Lately in january

One of my favorite quilt buyers is a photographer (her website is here).  She takes the most amazing photos, but I particularly like it when she takes photos of the quilts she has bought from me.  Like the one above.

You might remember the quilt.  It was my first hexagon quilt.  I made it last year.  Still in love.

Quilters Planner

I hope everyone is having a bright and shiny new year.  For Christmas, I was gifted this planner from Quilters Planner.  I am loving it.

I have used a planner since the beginning of 2016 and find myself much less scatterbrained.

This one is full of quilt patterns and block patterns and has plenty of pretty pictures to look at as well for inspiration.

Sewing Machine Drama

There has been some drama in my life lately.  That is what happens to someone who uses their sewing machine ten hours out of everyday and then it suddenly locks up and won’t perform a single stitch (my husband doesn’t understand this).  It’s quite dramatic.

My bernina machine’s timing is off.  Yesterday I took it to the shop and they said it would be four weeks.  My mouth hit the floor.  Four weeks!  There is no other Bernina dealer anywhere near me and even that dealer is almost an hour away.

This all would be workable if I had a back up machine that I loved.  BUT I DON’T.  I have a backup machine that I tolerate.  And I also learned that that backup machine will no longer do FMQ.  It just decided that it didn’t want to and no amount of petting could turn it around.

I have orders.  I have people waiting on their quilt.  So I bought a new machine.

And no I’m not happy about it.  It was not in the budget.  I can’t afford it. But these are things that happen.  I can’t get my job done without it.  But now that the decision is made, the stress has been lifted, and my drama over the whole ordeal is over…. I might be a little excited about this thing.

I’ve made a smart purchase.  Let me tell you why.

This is a juki.  Juki’s are incredible machines.  I already own a tank of one.  It’s industrial strength, it’s my husband’s machine and we only use it for the rag quilts.  It’s too powerful for anything else.  I tell you this because I KNOW what a good machine Juki makes.

I couldn’t afford another Bernina, obviously (if I’m being honest is exactly what I wanted).

And if I had to spend this much money on a machine that could handle the amount and size of quilting I do, I wanted to buy a machine that could one day work on a long arm machine.

Here is the machine I purchased.  If you take the time to read about it, it actually sounds quite amazing.  And quilters review had nothing but good things to say about it as well.

And then one day that juki machine will be apart of this.

So basically, I’m less than two thousand dollars away (best I can figure) of having a long arm machine.  Now that is something to be excited about!

I’ll let you know what I think of the machine soon.

Wandering Quilt Stuff

I’ve been working on my journal for my wandering quilt.  It’s a slow process.  And I’m taking my time with it, doing a little each day.

We have two weeks before we have to have these shipped off.

Photo Contest

For my quilt buyers of the past, I will be holding a photo contest this month (details to come tomorrow).  This is the prize quilt.

This is fabrics called: When skies are gray by Riley Blake.

and you can see below me quilting on that Juki I mentioned earlier, the one I’ve had for years.  I’ve had to do straight lines because that is all it does and I’m just having to be very careful since it’s so fast, but I wanted this one done and couldn’t seem to wait on the new machine.

The Whimsical Dresden

I’m also still working on this quilt.  I did completed all 77 of my dresdens and they just need sewing down.  I’ll be doing this for most of the week.

Miscellaneous

I took a little test (not really a test) at MakeLight.com.  They have a look at your Instagram pics of 2016 and then decide what your color palette for the year is.  This was mine.

Not sure if I like that.  Must add in more colors for 2017.

So I’m drowning in scraps and they actually stress me out when they get too full.  So there is a link in my shop now where you can purchase almost any size square 2-7″ in almost any colors that you prefer  in sets of 50 squares eac.  We will even draw a line on the back of them for an extra fee just in case you want to make half square triangles and want some extra help.  Read the details of that here.

Recent Meals

I really don’t talk about food much here (I take horrible food pictures), but I REALLY like to cook with real ingredients.  When I was a child we always ate hamburger helper and food similar to that, as an adult, Hamburger helper and similar foods are not allowed in my house.  We eat real food.  And I love to cook.

Sometimes I get uninspired and we end up eating some of the same meals to often.

Foods that I cook way too much of:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: my own recipe.  It takes me over an hour to make and then we eat on it for three days.  This is a winner.

Jambalaya

Chicken Bacon and Ranch pasta

Chicken Dumplings

Taco Mountain

and so on.

The family wants some new meals and some lighter-ish meals.  I always head to pinterest when I need to be inspired.  I was and thought I’d share the new meals I tried.

Tried last week:

General Tso’s chicken.  I even went and bought some of the never heard of ingredients, like hoison sauce.  It was good.  It didn’t taste like General Tso’s (my favorite chinese food) to me, but it was good and different.

Chicken Enchiladas with sour cream white sauce.  This was amazing.  REALLY amazing.  The white sauce was perfect.  We will add this to our meal rotation.

Creamy Herb Chicken.  Heaven help me.  There was not enough of this to go around.  We all wanted more.  I served it over mashed potatoes.  In love.

And finally, Chicken Lazone.  I loved this one too.  I prefer the white sauce I normally make, so I’ll prob tweak this one a bit, but the chicken was incredible with these seasonings.  I also added a little Creole seasoning to it, because I’m obsessed and add it to everything.

Are you seeing a trend?  Chicken, chicken and more chicken. Yep, that’s us.  Tonight we are having chicken and waffles.  I have skipped lunch in preparation of the heaviness.

If you have any recommendations for food, I am always in need.  Leave a comment or a link.

xo, Melanie

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Lately

This time of year I always feel just run ragged.  My to-do lists become un-doable.  Decorating, planning, gift shopping, and then all the regular chores that need to be completed are often just too much.  And I fall behind.

I have been working very hard on getting all my Christmas orders out of my shop.

Everyone that requested a Christmas delivery was given top priority.

Here is one below:

This was from a local and it was her grandmother’s quilt.  She wanted it to be finished for her daughter.  I ADORE it.  All that scrappy fabrics and colors, plus I love how the red borders are not even or symmetrical.

I gave it to the lady yesterday and she seemed pleased.  I know it’s not mine, but it was still hard to part with.

Bottom row, fourth block, that green floral – to DIE for!  I want modern fabric just like that.  Also, bottom row, first block, the turquoise floral.  Be still my heart.  Where can I found you.  I want them for quilting backings and more.

If you might have a quilt made with love by a relative that was left unfinished, visit my shop here to look into me finishing them for you.

These fabrics!  Wovens!  They make the most scrumptious quilt!

I wish I had gotten to make a more difficult quilt, but this was a custom request for simple patchwork.  It’s really hard to choose a favorite.  Maybe this one, or this one.  This one has a hand quilted look to it that is amazing.

I’ll probably be end up buying some more.

This was a very popular item in my shop this season.

I’m probably going to do a tutorial on them soon.

But if you are in the market, I have them listed in the shop here.  You supply this shirt and I do the rest.  I did several lately that was for Moms, made with nightgowns, sweatshirts, etc.

Peachy boy has been finding all sorts of places to fit himself into.  This is a new hobby he’s picked up.  He enjoyed the Christmas decoration boxes sitting around for a bit very much.

The other lovely I’ve been making quite a bit of is the memory quilts.  They are a popular gift every year.  See the details of purchasing them here.

and decorating for Christmas.  This has kept me incredibly busy.

We went with a faux tree this year.  For the past five years, I have had real trees, but I’m paranoid about them, so instead of doing my usual worrying since our wood burning fire place is just right there, I decided to go out and purchase this small one.  It ended up smaller than I would have thought, but since I have a very cramped living room, it works.

the paris bucket is from hobby lobby.

As I decorated this year, I realized that half of my Christmas decorations are my mom’s old cast offs.  She had everything in a pile to be donated years ago, and since it was things from my childhood that I remembered fondly, I whined until she gave them to me.  🙂

I usually try to buy one new thing each year for Christmas decor, just a little rule to keep myself in check, but also I like to keep things fresh.

I purchased these two gingerbread houses.  They are from Hobby Lobby and were half off.

I bought a bag of the tiny wreaths for $2.99 there as well and hot glued them onto the church and house.  The trees were part of a pack as well of maybe 10 different size trees that I got there as well.

Okay, that’s more than one thing, BUT it’s all part of a set together, so that counts as one right?

I also went to pinterest and searched free christmas printables.  I printed off about 4 different prints on white card stock paper and then framed them with frames I already had around the house.

Shows I have been watching while working since my last lately post:

Westworld – I am really into this show.  It comes on Sunday nights, but I usually watch it on demand at work on Mondays.  It’s about robots coming to life, but its set during the wild west (in a game).  It’s complicated, but you’d understand if you watched.  I think it’s HBO.

Outlander – I’m almost done with season 2.  I don’t plan on reading anymore of these books and I know that season 3 is due out in the upcoming future, so I wanted to be up to date for that.  I did not enjoy season 2 as much as season 1.  It’s just quite a bit to take in.  However, I do love the Scotland scenes, the accents, and all the history that is in this show.  It’s worth watching.  I watch it On Demand, the Starz channel.

Gilmore Girls – So I gave this a try again (I also tried in the 90’s).  It seems to have some very loyal fans.  But I gave it up during season 2.  Maybe I’ll try again later.  Watched on Netflix.

The Office – So for the fourth time in probably 4 years, I watched this show beginning to end and it still is my most favorite tv show ever.  I laugh so much.  And it’s something I can watch while I work, but not pay too much attention to. Watched on Netflix.

Also have still been watching The Walking Dead – but I’m no going to discuss that.

I will leave you with this picture of my cat.  I am in the middle of piecing a quilt now, and he climbs on top of my machine and proceeds to fall asleep.  What the heck, cat?

xo,

melanie

Lately

What have I been up to lately?

Pretty much the same as usual.  Quilt making and quite a bunch of it.

I lost that cluttered small book shelf that held my fabric scraps in smaller baskets and reorganized them into large baskets that were being used for something else and then lined them up on the bottom of this big shelf in my studio.

Doesn’t that look neater?  Now they are not all hanging out in disarray.

They are still based on color.  At the top of this same shelf I have smaller containers with lids that house 2″- 6″ blocks and other bits similar to that that I use constantly.  All is labeled for me to just grab what I need.

In place of that bookshelf I now have a large basket that holds some finished quilts and some vintage quilt tops that will soon be finished.

I recently made the staple dress.  It was an easy make.  Might have taken me 2-3 hours and that included cutting out the pattern pieces.  It’s pretty cute on as well, but the next time I will use something other than quilting cotton, maybe voile.

I then set up a whole pinterest board of fabrics I want to use and patterns I want to use them on.

It’s fall here, but the highs are still in the high 80’s most days.  Still a nice reprieve from the summer temperatures.

I’ve got several projects I’m working on right now.  Some I’ve discussed and some I will be discussing soon.

  • the sky quilt
  • I’m crocheting my grandmother a shawl for Christmas
  • still working on the trippy quilt, just incredibly slowly
  • I also joined a traveling quilt group (2nd time) and getting to know some knew ladies and come up with ideas for a themed quilt for myself. #wanderingquilt
  • I was recently gifted a quilt from my great grandmother that needs finishing (more on this soon)

Outside sewing and quilting I have been watching movies and shows while I work.  A few good ones that I’ve enjoyed recently are:  Game of Thrones (on xfinity), Mercy Street, Poldark and Justified (all on Amazon).  I watched the newest season of The Fall on Netflix.

I’ve been listening to the same podcasts as usual, but two sewing/quilting podcasts that I enjoy very much are Modern Sewciety and The Crafty Planner.

I usually watch TV as I’m piecing and then listen to podcasts when I’m quilting.

When I’m cutting fabric or cleaning or anything else I usually listen to music.  It’s almost always the Spotify app and lately I’ve been enjoying a playlist called Wild + Free.  It’s great.

If you have any recommendations for me, please leave a comment below.

Until next time….