Thursday, September 26, 2013

September finish

Time to check in for the end of September with my monthly goals! September has flown by. I'm linking up with Sew Bittersweet's Year of Lovely Finishes.

1--appliqué the rescue vehicles wheels. Yay! All finished!

I removed the paper foundations prior to starting the appliqué satin-stitching. Not a good idea, I learned! 

The fabric started puckering underneath the wheels and the wheels themselves drew up a bit.

I had lots of scraps of tear-away stabilizer left from machine-embroidering the block of the month, so I tore off strips and used a glue stick to stick them on while I satin-stitched.

Here you can see on the left, that I didn't have stabilizer and the fabric drew in. On the right are the stabizer strips, and the fabric laid much flatter with less draw-in.

2--I know I said I'd complete four whole Swoon blocks, but it took a different direction. Instead, I was able to finish all the HST and flying geese units for all the blocks. That's a lot of prep work for 8 big blocks. So, I count that as a finish and an accomplishment!

I like putting each block (with all its patches and units) into separate baggies. It really helps keep myself organized, and from getting mixed up with so many pieces and units.

Also, I hate waste, so I created lots of bonus HST from the flying geese. Here they are in a big Baggie. I asked Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville, the scrap queen, for help with block ideas from HST. As always, she delivered! She sent along a chart she found on Pinterest, and another reader of hers pointed me to Quiltmaker Magazine's article on the same topic. Wow, I can't believe I missed that one--until I saw it was at the back of the issue. Check it out on page 75 of the March/April 2013 Quiltmaker magazine.

Thanks Bonnie and friends!

I still have a few days until the end of the month, so maybe I will be able to sew together a whole Swoon block or two.

Although, I need to take a break for a couple of baby shower gifts.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's a Boy! Color scheme help!

Alright friends, here's the big announcement: this baby is a BOY! Pretty unmistakable! The little guy definitely didn't like being poked and prodded and measured during the ultrasound.

My hubby is proud to have a third son. While I'm proud and still very excited, I am disappointed too. This is our last child, and I really did want a girl.

That being said, I'm trying to move forward and keep planning.

I'm looking for help with color combos for this baby's quilt !!!!

I'm planning to stick with my favorite plan: a star sampler of twelve 12" blocks,  in a 3x4 grid, framed by 2" sashing all around. I want a dark background with a medium accent for sashing and blocks, and three shades of yellow/gold for the stars.

I have already done blue-yellow, and green-yellow. I'm hesitant to do red-yellow, because S.'s favorite color is red, I'm working on his red Swoon right now, and I want a rest from all of this firefighter red.

Here's my first, for S.

Here's my second, for J., with him showing off.

What other colors can I do for a boy?

I did really fall in love with the grey-yellow palette that I used for my coworker's baby quilt.

And do you think a "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" quilt is appropriate for a baby girl quilt? Where the baby shower theme is "Please bring your favorite children's book" for the first-time mom to build her library.

I think I would make it a bit bigger, though. And maybe use pink or purple for the sashes.
This is the quickest quilt that I have completed to date. That might be good, because the baby shower is a week away!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Making a bit of a mess

I'm trying to take things slowly, to take lots of rests, to help my wrists heal. It feels agonizingly ponderous, because I'm so anxious to see some real progress on my projects. I have so many ideas and so many many friends and family members having babies that I want to make gifts for....not to mention my own baby to prepare for!

And the way my body feels is not helping, either. My body doesn't handle being pregnant well. I'm exhausted all the time. Frequent headaches and dizziness happen often, and that makes it difficult for me to think clearly or pay attention. I'm coming to accept everyday naps as par for the course. And my doctor tells me that joint conditions and aches can be compounded during pregnancy. My wrists and the rest of my body make it difficult for me to work quickly.

One of my favorite sites, the Pregnant Chicken, posted this picture recently. I laughed out loud, because I happened to be feeling pretty badly that day, and it really cheered me up!

Don't get me wrong--I want this baby with all my heart, and I'm so very excited! And I hope that I don't sound complaining or ungrateful for this life growing inside me. I thought I had prepared myself for the pregnancy experience, seeing as my last two were difficult. It's still hard though, and being honest about how you actually feel during pregnancy is rare.

So back to quilting progress!

I've been chain-piecing as many Swoon block units as I can, in short bursts. Even holding my new, very lightweight iron can make my wrist ache. I need to get a better angle or something. 

The part I'm dreading is the trimming of the HSTs and the flying geese. There are so, so many in each Swoon block. I tried to get started trimming tonight, while watching tv, just to take it slowly. (it's not hard to take trimming slowly!). It takes a lot of pressure to hold the square-up ruler steady with one hand, and a lot of pressure to hold a rotary cutter steady with the other hand. I got through two blocks tonight, before my grip gave out in the middle of a cut, and my hand nearly overtook the open blade as I dropped the cutter. Pretty scary!  It was time to quit for the night.

Here's my little pile of messy trimmings!
Anybody want to take care of the trimming for me?  :-)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Remembering 9/11

Wow. 12 years later, and the disasters still horrify and fascinate and pain is still fresh.
Once again, my brother-in-law is posting FB pictures of dad's friends and fellow firefighters that perished in the towers on 9/11.
Here are some of my favorite pictures gleaned from Facebook first thing this morning.

Here is big brother, heading off to the school bus this morning. This is one of our favorite shirts. Daddy went on shift at the fire station this morning. We also have versions of this shirt that say "grandpa" and "uncle" too. "I wanna be a firefighter just like my dad"

This morning, I took little brother down to the city Memorial Park for our city's memorial service. Little brother just wanted to play on the playground as I sat and listened to the program.
Then I tried taking him to story time at the library, and that didn't go over well. I spent the afternoon after lunch, watching little brother and his best little friend running around playing. I was sitting in the sofa, marking HST and flying geese for the remaining Swoon blocks.

After I put the little guys to bed, I opened up my new iron, set up my portable table and portable Olfa cutting/ironing board, and turned on the History Channel to programs for remembering 9/11. (I am watching another one now: Miracle of Stairway B.)  I settled in to fuse tires and hubcaps to rescue vehicles.

(The little blue finger-cover is a new silicone finger-protector. More in those at a later time.)

I used paper towels as a pressing cloth. At least I could toss them if they were sticky with extra fusible web.

Then I worked on pressing HST and flying geese for two Swoon blocks. And then I pressed the bonus HST as well.

I felt that working on my own rescue vehicles was an appropriate way to remember the terrorist attacks and the 343 firefighters that lost their lives, tryi g to save the almost 3,000 others that lost their lives, too.
Goodnight all. May you keep the families and friends of those who died in the towers, in the planes, and in the Pentagon in your prayers.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sister Swap received!

My "It's a Sister Thing" swap gift came in the mail the other day. It was such fun opening it with little brother...he loves presents, too! We were both excited.

My gift came from Melissa at Her note was so sweet as she explained her choices.

First, a fun Christmas-themed Loony Toons apron. I enjoy cooking and baking, and I can just see myself having fun this Christmas, making my hubby's favorite butter cookies in this apron!

See that adorable little Christmas stocking? How sweet of Melissa to think of the upcoming baby and something to represent it for this Christmas.

Then, she created this darling rainbow charm receiving blanket! It has a bright yellow fleecy backing. It will be perfect whether I'm having a boy or a girl.
An added fun note?! This exact purple paisley is one I recently used for another baby quilt. I still have some left, because I love it. Little brother recognized it, too.

Little brother had to sit and point and tell me all the colors of the rainbow with this quilt.

And lastly, Melissa included two pieces of fabric from her stash. One is a darling pink/brown stripe, and the other a blue with stars and streamers--very patriotic and boy-looking, too. How thoughtful of her to include pieces I could incorporate into my sewing/quilting wish list for the baby, whichever gender it turns out to be.

All-in-all, a very fun mail day!  Thank you so much, Melissa!

I can't wait until my sister receives her package. I'm not going to tell who it is, until I see her posting!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September goals

September already, and Labor Day is done. Time to set some goals!

1--cut and appliqué the tires onto the rescue vehicles.
2-- If I'm lucky or ambitious, or whatever, cut borders and start piecing the rescue vehicles into the borders. The rest of the quilt top will go together quickly with those borders!
3--Piece at least 4 Swoon blocks, one each week of the month.
4--Try to start baby quilts for coworkers and my sister-in-law, and baby girls. I want to use some jelly roll strips.

I'm excited, because my brother was able to fly in from Korea, his current tour in the Air Force, to be there when his baby was born yesterday! She is a beautiful chubby little girl with dark hair. Mommy and baby are great and daddy is proud! They have three sons already and are so excited for their first girl! So I guess I'm already behind on that gift.

After the salsa, I'm still pretty disabled. My wrists and hands are still swollen, but getting more flexible. My fingers and hands still go numb and tingly at odd moments and long periods of time. I haven't been able to do much, but last night, I managed to sew the bumper/background strips to the rescue vehicles. I also fused the Wonder Under to the fabric for the tires and hubcaps. All of that didn't seem to hurt my wrists too much. I went slowly and took breaks. 

Thank goodness that I already have all the pieces cut for the Swoon blocks. That should help reduce stress. And using jelly roll strips for baby quilts should help, too.

Oh, and I'm not forgetting that I have two more weeks till I can find out what my own baby will be! That will definitely dictate what I can get started sewing for my own baby.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August finish

August fly by so fast!
My birthday month is done, so it's time to see what I accomplished.

1--Secret-Sister Swap project done, and sent in the mail. I can't wait to see what she thinks! The participants should blog when they receive their gifts, so I will post again when I see that my sister has received hers from me.

2--I finished my experiment into bag-making and zippers in pouches/bags. I received an answer from Coats and Clark's Facebook: the zipper made up the difference of the pouch length--I used a regular poly zipper, and the pattern called for a larger, thicker "fashion" zipper. It wasn't a typo, and it wasn't me cutting wrong!

3--I finished paper-piecing all the rescue vehicles! It took me 3 nights to finish the ladder sections of the ladder truck, and a few hours to join all the sections. Then I cut the bumper and background strips.
It was the last week of the month, but I was taking my time--I need relax time, not more rush time. And I just can't seem to make myself do anything quickly these days....18 weeks pregnant now and I'm just sluggish!

3--I made salsa of Friday! It's my second year with this recipe, and I tossed in more seeds from peppers, so it turned out with just the right amount of heat for me. I need mild, with just a mild kick and warmth--I like to taste the salsa and the food it's on, not just burn!

It took me from 07:30 to midnight. Lots of stops for taking care of me and the boys. It took me till 4:30 in the afternoon just to finish peeling and chopping tomatoes and onions. I prepped the peppers, adding in the seeds, then used the pulse on the food processor, since my wrists and fingers were sore. All the veggies finally got mixed together and I started cooking. It was finally ready to bottle and start processing in the boiling water canner at 10:30. I finished up the last batch at 12:15 am and washed the million pots and bowls and strainers.

I accomplished 14 pint jars of salsa, and 6 pints of tomato juice (draining the tomatoes and onions--I like chunky, not runny salsa).

Here's the juice. Don't you love the cute star block-printed towel set that I have!?

My body is still very sore, and I really overdid it. I aggravated the tendinitis, and my hands go alternately numb and super-tingly every few minutes. I woke up Saturday morning, and couldn't open or close my hands, with the swelling and numbness. I have no strength in my grip, so I couldn't even hold my phone to type and write a post till today. Tylenol is the only medicine I can take while pregnant, so no ibuprofen to help with the swelling.

Hubby got home from the fire station this morning, so I guess he's cooking tonight!