week and finished all of my Scrappy Trips blocks. I got busy yesterday and sewed them all together! It is about 72 inches square. I used a free pattern, you can find here:
I dug into my stash and found an orange and white to use for a backing which means I have not bought anything specifically for this one--it is completely from my stash! I think I will quilt it on the diagonals using the wavy stitch on my Pfaff. I don't have any specific plans for this quilt--I'm not sure if I will keep it or pass it on...Quilts always seem to end up where they belong.
 My top for the Fat Quarter Shop's Fat Eighth Fruitcake Quilt Along is complete. I can't reveal it yet, but I used mostly Smitten fabrics.  I ordered this red gingham backing from Connecting Threads--it is a wide one, so no piecing! I haven't figured out the quilting for it yet, but there is still time. I plan on slowing down since it is Sunday and embroidering labels for this one and the Scrappy Trips.
 I got my Smitten Fat Quarter Bundle in the mail this week. I preordered it back in July. Now, I have eight untouched Bonnie and Camille bundles--why can't I bring myself to use them? 
My daughter went with her study group to Scotland this weekend. She went there last Thanksgiving too, but for this visit they made it out to the Highlands and to a whisky distillery--both things she didn't get to do on her prior visit. That makes four countries in a month! Have a great week!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Ready for Some Football!

We are so excited about the new football season in my family! I made this Broncos quilt last year, but I only finished it at the end of the season. We can't wait for it to be cold enough to cuddle under this and watch our Broncos. For now, I am geared up in shorts and a Bronco t-shirt and plan on spending the day in my sewing room with NFL Red Zone on and quilting.
I have this lonely leftover football block that I think I am going to turn into a door banner today. I am a little obsessed!
I have my Fat Quarter Shop secret sewing ready for the quilter and the other project complete which means I had time to get back to work on my Scrappy Trips blocks. I have 27 blocks done and I plan on making 36--9 more to go!
Have you found the new Quilt Sampler yet? I picked it up yesterday and I am excited to check out some exciting quilt shops all over the country--there is one in the Denver area I will check out the next time I am in Denver...
We have seven apple trees--our own mini orchard. Each tree is a different variety. My favorite is the Granny Smith--partly because I have always loved tart, crisp apples, but mostly because it is the biggest tree and I spend lots of time with our dogs sitting under it in the shade reading. Our dogs love to eat the fallen apples and play with them. The little apple is a Granny Smith, but the bigger apple from another tree was a treat with our dinner last night--I am not sure of the variety. I am going to make some apple sauce in my Instant Pot this week. I am so glad fall is finally arriving!
My daughter is enjoying her semester in London. She sent me this picture from the flower market with these amazing sunflowers from last weekend.
This weekend, she and a few friends flew to Oslo, Norway to check it out before it gets too cold. Both my hubby and I have Norwegian ancestry, so Viking blood runs in her and we are thrilled she is exploring. She is going back to Scotland next--this visit is included in the school's study group curriculum and then she is off to Munich for October Fest. Don't worry, she is studying too for her three economics classes and one theater class; their academic schedule is designed to accommodate travel and exploration!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Quilters Meet & Greet

Greetings! A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Benita Skinner
asking if I wanted to participate in her Quilters Meet & Greet she was planning for September. 
I was honored to be invited and jumped at the chance. She asked us to select our favorite quilt to share--this is so difficult for me! Quilts are like children and you can't pick a favorite unless you only have one. One of my current favorites is my Spelling Bee--it is not even complete, but I love it dearly. It was designed by one of my favorite quilters, Lori Holt from Bee in My Bonnet. I am working on the backing and then hope to have this quilted and done soon.
 My favorite quilts tend to be scrappy. This is my Kona Kaleidoscope Stars I finished up this summer. I made it from my Kona leftovers from the quilt below.  I used a minky backing because it is so soft, but it is a challenge to work with due to all the stretching. I quilted it on the diagonals and used my domestic Pfaff. It was finally cool enough the other night to cuddle under it and it was luxurious!
This is my Postcard from Sweden Quilt I also finished this summer and quilted it horizontally. I had never made an all solids quilt before, but I am in love with it!
Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to quilt for the Fat Quarter Shop. I recently finished up this beautiful quilt, Clementine. Currently, I am working on two secret projects for them both using Bonnie and Camille fabrics that will be revealed in October, so be sure to check back.
Benita insisted we include a picture--so here I am. I live in western Colorado with my hubby and three dogs. We live in the country on a couple of acres--I love living in the country even if it means early morning buzzes from the crop duster and random gunshots.
Our daughter (the one in yellow) is off at college and is spending this semester in London.
I plan on surprising her with this Jumping Jacks Quilt in some of my favorite Bonnie and Camille florals when she returns in mid-December. 
The party lasts all of September and there are prizes, so take some time to check everyone out!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

FQS Fat Eighth Fruitcake

I survived my first week back at work! It was lots of meetings and paperwork--the kids don't come until Thursday. I even managed to come home and sew a couple of evenings. I received a Bonnie & Camille Smitten Fat Eighth bundle and a background for one of their shortcut quilt projects--Fat Eighth Fruitcake Quilt. It will tentatively be revealed on October 23rd. Friday night, I drank a glass of wine and headed to my sewing room to start cutting it out. These are mostly Smitten fabrics, but I added in a couple of other B&C fabrics. All 30 of my blocks are almost done--that proves it is definitely a fast one. I have another quick project that is also secret sewing for the Fat Quarter Shop and I will probably use the scraps leftover from this one for it too...No B&C scraps go to waste at my house!
 While I headed back to work this week, my daughter ventured to Iceland! She scheduled a stop over there for a couple of days on her way to London. She traveled alone in celebration of her 20th birthday--and she loved solo traveling. One day she spent touring Reykjavik
 and the next day, she took a horseback tour of the Golden Circle. Then, she caught an early flight the next day to London. She will be in London for the whole semester and already has trips scheduled for  Venice, Munich for October Fest, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Spain. Several of her friends are also on their semester's abroad, so she will be meeting them all over Europe and taking advantage of staying with them. She loves to travel and spent her summer working to pay for it. I am so excited for her adventures!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Back to Work

Tomorrow is my official report to work day, but I have already been easing in by organizing my classrooms. This amazing Cow Quilt was made by my mom for a local charity silent auction. She used Lori Holt's cow and zinnia patterns as well as the flying geese blocks found in Lori's Farm Girl Vintage book. The charity is our local children's shelter and they are having a barn dance/silent auction in September.  Since we live in ranch country, she thought the cows would be appropriate with the locals and the barn theme. I know the people who own the gorgeous barn venue where the event is being held and I suspect this will be staying with them! While she was over, we dug into my black and whites tub for another cow quilt she is making with black and white cows. This is for sure on my make one list and hopefully soon!
I have been working on these Scrappy Trips blocks--I am planning on 36 blocks and so far I have made 17. Each block takes awhile despite making them from strip sets. I am using this free pattern from Bonnie Hunter
I have a white going down the diagonals of my blocks, but the pattern does not show this. 
I will be cranking out some more today as I binge watch Bosch on Amazon Prime and enjoy my last day of summer.
I also need to spend some time today slow stitching this label for my Spelling Bee Quilt.
If all you are interested in is quilting, stop reading now. The rest is about my teaching...
At one of my schools, the principal gave of us this fascinating book they are going to be using this year for professional development. I have been teaching for 23 years and I know I connect really well with kids and enjoy teaching, but this book gave me some insights as to why. We took an online quiz where you had to answer each question within 20 seconds. The quiz figured out your top five strengths, then you read about your strengths in the book so you can focus on them more in your teaching. My strengths were:  competition, strategic, achiever, relator, and significance. The achiever and competition were no surprise as well as the relator--I win kids over and make them want to learn and perform for me. I see many of these same strengths in my quilting habits too!
When you work at three schools, you have to take some shortcuts when setting up your classrooms especially when your room is shared and used by other people when you are not there. I really like to use black and white and then an accent color to spice things up. I love aqua/turquoise, so that is my accent color. We have to post our daily learning objective for each subject, so I had my hubby spray paint some clipboards black to hold my laminated aqua card stock. He made me three sets! The tissue paper flower I found on Pinterest and I have made a bunch of them--they are inexpensive and can add an extra dimension and pop of color.
I bought a roll of bulletin board paper that looks like barn wood. This room is used for a conference room when I am not there, so I was trying to keep things looking clean and organized.
I painted the paper mache READ letters myself--for on top of this bookshelf. I made another set in aqua for a different room and I am not sure if I have space for some in the last room. I still need to alphabetize my books--another bookshelf collapsed last year and the custodians just shoved my books into this replacement.
I strongly believe that the right books turn kids into lifelong readers, so I have this wall space labeled with each student's name so they can put a post it up with what book they are reading. My name is up there too--I read kids books and try to guide kids to books I think they will enjoy. The more the kids talk about their reading with one another, the more they read!
I actually have to move out of this room midyear, so I like to make banners because they are easier to take down and relocate. I think this simple "Choose Kind" banner says how I expect the kids to behave...I need to remember this as I sit in lots of challenging meetings this week!

Friday, August 10, 2018

August Is Awkward

August is always awkward because it is still summer, but back to school looms! I start to prepare for my back to school--working at three schools means three classrooms to set up. I move away from quilting mode to back to school mode. I finished all of my Summerville quilt blocks, but I have not sewn them together yet. I am not sure if I am going to make it 70 inches square as the kit is designed or go bigger with extra blocks or a border, so it is in limbo.
Our garden is producing lots of zucchini, so I have been making delicious zucchini bread as well as stuffed zucchini. The tomatoes are trickling in and the peppers are kind of pathetic--it has just been too hot for them.
We had a going away gathering last night for a colleague who is moving. She loves green so I used some of my leftover half square triangles from my Clementine quilt to make her a zip pouch.
This is the back of the pouch and I lined it with the same left over Clementine fabric.
I saw this Scrappy Trips quilt on IG--an oldie from Sherri @aquiltinglife and I want to make one of my own--isn't it gorgeous? The pattern is a freebie you can find here:
I want to make 36 blocks, so I need 180 color strips 2.5"x 16.5" inches along with 36 strips in white because I want my blocks to have a center diagonal of white. I have been slowly cutting my way through the color tubs in my stash. I hope to finish up the cutting and start sewing the strip sets this weekend.

I also have a few projects for my classrooms--painting some clipboards, painting some paper mache letters, cutting some bulletin board goodies, etc. I like prepping my classrooms ahead of time because then I can actually focus on the teaching if my classroom environment is organized, clean, and cute--kids appreciate it too. I report to work on Monday, 8/20--I will try to enjoy my last week of summer!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Clementine Quilt Finish

It has been such an honor and a thrill to sew for the Fat Quarter Shop as part of their 2018 Clementine Quilt Along.  They provided me with these beautiful Mama's Cottage fabrics designed by April Rosenthal to create this gorgeous quilt also designed by April. All of the patterns can be found here:
The Fat Quarter Shop was using this quilt along as a fundraiser for St. Jude and you can donate to that here:
 This quilt is a big one measuring approximately 70"x 90".
 I usually just take pictures on my garden fence or on the clothes line in my side yard, but since this is such a special project I ventured to a local park where there is a pretty bridge and gazebo. In theory, it was a good idea. However, there was a very territorial goose that chased me around and both the bridge and gazebo were covered in lots of bird droppings.
 I still managed a couple of decent shots, but next time I try I better bring some goodies for the goose and a sheet to protect my quilt!
 I had been planning on quilting this myself with a Baptist Fan pattern all over, but my mom's longarm died on me and is now in the shop for an expensive repair. A wonderful local lady stepped up and quilted it for me. I was so grateful for her quilting it for me I left the design up to her. Her machine is computerized and she selected a loopy flower pattern for the blocks and did loops in the border.
 I love what she did! I have not washed it yet, but it will definitely develop more crinkly goodness.
 The backing is a very retro 50's looking print with all of the cheerful colors from the front.
You can check out everyone's versions of Clementine by using these links and/or their Instagram accounts:
April of April Rosenthal (@amrosenthal)
Bonnie of Sunset Family Living (@sunsetfamilyliving)
Cara of That Crafty Cara (@thatcraftycara)
Carrie of Moda Cutting Table (@modafabrics)
Denise of Pieced Brain (@piecedbrain)
Elise of Elise and Emelie (@eliseandemelie)
Gina of Carpe Quiltin (@gina_tell_carpequiltin)
Heather of A Creative Pursuit (@acreativemama)
Hilary of By Hilary Jordan (@byhilaryjordan)
Jan of Cocoa Quilts (@cocoaquilts)
Jen of Heritage Threads (@heritage.threads)
Joanne of Quilts by Joanne (@turtlequilterjo)
Kairle of Kairle Oaks Handcrafted Goodness(@kairleoaks)
Kendra of Good Starter (@good_starter)
Kristen of 3 in the Nest (@threeinthenestraleigh)
Kristina of Center Street Quilts (@centerstreetquilts)
Leah of Ponderings from My Heart(@ponderingsfrommyheart)
Melanie of A Bit of Scrap Stuff (@mellierc)
Melissa of Happy Quilting (@happyquiltingmc)
Pat of Pat Sloan (@quilterpatsloan)
Pat B. of Life in the Scrapatch (@scrapatches)
Patty of Elm Street Quilts (@elmstreetquilts)
Rebecca of One Wee Bird (@oneweebird)
Sarah of 123 Quilt (@123quilt)
Seema of SSK Craft Shop (@sskcraftshop)
Sherri of A Quilting Life (@aquiltinglife)
Sondra of Out of the Blue Quilts (@sondradavison)
Stephanie of Quilt 'n Party (@quiltnparty)
Teresa of Aurea's Kitchen (@aureaskitchen)
Vickie of Crocheting Vixen (@crochetingvixen)
With Clementine completed and two other quilts dropped of to longarm quilters, it is time to start a new project---I cut out everything for Summerville using Bonnie and Camille's Vintage Picnic fabrics. I am in love with this one already!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sweet Inspiration

Greetings! I had the pleasure of helping my friend run her booth at our local Black Canyon Quilt Show the last couple of days. I also had a chance to wander around and check out some of the quilts. I tend to like more modern quilts than we have locally, but I found a few that I really loved. Of course, I was in love with this Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Forest Quilt. Everything about it was beautiful--the colors, the piecing, and the all over quilting. I have made several small Elizabeth Hartman projects, but I would love to tackle a bigger one like this soon.
I love rainbow quilts and was immediately attracted to this one.
 This top was in my friend's booth--it is her version of a Modern Drunkard's Path. She used Amy Butler fabrics and I love it, but curves intimidate me greatly. She is planning on having a class and depending when it is I may just have to try it!
 I spent most of this week prepping UFOs for quilting--I prepped six. I found these blocks from Carole's Scrap Dance Two Step Mystery a couple of years ago. I got them together and added the outer borders. It is 72 inches square. Two teachers I work with are getting married in a couple of weeks and I think this will be a lovely gift for their new family.
I needed a backing for it and I found this green swirl--it is much prettier than my picture! The best thing about it was the price $2.69 a yard. I bought it all! I am going to deliver this to my friend with her new longarm later this week to quilt--I hope she has fun playing with it!
Today, I have an appointment with another longarm quilter in town. She has macular degeneration and can no longer see well enough to bind her quilts. Her son has taken over the long arming business (they have quilted two quilts for me before and have the machine that loads the whole top on a frame and quilts an overall design on a king sized quilt in about an hour), so he is going to quilt my Farm Girl Vintage Quilt for me and I will bind for his mother--I love the bartering system. She has a queen sized quilt I am picking up and they also have another customer who wants me to bind a king sized quilt for her, so I am meeting her and picking her quilt up too. 

For Amazon Prime Day, I bought an Instant Pot for $59! Talk about a super bargain. I have a large kitchen with tons of storage, so I have the room for it and I think it will help with my cooking--I don't need to plan ahead as much. I tried this recipe the other night:
My chicken breasts went into the Instant Pot rock hard and covered in ice crystals, but cooked in 15 minutes and came out moist and delicious. I had a taco salad and my hubby had a quesadilla with our chicken--we were both thrilled with the new Instant Pot! Do you have an Instant Pot recipe I need? Please share!