Quilty Fun

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Here’s a little peek at some of the quilt projects I’ve been working on lately. I always have a number of them going at the same time, and work on the one I have time for or are in the mood to work on.

This is my Tree of Life quilt ~

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I participated in a half square triangle exchange at a local quilt shop a few years ago and this is what I decided to make from all of the half square triangles I received. The pattern is in this book by Edyta Sitar ~

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While all of the half square triangles were sewn on a machine, I am hand piecing it all together. I still need to applique some vines and leaves along the two sides, and then it will be ready to quilt and bind.

Another quilt I have been working on is this Jelly Roll Race Farm quilt ~

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I saw this quilt finished at the quilt shop and loved the farm fabrics in it, called “Coming Home” by Deb Strain.

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The Jelly Roll Race quilt is very simple to make and would have been done by now if I had the time to sit and work at my sewing machine for longer periods of time. I’ll keep you posted on this one as I hope to finish it soon.

I am also working on this wall hanging, usually while I’m waiting for Anna at cheerleading practice ~

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The pattern is called “Live Simply” by buttermilk basin. I am at the point of sewing around all of the applique pieces, and it is small, so it’s easy to take along with me.

And finally, I mentioned in my Daybook this week that I have just joined a new Block of the Month program that will result in a “primitive houses” quilt when finished. I sewed the first block yesterday. Here it is ~

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This quilt is called “My Neighborhood” by Beverly Ingram, and it has the cutest rail fence border around it. I’ll keep you posted each month on my progress, but at one block a month, it won’t be finished until next year.

I hope your evening has gone well. Only three more nights to enjoy the Winter Olympics – it sure has gone by fast!

See you soon!

Blessings,
Nancy

My Spring Journal

My daily planning journal is looking decidedly springlike these days. My newest journal is wearing a spring cover and is sporting many beautiful spring magazine pictures on its inner pages.

I make my planning journals the same way I make my thankful journal – using a sketch book from Walmart and scrapbook paper. I cover the cover with scrapbook paper (directions here), usually based on the current season, or just whatever looks pretty to me at the moment. Then comes the really fun part. I cut lovely pictures out of magazines, again usually seasonal in nature, but really just anything that I love, and glue them in my journal to decorate the pages.

Next I label the pages. I put the day and date at the top, and then my planning categories scattered around the page with room to fill in a list under them. My personal categories are: Call, Do, Errands, Dinner, and Blog. These are just the categories that I have used for years to organize my To Do list for each day. They work best for me – you might have different categories that work best for you.

My Sunday pages differ from this by only including the date and a To Do This Week list. I usually write a little bit about how I spent the day at the top of the page and make my weekly planning list at the bottom.

I make about a week’s worth of pages at a time, usually on Sunday afternoons, and when I fill up one journal, I pick out a new paper for my next one, cover it and keep on going. I love making and using these journals. I don’t just use them for planning, although that is their main purpose, but I also use them to record thoughts, quotes, recipes, poetry, special memories, and really anything that I want to remember. I keep the old ones on a bookshelf to refer back to every now and then.

I really love using my magazines this way, rather than throwing them out with all of their pretty pictures. And I love having a beautiful personalized journal that works so well for me.

Blessings,
Nancy

Dusting Off My Quilts

It has been way too long since I’ve had time to spend working on my quilts – probably since some time before Thanksgiving. My sewing desk has looked pretty much like the above picture since then – except for when I had some Christmas overflow piled on top of it. The quilt laying across my machine is my Farm Fresh quilt. It is one of my absolute favorites – mostly applique, and full of flowers, pumpkins, and country containers. I have had these pieces for the next block all ready to go all this time, just taunting me on the shelf! –

Another quilt that I have been wanting to get back to is my Tree of Life quilt. Sarah and I took part in a half-square triangle swap at the quilt shop, and came home with hundreds of little squares in many different combinations of fabrics. I am using mine to make this lovely quilt –

I have all of the tree tops finished, and am ready to work on the trunks. This quilt is sitting on another shelf in my bedroom, quietly calling to me –

I recently bought this lovely jelly roll in beautiful blues and browns that is begging to be worked with –

After Christmas I used an Ebay gift certificate that I received as a gift and bought a quilt kit to make this wonderful wavey American flag wall hanging –

It will be a new challenge as it involves curved piecing, but it uses these pretty patriotic fabrics, so I can’t wait to start it –

I haven’t ordered it yet, but eventually I want to get the kit for this lovely blue and white quilt from the Connecting Threads catalog –

And then there’s my basket of Block of the Month packets that are patiently waiting for me –

I really don’t mind having lots of quilts going at once – it allows me to be able to work on whatever I feel like at the moment. I think, maybe I would like to schedule a quilting weekend soon, and spend lots of time reaquainting myself with my old friends.

Blessings,
Nancy

Thankful Journal

One of my goals for 2012 is to cultivate more of an attitude of thankfulness in my life. I am generally a “glass half-empty” type, and so I am always in need of improvement in this area. The good news is that being thankful is so much more pleasant than being grumbly. And God has told us that He wants us to be thankful, so it’s like we’re given permission to be happy, rather than sad!

One of the things that I have wanted to do for quite awhile, but never really got around to doing is to keep a Thankful Journal. I’ve talked about doing this all year, but haven’t taken action on it. Well, that has now changed because I sat down on New Year’s Day and made my journal so that it is all ready for me to write in, and, in fact, I have started making some entries in it already.

To make the journal, I started with a sketch pad from Walmart ~

I then added scrapbook paper to the cover to make it pretty. You can find out how to do this here.

After I had it all covered, I pulled out some old magazines and started cutting out pictures that I liked. I do this for my daily planning journal and I really love it. I love looking through magazines with lovely pictures, and by cutting them out and using them in my journals, I can keep the pictures that I enjoy looking at so much. It makes for a really pretty, personalized journal that just makes me happy looking through it! Sometimes, if I’m really motivated, I pull out my stamps and add more embellishment with them – I really love the look, but don’t always have time to do that much. Here are pictures of some of the pages I made ~

On the first page of my Thankful Journal I copied Colossians 3:15-17, and on the second page I wrote out Philippians 4:6-7.

I started recording my thankful thoughts on the next available page. This just consists of an on-going list that I am keeping on a (mostly) daily basis. In the beginning these entries are tending to be of a more general nature, but I intend for them to get more moment specific as I go on. Here is what my first page looks like ~

By writing in my journal on a regular basis I am hoping to help keep my mind and my thoughts in a grateful mode – just one way that I am hoping to affect a change in this area. Thankfulness is first and foremost an outpouring of the heart in response to God’s love and abundant care for us, and so spending time in the Bible and walking and talking closely with the Lord is the most important means for me to change my thoughts. My journal is a tool that I am using to help retrain my mind towards more thankful thoughts.

Now you don’t have to make a journal like this to have a Thankful Journal You could use any blank book, or simply some paper, or I guess even your favorite electronic device (!) – whatever is motivating to you – you need to want to write in it! I’m so glad that I finally got mine put together, and am looking forward to its positive impact in my life.

Have a lovely day!
Blessings,
Nancy

Civil War Sampler Quilt and Summer Cherries

I have a number of quilt projects going right now. Some are being sewn by hand, some by machine, and some are applique quilts. I generally work on the machine during the daytime hours and save the hand sewing for the evenings in front of a movie. I certainly don’t have time to sew every day, but I try to grab snatches of time whenever I can.

Most of the quilts I’m working on now are block of the month programs through one of the local quilt shops, but I have a few others that I’m working on as well. The first one I want to show you is what I call my Civil War Sampler quilt. I believe the official name of this quilt is Civil War Celebration, designed by Joe Wood from Thimble Creek Quilts. I have a habit of giving all of the quilts I’m working on my own names – just how I remember them best – for instance, the Star Medallion quilt that I’ve been working on for awhile (and which is close to being finished if I would just get around to picking it up again!) is affectionately known as the Waltons quilt, due to the fact that I sewed most of it during our late night stint of watching old Waltons episodes.

Anyway, the Civil War sampler is a block of the month program. The finished quilt will look similar to the lead-off picture at the top of this post. (I took this picture at the quilt store so that I could refer to it.). I have sewn twelve blocks so far – four each of three different patterns. Each set of four is made from four different fabric combinations, but using the same pattern. Here are the ones I’ve completed ~

All of the cream fabric in the quilt is muslin and it will have dark chains running diagonally throughout the quilt and between the sampler blocks (see picture at top). I haven’t started on the chains yet. I am sewing this quilt on the machine.

Another quilt that I have been working on I have named my Summer Cherries quilt, because the fabric is so summery, with flowers and cherries galore. The fabric is “Charlevoix = Summmer…Beach…Rural Americana…1910-1935” by Polly Minick and Lauri Simpson for Moda fabrics. It is a rail quilt because each block is formed by sewing strips of fabric together like fence rails –

I started with a jelly roll of fabric – for the non-quilters out there, a jelly roll is precut strips (2 1/2 x 44-45″) of an entire fabric line, all rolled up like a jelly donut. I saw this quilt at another local quilt store and fell in love with it, so I bought the kit they were offering and started on it. I am sewing it all on the machine, and am just needing to sew on two borders to have the top finished. Here is how it looks right now ~

That’s all I’m going to show you for today – if I spend too much time writing about it all, I won’t have any time to sew! I have several other projects to catch you up on – soon!

Blessings,
Nancy

Quilting Books

Cindy asked me to recommend a good quilt book for learning to quilt. There are two books that I have been referring to as I make my way along this journey of learning to quilt. One is this book ~

This book has been good about taking my hand and talking to me as a beginner. It gives instructions for both hand and machine piecing, quilting, and all of the rest that goes along with the craft ~

I have also lately really been enjoying referring to this book ~

It is also good at teaching the basics, but in a question/answer format. So, when I don’t understand something or have a question about something, I can go right to the question and find my answer. I have cleared up many questions using this book. It’s a convenient size to keep in my quilting basket for whenever I need to refer to it, which has been alot lately since I am moving into new territory working on borders and soon into the quilting portion of my quilt.

Another great source for learning to quilt is a local quilt shop. They are popping up all over the place and they offer classes at every level and are always willing to answer questions that you may have. They also usually have a book section where you can find how-to quilt books as well as books full of patterns. I am sure you can probably find lots of information online, as well.

I have tended to get overwhelmed with the learning process as I felt like there was so much to learn, but I’ve found that just by taking it one step at a time, it has really not been difficult, and I learn more all the time. Just be patient and enjoy it – that’s the point of it anyway!

Lynn asked what a Be-Attitudes quilt was, so I am posting a picture of mine in progress. This quilt was designed by Nancy Halvorsen, as were the fabrics used in it. This is the quilt after sewing the blocks together, but minus the four borders that I am working on right now ~

I’ll post more pictures when I finish the top.

Blessings,
Nancy

Stamp Club Fun!

I am a member of a Stamping Club that meets once a month for an afternoon of card-making, stamping, and fun. Our club started up about 3 years ago, and has seen the coming and going of some of the gals, but some of us “originals” are still around. It’s a fun group, and we always spend much of the afternoon laughing together.

Our fearless leader is a Stampin’ Up Demonstrator who always has the most wonderful ideas and beautiful cards for us to make each month. Sometimes we learn a new skill, or try out a new tool or method, but many times we just enjoy stamping and putting together the cards she has for us each time.

All of the club members take turns being the hostess of the month. The hostess brings the snacks for the meeting and gets credit for the “party”. Each club member has committed to put together an order each month for a predetermined minimum – usually around $20 so that the hostess for that month will get a number of free items from the Stampin’ Up catalog. It is a great way to build our supplies and stamp collections and help each other out as well.

I took some pictures of some of the cards that we have done at some of our Stamp Club meetings. Most of the stamps are current or retired Stampin’ Up stamps ~

I always look forward to seeing what creative ideas our leader will come up with next!

Have a lovely day!

Blessings,
Nancy