Finished quilt: Day Dreaming by Cozy Quilt Designs

I finished a quilt last month. Amazing when you think about how busy I’ve been with birthday, ALA in Chicago, trip to Vegas and adding in an exercise regime.

In the past I’ve gone to The Granary in Sunnyvale for their monthly Happy Hour. Relax, it’s not a bar. It’s a quilt shop. I started going to force myself to expand my quilting horizons… And that it has.

Happy Hour gives you a pattern and most of the fabric for a quilt. Everyone gets the same fabric, but you make it your own with the addition of a background, borders and binding. I’ve made quilts in patterns and colors that I wouldn’t typically try, like Day Dreaming by Cozy Quilt.

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The colors in the quilt are definitely not my style, but that’s the point, right? Unfortunately they look washed out in all the photos I’ve taken, but they’re not. They’re really much richer than they appear.

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Here’s a close up so you can see what I mean. Also, you can see my quilting.

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And here’s the borders and binding. The backing is a buttery yellow flannel so it’s nice and soft.

Still not my style, but I’m glad I’m branching out. 🙂

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House hunting, dead cars, and quilting

Well, we’re still house hunting. We’ve made offers on 5 houses now and each one has fallen through. It’s a bit disappointing and discouraging because in every case the sellers have gone with offers that are made by investors. People who have no intention of living in these houses or contributing to these neighborhoods. Instead, they plan to rent the houses out at the very least, or maybe even flip them.

I really do worry about what that does to the community and neighborhood that these sellers are leaving behind. I mean, yeah, the seller gets an all-cash offer without having to pass through contingencies, but at what cost to others?

The thing is that we’re offering over the asking prices with 20% down on a pre-approved loan. We just can’t compete against someone offering all cash and waiving all contingencies. In one case the seller wanted to see at least 50% of the purchase price in cash in the bank. Seriously! I wanted to be snippy and say that if I had that much money in the bank, I sure as hell wouldn’t be buying in that community! But I didn’t. Instead we responded that the offer is as stands.

One of my coworkers said that a house went up for sale down the street from her. The sellers were asking $490,000. They had 15 offers, one of which was $530,000 cash with no contingencies and another was $540,000 financed while waiving the appraisal contingency. My coworker said that the house was a dump and should never have sold for that price… but it did.

And now house prices are going up again. Interest rates are still super low and the inventory is low as well. Those two things combined mean that demand is high so prices are high. It also means that things are selling super quickly – I’ve heard that the average time on the market for houses in our area is 7 days. Can you believe it? A week and your house is sold.

Add into that, now, that my car died. Yes, my beloved Saturn SL2 that I bought with money left from my Dad’s death finally croaked. I donated it to the Polly Klaas Foundation, so at least it went to a good cause. But now we’re a one car household. It’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds. A new car is not an expense that I really wanted quite yet.

Oh well… This is kind of a Debbie Downer of a post, but it’s what’s going on right now.

I did finish a couple of quilts.

This Black & White one I made for my friend/coworker J. It took a long time to piece and quilt – about 20 hours total. The back is Minky, which is kind of a pain to work with, but it all worked out.

The Front of J's Quilt just after I finished

The Front of J’s Quilt just after I finished

 

The border and closeup of the squares

The border and closeup of the squares

 

J's Quilt on her Sofa

J’s Quilt on her Sofa

 

I also finished this wall quilt with an Asian flair.  I got all of the fabrics and the pattern on clearance when my favorite quilt store closed.  It didn’t take too long to piece and quilt, maybe 6 or 7 hours total.  The most finicky part was making sure I had the center cut and pieced properly.  The most annoying and time consuming part was hand stitching the rod pocket on the back.  Have I mentioned how much I hate hand stitching?  This will be hung in my office at work – the colors actually go really well!  I call it “Peacocks and Peonies.”

Front

Front

Back

Back

Detail

Detail

Diagonal

Diagonal

 

So that’s it for now…

2013 Goals

So, I’ve been thinking about my goals for the coming year. Of course I’ll be focusing on my health. Particularly on losing the weight that I’ve regained. Last week I was at 176 lbs, my goal is to get back down to 145.

It’s completely ridiculous for me to be yo-yoing in my weight, especially since I know what I should be doing. I know how to lose the weight. I know that being lazy, weak and complacent is what got me back up there. And I know that my poor health choices have been at least partially a result of the stress around all the mom stuff.

So there. Goal #1, get back down to 145 by making healthy food choices the majority of the time, and by intentionally sweating (aka exercise) 6 days a week.

My other goal has to do with quilting. I went through and organized my fabric. I had no idea that I had so many “kits” put together that are just waiting to be sewn and quilted. I definitely have enough to keep me busy for the next year. So my goal is to complete the kits and UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) that are sitting there in the grocery bags awaiting my attention. I’m also placing a moratorium on buying new fabric, except as needed to complete the goal (like for backings and bindings).

So that’s goal #2.

I think 2 goals is plenty for this year, especially with everything else going on – mom, trying to buy a house, and general life.

Prizes are still coming. I’m thinking every 10 pounds I get a little prize. I think I get a little prize for every completed quilt.

Prizes are things that I like, but that I can never justify the cost for…
Haircut (10 lbs gone)
Massage (20 lbs gone)
Movie with popcorn and snacks (30 lbs gone)

I’ll need to re-count my projects to come up with the right number/scale of prizes. I’ll post again later once I’ve figured that out.

Updates…

Update on Mom:
Those of you who know me in real life have probably heard that my mom is in hospice now. Her condition has declined a lot. Long story short, her last stroke basically advanced her dementia to the point that she’s having trouble swallowing, she’ll spit out her meds if you don’t trick her into taking them, she doesn’t recognize us kids, she can’t sit up (she basically sleeps all day), and she can’t communicate meaningfully. Every time I see her I want to cry. I usually do.

Update on household stuff:
We’ve been looking for a house to buy, but we keep getting outbid. The last house we put in an offer on had over 50 bids! Insane, right? There’s just not a lot on the market right now so everything is going for so much over the asking price and there are soooo many bids!

DH and I have been working through cleaning up our house. We’ve realized that the clutter is really stressful, and the best thing we can do is start to reduce. It’s also a good thing because it means that if we ever buy a house we’ll have less to move!

Update on quilting:
I made my first minky quilt. Man, that sucked. The quilt was cute, but minky is a bitch to work with! I also went to a quilt retreat and finished 3 quilt tops and sandwiched the Christmas quilt. I haven’t done any other sewing, though.

As part of my decluttering, I’ve been trying to organize the fabric, patterns, batting and quilt books so that they don’t take up as much space and are easier to find. I discovered that I have “kits” of at least 5 different quilts, I have at least 7 different tops finished that need quilting, and I have a TON of other fabric. *sigh* No matter how much I organize and reorganize it just doesn’t make it any easier to quilt.

Update on health:
I finally went to see a psychologist. I realized that I’m pretty depressed and I have been for awhile. It all came to a head with the latest mom stuff. So I’m talking it through with a doctor. It seems to be helping a little bit.

It’s really hard to work up the gumption to run – and I have a half marathon with DH in January. He’s been good about trying to get me to run, but it’s hard to want to do it. My ankle kinda hurts after my run on Sunday. I’m hoping that wrapping it will help with keeping the training going.

So I think that’s it. I’m looking forward to the new year and the resolutions it always brings. I know at least one of them will be sewing related, and another will be health related. It’s just a matter of figuring out what I want them to be.

TTFN and Merry Christmas!

August 2012 Project #2

I got my hands on the second project I made in August.  I wanted to make sure that DH had something he could take with him that was useful and still fit with the cotton theme of our second anniversary, so I made him a case for his Kindle Fire.  I picked up the pattern, fabric and accessories from my LQS (local quilting store).  The lining is flannel, so it’s nice and soft against the Kindle’s screen.  It has two different interfacings – including a stiff one to lend some structure to the case.  And of course, a carrying handle so you can wrap the case around your wrist if there isn’t enough room in your bag for it.

This is the front of the case. The black band is an elastic band to help hold the cover closed. There’s also velcro underneath to make sure the flap is secure.

This is the back of the case. I’m not thrilled with the quilting, but I wasn’t willing to tear it out – I hate redoing work!

DH says that it’s holding up pretty well, but he’s only had it for a couple of weeks now. Altogether, the project took about 3 hours to do. It was pretty quick and because it’s flat it was easy to hide until our anniversary.

August 2012 Project #1

August 2012 is quickly coming to a close and that means it’s time to post pictures of my completed projects. I actually completed two, but the second one is in use in DH’s backpack and I don’t want to digging around in there just so I can take a picture. I’ll have to bug him when he gets out of the shower.

This quilt was completed for our second anniversary. Traditionally, people give each other cotton gifts on this occasion, and this quilt is 100% cotton so I think it fits the bill.  I call it the “Us Quilt” because each of the squares represent something that’s important to us now, or something that was important/fun from our courtship. I actually finished the top a couple months after we were married, but I waited on the quilting until I had a few quilts under my belt – I didn’t want to wreck OUR quilt.

Each block is repeated once, and since some photos turned out better than others (you can see 3 blocks, but not the 4th), you get to see 6 sets of blocks.

In all it’s glory on my unmade bed.

1st set of 4 squares (ice cream, coffee with chocolate, pez dispensers, books)

2nd set of 4 blocks (sewing, bbq, coffee with chocolate, pin-up girls and eating out)

3rd set of 4 squares (cocktails, Pez dispensers, conversation hearts, important values)

4th set of 4 blocks (books, storm clouds, bbq, sewing)

5th set of 4 blocks (important values, conversation hearts, computers and games, ice cream)

6th set of 4 blocks (pin-up girls and eating out, computers and video games, storm clouds, shopping)

As I said earlier, each square represents something so it’s more than just the photo on the fabric. For instance, one of our earliest dates happened when we cut class to get ice cream at a nearby fast food restaurant. We used to walk in the rain all the time and we still hang out in the car to listen to the rain on the roof. DH makes his money with computers, and I make mine with books. You get the idea.

Choosing the quilting was the hard part. I didn’t want anything too girly or too masculine because this quilt is about US. I ended up quilting wonky squares across the bulk of the top. I also wanted to find a way to make words of love a part of the quilt, so I quilted words from our vows, our names and the wedding date into the border of the quilt.

Wonky squares make up the bulk of the quilting.

The outside border was quilted with words of love. The binding is leftover Superman fabric

And since we both are Superman fans, I wanted to include some of the leftover fabric from the Superman quilt I completed earlier this year (or was it last year?). I used extra backing fabric to make up the binding, and I fussy cut a piece from a different fabric to decorate the label. The backing is the softest flannel so it’s nice and cozy.

Quilts aren’t complete without a label – this one has Superman. We’re both fans of Kal-el.

The quilt wasn’t completely finished by our anniversary – there were still threads to be buried and a label to attach, but I presented it on August 22nd anyway. Although it’s just a throw, we’ve been sleeping under it ever since.

Photos from Project #2 will be up soon!

August 2012 Project Sneak Peek

Here’s a sneak peek of one of my August 2012 projects. I’m calling it the “Us Quilt.” Each of the squares has a different novelty fabric that represents something DH or I do/like. It’s not done yet (I just pinned the quilt sandwich together), so there aren’t any closeups.

I need to get it done before our anniversary on August 22. DH knows about this project so I can post it online. He reads my blog so I can’t post the other, already finished, project since that one’s a surprise.

Here it is – a view from my staircase.

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