Saturday, September 23, 2017

Have You Tried a Meal Delivery Service?

First, let's define terms! In my culinary corner of the world, there are two types of meal delivery. One is dinner already made and ready to reheat -- thank you, Jamie! The other is delivered with recipes and just about everything you need to cook them. All you have to provide is olive oil, salt, pepper, and once in a while an egg or two.

We've used three of those services; the first one we tried was Plated because the daughter of a friend of ours works for the company and sent us a free week. I loved the concept, we enjoyed the meals and I learned to be a better cook. I've done several posts on various Plated meals.

Somewhere in the beginning, we took advantage of a discount offer and tried Hello Fresh. After two weeks, we decided we preferred Plated because the meal choices were more to our liking. At least for the weeks we participated, Hello Fresh food was simpler and more "down home". We don't have kids eating with us so usually choose dishes that are spicier and have more complex flavors.

If you're thinking about trying one of these, Reviews.com has done a fair and thoughtful job of comparing the most popular plans out there. It's a good read and definitely worth the time to peruse it. Just go to http://www.reviews.com/meal-delivery-service/ to get the total scoop.

Meanwhile, after a year of enjoying Plated, we've moved on to another company called Sun Basket, but that's a subject for another blog post! Last night's dinner was SO easy! Dan grilled the steaks while I tossed together organic baby kale, artichoke hearts and pitted Kalamata olives in a bit of balsamic and olive oil. Thank you, Sun Basket!

Accompanied by a really good red!

Got where I wanted to be yesterday; I had set a goal of getting the top half of the quilt together. Today I would like to get the three remaining sashings pieced, so we'll see how that goes. I don't have all day to sew because we're having dinner out with friends tonight and the restaurant is in Los Angeles, about an hour and a half drive.

We're enjoying a few days of cool fall weather, although temps are going to steadily increase next week until we're back in the 90's. But it was really nice to have the first fireplace evening last night. A glass of wine, a fire, good dinner with my hubby and a productive day of piecing -- does life get better than this?

Friday, September 22, 2017

First Day of Fall

Yay! I am SO ready for fall! Not a hot weather girl and living in the southern California high desert area I'm usually ready for fall by mid-June. We've had exceptionally warm weather all summer long, but yesterday the high was 67 and it even rained a little -- special treat!


It was chilly this morning so when Dan got up at 5 he threw this leaf quilt on the bed so I wouldn't wake up cold. He's totally a keeper!


Got into the sewing room around 8 and started the blocks of the day....


Two more finished!


Then started pressing and trimming yesterday's leader/ender blocks.


Now that I'm close to being done with this step, I realized the cutting would be a whole lot easier with the rotating mat. I have the 12" and am considering investing in the 17". I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as it is truly an investment.


Pressing and trimming done...then Dan wandered upstairs and declared today a Scone Day! Gave him the choices of lemon ginger, pumpkin spice and mixed berry; he decided today felt like a very berry day.


The dish to celebrate the change of seasons is from Longaberger pottery collection.


Next up, pressing the three sashing strips to make up the next row of the quilt I'm making for Rhonda.


I did have time yesterday to get the sashing strip unit made and attached to the top of the second row. My goal for today is to piece and attach the next two strip units and sew half the quilt together. I know, I'm getting ambitious!

Again, thoughts on the 17" rotating mat -- do you use yours enough to make it worth the $?


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Changed My Mind

I know -- that never happens to you, right? You decide to work on one project and then somehow your head gets turned by something else?


Finished the last block in the minions quilt and temporarily set them aside since my floor is still covered with my main focus of the day quilt that I'm making for Rhonda. Had picked Pixellations to work on as my next block of the day project and then started thinking about ordering the two white fabrics in the line -- what if they don't match the two 1/4 yard cuts I already have? Then I wouldn't be terribly happy about getting started now.


So I picked this quilt as my Block of the Day, the very first thing I make when I go to the sewing room. These blocks are so easy, I'm going to do two instead of one.


I saw this quilt made up in Halloween fabrics at my local quilt store, Bolts in the Bathtub, so I bought the book, a Halloween jelly roll and some cream polka dots for the background


Made a couple of blocks this morning, then trimmed down the blocks produced yesterday with my leader/ender method. This is only the second L/E quilt I've pieced, but I've figured out some rules.


One of those rules is that the stitching can be done with any of the five thread colors that I normally use for piecing. It wouldn't be a very good leader/ender quilt if you had to keep changing thread! I would think that would totally defeat the purpose! Another rule is that the quilt should be fairly simple and not take a lot of pinning, etc. The first one I did was perfect for that, just a bunch of squares...


 

And above is the layout of Rhonda's quilt and what I got done yesterday. This is slower than a lot of the piecing I do, so all I got done all afternoon was the top sashing unit and getting it sewn on to that top row. I just finished piecing the three long sashings that make up the unit that goes between rows 1 and 2, so now have to piece them together to make that unit and then sew them to the bottom of row 1 and the top of row 2. Would love to get that done today, but it's already close to 3:30, so......

Back to the machine!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

October 7-8, Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show

Fun home sewing time is almost over! My next trip is to the Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show, held at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie NY. I'll be demonstrating the Westalee rulers in the Sew and Vac booth; love this kind of demo because I get to meet and talk with a lot of people during the two days.

Two things make this a trip I'm especially looking forward to: 1) My lovely and talented friend Teri Lucas will be there sharing her free motion quilting magic, and 2) It's fall! Leaves should be glorious in upstate New York, right?

Teri and I first met as teachers at an AQS show in Knoxville several years ago. I love her work, her dedication to our craft and her snarky sense of humor. You can check out her blog HERE!


Yesterday, I made the 11th of 12 minion blocks, just one to go!


Then pressed and trimmed the blocks for the latest leader/ender quilt. This quilt may be a little complex to use as a L/E, but this is only my second one, so sort of learning as I go here.


Got to work on the main focus of the day; rows are sewn together, although I still need a few more pieced sashings for the ends of some of these rows. My latest calculations reveal that I have to piece approximately 72,605 plus signs to finish this quilt. And did I mention they're not quick to piece? I was planning to give this quilt to Rhonda for her birthday; well, that was in August...now thinking about Christmas.


Cleaned up all the black fuzz and thread bits and changed to my favorite light colored piecing thread, Mettler Silk Finish 100% cotton 60 weight thread in color 3000, a versatile off-white. Then I played with scraps from Paper Pinwheels to start piecing the back. Still haven't decided on border widths for the quilt yet, though.

Today is a "no appointments, no plans" day, so off to the sewing room I go!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Notes for Monday


First, the minion block of the day, then I pulled out a project that I started in June and put away for a couple of months.


This is a gift for my friend Rhonda Lopez. In late spring, she and her husband Steve bought a toy hauler and did some camping with the family over the summer. They call it their tiny house and I think it needs a quilt.


I bought a layer cake and some charm packs along with a black honey bun for the block borders and sashings. Well, let me just say that I didn't know the lint roller trick? And every time I work on this quilt, little black fuzzy dots are all over the ironing board, work table, sewing machine and cabinet, and me! What a mess!


Blocks are done and I've made 31 of these so far to use as vertical sashings between the blocks, so I have enough to do the layout and start sewing rows. I would love to get that done today and then resume the sashings. They have a lot of little pieces so aren't fast to make.


The last thing I did yesterday afternoon was play with fabric. I saw this quilt pattern in issue 51 of Love Patchwork and Quilting; it was made with the Blueberry Park line designed by Karen Lewis. I've already pieced two quilts with these fabrics and love them! Didn't have enough, though, for this quilt so I ordered a stash builder from Craftsy -- looks like there is every fabric in this huge line! Yay! There are some fat eighths, fat quarters and other larger cuts.

 


Pulled all of these (39) for Pixelated and still have 40 more cuts. Need more of the whites so ordered those. Think I might start this as a "row of the day" when I finish the minions blocks. 


Too much fabric, too little time! Need to lint roll the ironing board and make the block of the day...


Monday, September 18, 2017

Yesterday's Notes

Another sewing day -- yay! Fortunately, Dan had plenty of stuff to keep him busy so I got a few hours in.


First up, the daily minion star block. Those will be done on Wednesday and then I think I'll pick another daily block; that worked out nicely.


Secondly, finished piecing the body of the Paper Pinwheels quilt. Called Dawna Harrison (for those of you new to the blog, Dawna is co-owner of Bolts in the Bathtub, my local quilt shop) for a quick border width consult, but she's in Chicago learning all about the BERNINA 16 needle embroidery machines.

The quilt is only 48"x60" at this point and I definitely want to highlight the fun border print.

Suggestions?


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Organizing Goals?

Funny what can happen while you're getting your hair done -- I was at Montage with Krista Victory styling my hair when we started discussing planners and the best ones out there to control a busy life. Krista had bought a pack of planners and was using two out of the three, so she gave me the mid size one, which turns out to be perfect!


So this is the part where I put in appointments, the never ending To Do list and log my activities for the day.


I found this free printable on www.aquiltinglife.com and use it to keep track of what I'm trying to do on a weekly basis. (I'll be willing to bet that my fabulous assistant, Monica, wishes I were using a "Blogging This Week" form -- go ahead, Monica, and design one!) It prints out at 8-1/2"x11" and my planner is 9"x7", so I took it to Staples and printed out a bunch at 84% (which I found out from planner bloggers is the "magic" numnber), punched them and inserted them right into each week of my planner. I've been using it for three weeks now and just noticed the column "Organizing Goals for the Week" -- really? When I'm traveling, I'm one of the most organized people ever, but at home?

Then I started thinking about all of my works in progress and how they are stored in various places in the house, garage, etc. Maybe I should do a binder that logs all this?


Another Staples run, a trip to Etsy to find a Project Planner form that I liked, and maybe I'll get some of this mess under control! A friend of mine, who wishes to remain nameless, told me she has 114 unfinished projects. When she said that, I knew I needed to corral mine -- I have no idea how many UFOs I have. Living in southern California, I tend to piece and design during the summer when it's hot and quilt when the weather cools down, usually around Halloween, until it heats up again around Easter. So right now I'm in piecing mode, filling out a Project Planner form for everything I touch, and filing it according to the stage it is in.

How do you organize your UFO's? Or are you one of these people that starts a project and follows it right through until you're finished? Any good ideas to incorporate into my system? I need help here!


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Observing National Jelly Roll Day

Have you seen all the sales at your local quilt store as well as online? They're all featuring jelly rolls because it is National Jelly Roll Day! So to participate in this venerated holiday, I pulled out a project that I started in January at the Pieceful Hearts Quilters Guild retreat in South Carolina. I had purchased all the fabric at Spool when I taught there a year or so ago and got all of the 6" blocks sewn at the retreat.


The pattern is Paper Pinwheels from the September/October 2015 issue of Fons & Porter's Quilting Quickly. The pattern calls for 70 strips of the background fabric, making a quilt that finishes at 60"x84" and has no borders. I chose to make 80 blocks using only one jelly roll of the background, Modern Background Paper from Zen Chic for Moda. My quilt will finish at 48"x60" before borders. The pinwheels are a turquoise grunge, also from Moda.


This is what it looks like now after a couple of hours of laying out the blocks and sewing.


I think an inner border of the turquoise grunge fabric followed by the final border with the superheroine fabric -- all girls! -- will be perfect, although I don't know how wide I want them yet. When I bought these, I was thinking that newspaper prints plus comics would be a winning combo.
What do you think? And shouldn't the binding be turquoise?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Now I'm a Westalee Accredited Teacher!

I've got some great pictures to share with you later, after I plug everybody into their chargers and my iPhone gets down to sharing pics with the iPad, but couldn't wait to share this particular tidbit: Along with four other Westalee instructors, I flew to Sew Steady headquarters in Eugene OR and attended a two day seminar with Leonie and Bill West, designers of the Westalee foot and ruler system.

Geraldine Wilkins (Living Water Quilter), Donna McCauley, Pam Varner and Donelle McAdams were the other four teachers who received our new bling:


Leonie assured us that the ruler foot is functional and we can sew with them, but I don't know if I want to!

There are other Westalee accredited teachers, but I think they are in Australia; the five of us were the first American teachers to complete this process. So here we are -- all ready to come to a store or guild near you and teach ruler classes!




Saturday, August 19, 2017

Spooky Trees and Culcita

Yesterday I finished the outline quilting in the Spooky Ride panel blocks and then spent some time on Pinterest looking at ideas for spooky trees. I want to stitch a big tree going up the right side of the quilt in heavy 28 weight thread. I've chosen an orange and a gold from the Mettler silk finish line for the tree.


Here are the trees I liked the best:

 


Think those give me a framework to start with.
Also got two packages in the mail this week:




One was the Culcita box with the beautiful Lagoon fabrics and a Quilt Theory pattern.


They don't really work together as the pattern calls for Layer Cakes and there isn't enough yardage in 12 fat quarters to match up, but I loved the fabrics and the pattern, so they will go their separate ways in my (such as it is) quilting supplies organizational system.
I don't subscribe to the monthly Culcita box, although that is a slightly less expensive way to go. I preordered three months starting with the Alison Glass shipment last month.

The other package was my Fat Quarter Shop order:


Mini dots!! I already had the two yardage cuts in the lower right hand corner. Dots are such great blenders that I took advantage of the bundle sale and added to the dot stash.
Today will be a lazy Saturday, running errands and probably going out to dinner tonight with my husband, who has been super helpful as I've recovered from the foot surgery. Still hobbling and I'll be in a surgical boot for another few weeks. Get to start working out with my trainer again on Sept. 5! That date will get special stickers in my planner!


Plan for today: Have a happy quilty Saturday!

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