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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A wandering quilt – mine, the honey bee quilt

This month I start a journey with a new traveling quilt group called Wandering Quilt.

I have done a traveling quilt group before in 2015 and received an incredible quilt that I never posted about.  Maybe I should post that soon.  Here is a pic of that quilt in case you are interested.

That project really tested my skills.  Our group had some incredibly talented women and I doubt I measured up, but I was honored to be a part of their group.

Just in case you are not familiar with traveling quilts here is the idea:  Each member of your group creates a starter block and usually writes a journal with details, theme and style they would like their quilt to end up.  You send your starter block to another member in your group (usually there is a list, and you send it to the next lady on the list), they have a month to add on to your starter block and get your quilt going.  Then, they send it to the next woman on the list and so on and so on until your quilt arrives back to you.  In the meantime, as your quilt is traveling to each member of your group, their quilts are as well, so you will be adding to their quilts.

We have 10 women in our group.  That means that 9 ladies besides me will be working on my quilt and I will be working on 9 different quilts.  All themed.

The Theme:

I’ve been working on my theme and starter block for quite a bit.  And have decided that I would like to have a ‘bee’ themed quilt.

My dad has about 5-6 bee hives and every summer I am out there helping him with the honey.  Being allergic to bees I stay away from their hives.  My chore is usually running a knife over the honeycombs and removing the wax caps so the honey can flow.  I think it’s called skiving (not positive about that).

I usually eat quite a bit of honey as I do. 🙂

Some pics of inspiration:

what goes better with bees than flowers?  I’d like a fair amount of flowers on my quilt as well.  Early last year, I finished a mod corsage quilt, and I LOVE cutting flowers from fabrics and then appliqueing them onto other fabrics.  I’d really like to see that on my quilt.

Naturally, I’d like a fair amount of bees on my quilt.  I found several blocks from Bee in my Bonnet that I liked.

I’m also envisioning lots of hexagons.

This year is going to be THE year for me and hexies, but more on that later.

Besides bees, hexagons, and flowers, I thought it would be cute to have phrases that have been altered to include the word ‘bee’.

Style of Quilt

At first, while planning, I had thought my bee quilt would probably end up similar to my daydream quilt from the 2015 traveling quilt group, random and whimsical, but after some serious thought, I’ve decided that I want a medallion quilt.

But not just any medallion quilt.  I want a modern medallion.  I want a medallion where it’s not just rounds and rounds around a center square, but the rounds aren’t always symmetrical.  I found some examples of this below.

The quilt below was what pushed me over the edge for a medallion quilt.  I love the quirks.  The diamonds in only a few places, the color differences between one side and the other.

the only thing about medallion quilts is that they always end up square.  And since I received a square quilt last time, I prefer to get a rectangle one this go round.

I found some examples below.

Color Palette

For colors which is my favorite part this time, I want GREEN.  I want dark moody hunter green and bright happy emerald green.

I also want a fair amount of black and white used in my quilt, particularly black and white stripe.  I like metallic gold as well.

The green in the above and below image is the PERFECT shade of green I’m looking for.  I’m also looking at pastels with the green, gold and black.

I’m very excited about this quilt.  All of the images used in the above part of this post were taken from pinterest.  They are all pinned on a board here with links to their original places.

The Starter Block

For the center of my medallion, I wanted a little lady bee with lots of flowers.

I made her first, embroidery and applique and I had my lady bee.

Then I cut lots of flowers from fabrics and interfaced them, planning on applique them like I mentioned earlier.

This week i cut all of my hexagons from pastel fabrics.  I used my hex n more ruler and cut 4.5″ half hexies.

I bordered it with black and white dots.

My lady bee has been sewn down to my starter block, but I have yet to sew the flowers.  I’ve been playing with the arrangement.  I also didn’t end up using all that I had cut and planned to use.  And I ended up with a different arrangement than the one I had in my head.

But I like it.  Quite a bit actually.

I didn’t use much of my color palette.  I had the idea that if I used all light colors my center my glow in the middle of all the rounds the quilt might end up with.  Maybe.

My daughter took one look at this and laughed.  I’m not sure what that was about.  She probably thinks I’m always silly.  Maybe I am.

I’ll think I’ll just leave lady bee hanging here until I have to ship her off to another quilter in February.

I cannot wait to see her grow and I also am excited about working on other themed quilts for the women of Wandering Quilts.

xo, Melanie