Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What I have been up to since my last post in March . . .

It has been a few weeks since I posted anything here . . . been thinking about it and have some pictures to share, too. It is still cold and dreary most days. So, it is a good time to continue working on UFO’s and also start some new and fun things. I have sorted and re-sorted my stash and have said goodbye to some fabrics that I know I would never use. They are all bagged up and ready to take to the next quilt guild meeting for donation to the community service committee. They will find uses for them, I am sure. Our guild is a very generous group. They use those donated fabrics and sometimes orphan blocks to create really nice baby quilts and lap quilts for our guild to donate to various charities. I have collected fabric for quilts since the early 90’s and kept scraps from things I have made. I used to give away everything I made, so all I have left are the scraps! I don’t even have photos of many of the things I made. Now I take pictures of the construction and the finished product.  

One of the women in my small art quilt group is having chemotherapy every other week. As the time approached to begin treatments, one of our group members suggested we each make a block from fabrics that we thought she would like . . . purples and batiks mostly . . . and then it was assembled, basted, and then machine quilted by some of the  members. It was a nice feeling to be involved in this project from the heart, because at a time when you can’t do much to help on a daily basis, it is at least a reminder to her of how much she is loved by her little group. She was given the quilt a few weeks ago, before she started her chemo and she takes it w/ her when she goes to her appointments. She has told us that the nurses and many other people have remarked on it . . . we can “hug” her with the quilt, even if we cannot be with her.  

Here is a photo of the finished quilt.

I am still working on the two mini albums that I have had on my work table for a month. I have had a bit of a creative block  . . . and need to just get moving on some of my ideas to see how they turn out. I am working on some of that today before I go into my office to work on real estate. I would like to have something completed, or nearly completed, so I can take it with me tonight to my little art quilt group that meets once a month. I have missed way too many meetings and show and tell lately!
Things are picking up in the real estate biz, as they do here in WNY in the spring. Budgeting my time between all the things I am interested in for quilts and albums and real estate is something I keep working on. Getting up very early in the morning seems to work best for me to ensure I get my creative time. I do some handwork in the evening after we settle in, but I grow weary and my eyes start to close . . . and before I know it, I have drifted off to sleep and have missed the TV show that I was watching w/ my husband. Thank goodness for DVR. We tape most of our fav shows and then watch them when we have time!

I took a book home from the quilt guild library and have been using it to teach myself how to make cathedral windows for a wall hanging. I have tried to teach myself how to do this about three times without any luck. This time, I made myself sit still one evening until I had completed one little section. My skill with maneuvering the fabric has improved with each attempt. It is a bit of a time consuming task to prepare the parts, but I have worked on cutting the squares and sewing the components on the machine when I can and saving the handwork for evenings. I might pack some of these in my purse, too, for times I need to sit and wait at a doctor’s office.

Here is a photo of what I have done so far. I am using the fabrics left from the block I made for the little quilt that is pictured above. You can tell which block is mine from the fabric? Hint: It is the log cabin block.  :-)
I have worked on some New York Beauty blocks, too. I have wanted to make this block for years. They are paper pieced. I am trying to make bigger blocks with my fabrics. These are 12 inches finished.  I will get my quilt tops done sooner and use my stash sooner if I make bigger blocks . . . at least that is part of my plan! These are all from my stash fabrics. The lightest one may need to go into a pillow cover or something because it does not have a lot of contrast, but the more I have looked at it here in the photo, the more it has grown on me! I do like these and like how they are coming out. I had to dig thru my stash to find some greens to use. I discovered I have a lot of stripes in my stash. They don’t lend themselves to some of the blocks I want to make, or they require special cutting . . . and I don’t want to get slowed down with that kind of thing right now! I contemplated ditching my RRRR blocks that I shared in my last blog post and using this pattern instead; however, that task is complete and I was proud of what I made for the RRRR – especially because I used all stash fabrics for it! By the end of 2013 my stash will be reduced by maybe one eighth. . . . I have WAY too much fabric! It needs to be used, not hoarded!

Here is a photo of the New York Beauty Blocks. Obviously, just pinned together for the photo.

What I have learned:
If I really look into my stash, I can find some fabrics that look great together. . and, if I was not challenging myself to use up a lot of my stash in 2013, I might have skipped over them and ended up at the quilt shop purchasing yet MORE fabric! An article in the recent American Patchwork & Quilting magazine addressed putting unexpected combinations of stash fabrics together. That issue arrived in my mailbox just in time for me to put the info into action!
What I want to learn:
How to decide on borders for some of my quilts.

What I appreciate:
The gift of a new day.

What I want:
A world at peace.