The Big Reader

Another one of my hobbies is reading. I actually graduated from university with a BA in English, my focus was Victorian Literature. If you know anything about Victorian Literature, you know they liked to drone on and on and on, most of the books were very long and we were reading them at a pretty quick clip so I got to be a fairly fast reader. Depending on the book, it’s not unusual for me to finish a 100-150 page ebook in an evening. It makes me kind of laugh to look at my most current list of books read, given my background. I don’t read a whole lot of “literature” these days, I enjoy mysteries, romances, Young Adult novels, etc. Feel free to follow me on GoodReads to find out what I’m reading.

challenge Every year, GoodReads lets you pick a number of books you’d like to finish by the end of the year to “challenge” yourself. The last time I successfully completed a challenge was in 2011, my goal was 50 books and I read 60. My goal for this year is 50 and so far I’ve read 38 books, which apparently means I’m on track. I’m sure I’ll go off the rails again once the baby arrives.

This past week I took a break from quilting and read some books. I love reading on my ereader, a 1st edition Nook by Barnes and Noble. I believe my husband bought it for me for Christmas the year it came out. I love the e-ink technology, there is no backlighting at all which makes my eyes stressed and tired (and twitchy, I hate that!) This week I read 4 romances, a mystery and a finished a horror/thriller that I started a while ago. You can check out all of the books I’ve read this year here.

Usually when I’ve read a lot of light, fluffy books I try to buckle down and read a “serious” book so I’m not completely embarrassed by my reading list, lol. I read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov earlier this year for that reason and absolutely hated it.

9810317Now I’ve decided to read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I haven’t spent much time with American literature and this was gifted to me earlier this year so I thought I’d give it a try. Most people probably wouldn’t consider this a “serious” read but it is considered an American classic anyway. It’s tremendously long so hopefully I can get through it!

Little Buddy

2015-09-18 08.15.13 Jetty sure has been cracking me up lately. For those not in the know, Jetty is our 6 year old dog. He’s a terrier mix and he weighs about 10 lbs. He’s a small guy, people always think he’s a puppy when they see him but he hasn’t been a puppy for some time now. In fact, DH and I joke that Jetty is becoming a teenager. He likes to hang out by himself a lot of the time and he’ll frequently leave a room when either of us comes into it! But lately he has been sticking closer to us. I took this picture the other morning when I got out of the shower and found he had made himself comfortable in bed with DH.

Recently, I put a baby gate up in the doorway leading from our kitchen/family room into our dining room/living room. Now that we have dark hardwood floors down, his light fur shedding is so much more prominent… we didn’t think of that when we chose the color. Oops! So I put the gate up so he wouldn’t be able to go into that room and therefore, I wouldn’t have to clean in there as much. The solutions an exhausted pregnant lady comes up with! That room is at the front of our house and he used to like to jump up on the sofa and watch the people go by (and bark at them) so I think he’s a little forlorn now that he can’t go in there.

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Some people say that animals are more sensitive to their humans when they’re sick and I know there are some animals like that… I just don’t think Jetty is one of them! But I have noticed him sticking closer by me the more pregnant I become. Maybe he is sensitive. Or maybe he’s just feeling attention starved since I haven’t been able to get down on the floor and play with him like I used to! I took this picture as I sat down at the computer this afternoon. He parked himself right below my feet. He hardly ever does that. With all of the work that’s been done on his body lately, DH can’t really get down and play with him either. We take him over to my in-laws house pretty regularly though and he gets to play with their miniature pinscher, they’re about the same size and best buddies.

He sure is a funny guy and we’re happy to have him around!

Another Project

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When I was working on the many flying geese units for my Sunburst Quilt, I thought about tossing the so-called “bonus triangles,” but there ended up being so many that I kept them in this tin. I know Ive heard of others using these HST and I thought I might, too. Lord knows I need more fabric added to my scraps pile [not really] so I hope I can come up with a project for these soon. Jean over at QuiltSocial has some good ideas. If you have any ideas feel free to share them! Hopefully this can be a project I can work on for some time like I intended for the Meet in the Middle project. πŸ˜› Oh well, best laid plans!

So Much For Taking My Time

Well, my Meet in the Middle project went way faster than I anticipated. It took me no time at all to cut out all of the strips I needed. I didn’t follow the instructions exactly… instead of finding 10″ long strips in my scraps stash, I grabbed a bunch of different sized strips and cut them to be 2.5″ wide and at most 10″ long. Most of my rows have more than 5 different fabrics in them, making the quilt a lot scrappier looking. Now I’m trying to decide on a background fabric.

The first picture is the fabric that I had in mind for this project. It’s a nice, dark charcoal grey. But the pattern calls for white fabric so I thought I’d pull out some white prints I have and see if I liked any of those. The second picture is a white print with navy blue stars, moons and planets. I kind of like how that one looks, too. The third picture is a white print with rainbow colored dots (if you click the picture you’ll be able to see it more clearly). The last one is a blue grid with rainbow colored hearts and stars on it. The last two fabrics are actually from my mom’s stash… she bought them for my nursery over 30 years ago! Who knows what she intended to do with them but clearly she never got around to it.

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Well, while I am deciding I can start cleaning up the mess I made going through my scraps… Getting this big ol body down on the ground and picking them up sure is going to be a challenge! Any volunteers? :)

A New Project

Another week is starting, which means I’m another week closer to meeting our little guy. I’m 38 weeks pregnant now which means I will go into labor any day now (I hope). My sister was late with both of her children and my mom was late with at least one of hers, so who knows when I will go into labor!

My best friend and I at her wedding this August, I'm 34 weeks pregnant.

My best friend and I at her wedding this August, I’m 34 weeks pregnant.

I was telling my husband the other day that I feel a little adrift and weird in this “in between” stage. All year I’ve had projects to occupy my time: last December DH was diagnosed with cancer again so we had his treatments to go to each week; that ended in August when he had his surgery. Now he’s at home recovering. Also in December my best friend’s now husband proposed, I helped her plan a winery wedding here in Temecula so that took up a lot of my time until the wedding happened on Aug 29. In February of this year I found out I was expecting our first child, so I was busy planning and making items for his nursery, his quilt and making quilts for family members before he arrived.

Now what am I supposed to do! DH is thankfully cancer free for the moment and recovering, so we’re only going to the hospital once a month instead of once a week; Vanessa’s wedding is over so I don’t have that to occupy my time; Henry’s nursery is done, his diapers are ready, his car seat is in the car, all of the little projects I wanted to finish before he made his entrance are done… I know I should be getting plenty of rest and I do try to, but I’m bored stiff!!

So I decided to start a new quilt, the Meet In the Middle/Springhouse pattern that Kelli & Jo over at Jo’s Country Junction wrote. It looks nice and easy and a great scraps buster. I have no expectations for finishing it anytime soon and I’m not going to push myself to get it done at any particular point. It will be nice to have something I can easily pickup as I have the time and inclination. Here’s my “Design Wall” this week:

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A pile of lovely 2.5″ strips waiting to be sewn together! I love the scrappiness of the original and I think mine will be even more scrappy. I might even use a dark background since I’m fresh out of white fabric at the moment.

I’m linking up over at Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday. Click on over to see what others are up to.

Stash Report – 2015 Week 3

I had a finish this week so I can show some movement in my numbers! Woo hoo!

I also finished another couple small projects I mentioned in my stash report a couple of weeks ago, making flat sheets for Henry’s toddler bed. I’m probably jumping the gun a bit, but I have the fabric so I figure I might as well get started. I wanted to buy the fabric now before it sold out or became unavailable. He won’t be needing them for a couple of years, but it will be nice to have them done ahead of time instead of trying to find time to make them when I have a toddler running around. Why put off until tomorrow what can be done today, right? I used this tutorial from Sew Tessuti. It doesn’t have yardage requirements for a toddler bed, but I used 2 yards and that seemed to be enough. I made two flat sheets.

Week 3
Used this Week: 12.66 yards
Used year to Date: 22.46 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 5 yards
Net for 2015: 17.46 yards used

Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times.

Sunburst Quilt Finish

Well the Sunburst Quilt I’ve been working on for just a couple of weeks is finished!

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I followed this pattern from the Moda Bake Shop blog, if you’re looking for a cute, quick and easy baby quilt to make, I highly recommend this one. It took me about 15 hours to piece the top, add in basting, quilting & binding… the whole thing probably only took me about 20-25 hours to make. Love those quick finishes.

All of the fabric I used was from my stash with the exception of some end of bolt fabric I bought on clearance. Some of it is designer fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics, Michael Miller and more. Others are from the remnants bin at Joann’s, some of it I even inherited from my Mom when I culled through her fabric stash a few years back. I love it when I can complete a quilt using only fabrics from my stash. Buying fabric is always fun, but I have a limited amount of space to store it now that I have a little guy on the way. These days I am really making an effort to use up my stash and scraps when I start new projects.

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Usually I like to piece the backs of my quilts with fabrics left over from the front, but since I wanted to get this guy done quickly I decided not to do that this time and just find a big piece of fabric from my stash. I picked this Michael Miller fabric from my stash, it was from the Krystals line from a few years back. It was barely big enough. I got a few yards in a few colors from a lady advertising on Craigslist a while back. Apparently she had a quilt shop that closed up and she was trying to get rid of some of her inventory. I also have red, orange (used on the orange blocks), yellow, green and blue. This used up pretty much all of the purple I got from her. The rest is in my scraps bin.

I used the rest of my batik fabric (used on one of the blocks in the top row) to make the binding. I really love how that turned out. The quilting was a free motion stipple done using some variegated thread I had on hand. I was afraid the colors would be distracting on the white background but I think it turned out OK. The quilt finishes at about 40.5″x53.5″.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.

New (to me) Basting

When I first started quilting, I used the traditional safety pin technique that I think most of you use. It was fine when I was hand quilting, but when I started machine quilting I found that I was getting a lot of wrinkles and puckers in my quilting. I saw a tutorial somewhere for basting with spray adhesive and I fell in love. So easy! No pesky pins to get in the way! My quilt sandwiches were nice and flat and I didn’t have any more problems with puckers and wrinkles.

The downside to spray basting is that the spray adhesive is very expensive. For a baby quilt, I would go through at least an entire can, maybe a can and a half. With each can costing about $15 (unless I could find a coupon to get it cheaper) it added a significant cost to each quilt. Not to mention the mess the spray adhesive left behind on the floors.

Speaking of floors, getting down on all fours at 8 months pregnant to finish Henry’s quilt was no joke! My knees and ankles were killing me by the time I got the quilt sandwich done, and I spent the next day on my hands and knees again cleaning up all the spray adhesive that got all over the floor. No, there had to be a better way!

When it was time to make the quilt sandwich for the Sunburst quilt, I decided to do some research. First, I decided to go back to pin basting. I knew I had all the pins I would need and maybe 4 years of quilting experience would make a difference in the wrinkles and puckers department. I watched a ton of videos on YouTube and came across this video showing How to Sandwich a Large Quilt on a Small Table. Ingenious, why didn’t I ever think of it?? When I was first quilting I would not have had an appropriate table to do it on, but now I have a proper cutting table that would work perfectly. I basted the quilt using this method, along with the pins and had no problems quilting. I broke a needle once because I wasn’t paying close attention and ran into a pin, but that was my fault. Another trick I learned from watching videos was not to close the safety pins after sticking them in. They still stayed in the quilt and it made pulling them out while quilting much faster.

I’ll probably use this method from now on now that I know how easy it is! A couple other interesting videos I saw were this one using wooden slats to baste and this one using a Quiltak basting gun. So many ways to get the same job done, I love the creativity of quilters! πŸ˜€