Flaming Star

If you follow me on Instagram (@monkeyneedle), you may recall last summer and early fall when I was working on a ‘secret’ project.  Well, I am so EXCITED that I FINALLY get to share it with you. I HAVE JUST BEEN PUBLISHED IN A MAJOR QUILTING MAGAZINE!  My quilt is in the March/April issue of Quiltmaker magazine by Fons and Porter.  EEEEEKK!!!

Introducing FLAMING STAR.

img_5810-1

It is amazing how long it takes to get through all the steps: design, submission, acceptance, making the quilt, quilting the quilt, mailing it to the magazine so they can take pictures, write the article, and then make it part of an upcoming issue.  Whew!

I designed this quilt about 15 months ago.  It took me about 3 months to get up the nerve to submit the quilt design to a publishing company.  And then it took about 6 months for them to say they wanted to use it.  Things moved faster after that.  I spent about 6 weeks piecing the quilt, and then sent it off to the quilter who had it about 4 weeks before she was able to get to it.  Then in the mail it went, and about 3 months later it was returned to me.

THE FABULOUS LONG-ARM QUILTING on this quilt is by Andrea Walker at Walker Quilt Co.  Her work is just AMAZING!!  Go check her out.

img_5819-2

I really wish I could have taken a few more pictures.  We had a snow storm moving in and it was extremely windy.  Right after I snapped the picture below, the wind ripped the quilt from the XL binder clips holding it and it went flying through the air.  I caught it on my head.  It was quite funny!  Getting it clipped up in another location for more pictures was also not working.  So, maybe another day.

img_5823-2

It’s all about color placement!  The quilt is designed using just two simple blocks.  Each block is 14″ square. It looks more complicated than it really is.  The color placement gives it the striking look.  I’m usually not big on borders, but in this case I added a 3 1/2″ border (1/4 the block size) and carried the design into the border in certain areas.  I then faced the quilt, rather than binding it.  I have been doing that for many of my quilts lately if I don’t want a ‘frame’ around the finished look of the quilt.

Pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stores today.  My quilt got a small inset on the front cover (top right corner), the full quilt just inside the front cover, and a whole layout with directions on how to make you own version on pages 30-35.

Fabrics: All Kona Cotton Solids in white, shadow, steel, Jamaica,  Bahama blue, robin egg, baby blue, and coral.

Measures: 77″ x 77″.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and  Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Carolina Lily

Our challenge this week for Project Quilting was the Carolina Lily.  The Carolina Lily is the official wildflower of North Carolina, and since I am 100% North Carolinian this challenge was perfect for me to make something representative of the state I was born, raised, and currently reside in.

carolina-lily

I made another refrigerator quilt to go with the others I shared with you earlier this month.  It measures 12″ square, and I decided to machine bind it to save some time.

I used batiks for this small quilt.  And I added a Ruby-Throated hummingbird that is also native to North Carolina.  I love the bright colors and the details.

close-up

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Project Quilting Season 8 at Persimon Dreams.  Check out the more than 100 quilted items made this past week and vote NOW for your favorites at Persimon Dreams.

UP TO SOMETHING!

Even though I haven’t blogged much this summer, I have been working on several new projects.

In June, a friend and I gathered our collective resources and made this baby quilt.  She had been asked to make the quilt as a commissioned piece, and she doesn’t like to applique.  I, on the other hand, LOVE to applique!  So we decided to join forces to make it happen.  I did the applique, she did the piecing, and we had one very happy client.

baby boy quilt

Also in June the two oldest grand-monkeys came to visit.  We had 4 fun filled days playing in the river and starting our fairy garden.  Our fairy garden started out as a very weed-filled old flower bed.  We were able to get it weeded and get a river rock path in place before they had to go back home.  I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, and it will likely be Christmas before I see them again (which is definitely not soon enough.)

IMG_4283

Collecting Rocks

IMG_4301

Our fairy garden has a rock path

Last but not least, our nephew married the love of his life in the month of June.  It was such a beautiful and fun wedding.  I am so very happy for them, and knowing that their marriage is built on the love of our Lord Jesus Christ makes it that much more special.

LOVE

July we celebrated our youngest son’s birthday.  He turned 16 and he is also growing up much too fast.  He’s my baby so I want to keep him small as long as possible.  But he grew taller than me this past year.  I wouldn’t say that he is spoiled, although his sister and brothers would probably not agree.  I just like to think that since his older siblings have moved out, we, the parents, are less stressed and are therefore usually nicer. HAHA!  Isn’t he the lucky one!

16-years old

16-years old

Then I went blackberry picking beside the road.  Within 5 minutes I had fallen and hurt my hand very badly.  That put me out of commission for about 3 weeks before I got good movement back, and another 2-3 weeks before I got any strength back in it.  So, I wasn’t able to do any quilting for about 3 weeks.  It was a very sad time.  😦

IMG_4413

August has kept me busy with taxes and a secret project.  Even though I left my full-time tax position over a year ago and am now working in real estate, I still do some taxes on the side. So, several months each year (Feb-April and Aug-Oct) I might have to spend several weekends working on business and individual tax returns.

Wait, did I just mention something about a secret project?  Well, it’s true.  I do have a secret project in progress.  It will be a few months before I can share the whole quilt with you, but here’s a few sneak peak photos.  This has been my quilting project for the month of August.  I plan to have the top finished this weekend, then it will be sent on to my long-arm magician.  No way am I going to try to quilt this one myself!  IMG_4503

IMG_4543 IMG_4545

So, you see, I have been UP TO SOMETHING!

Till we meet again…

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Nowhere Fast

I posted a blog.  Don’t freak out!

It seems as if everything I do these days takes longer than expected.  We’ve been working on the two bathrooms in our house for months on end.  Both were deconstructed in April last year. (Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been that long).  Imagine 1960’s pea green tile, a 4′ x 6′ frameless mirror, and beige linoleum.  Overall, nothing to write home about.  We don’t live in a high-end neighborhood so we haven’t planned a million dollar restyle, but we thought something more current would be nice.  We plan to redo the tile around the bath surround, reglaze the tub, put in new sinks, counter tops, faucets, and floors.

IMG_1481IMG_4153

Total time we expected this to take — about 4-6 weeks.  We are doing this ourselves and we both work full-time jobs, so this will be just an evening and weekend project.  It was a great plan!

As it turns out, we don’t want to work on it every spare moment, and it seems as if nothing in this house is standard size.  Things have to be fitted and refitted, leveled and re-leveled.  And then sometimes, things just have to be fudged a little bit.

IMG_0674 IMG_0673

Good news is we’re getting closer.  We have one shower/tub completely done, and another one close to being done.  I love how the tile work looks.  And it’s so nice to take a shower in something bigger than a broom closet finally.

IMG_0878 IMG_0877

On the quilting side, I’m working on a lone star quilt for my middle son.  I sewed the first panel together and it was WRONG.  The blue diamonds are supposed to be going horizontally throughout the panel, not vertically.

IMG_1042

So, I ripped it all out and sewed it back together.  And… it’s wrong AGAIN!

IMG_1043

Can you tell?  The blue triangles are going the right way this time, but there are two green triangles that are opposite where they should be.  Even though it’s only two seams, I still have to rip it out and sew it again.  Ugh!  And matching up the seams properly are a bear.  This is definitely not a slap it together quilting project.

So, yes, we are steadily working on the bathrooms, and I’m working on several quilting projects.  But, it seems as if we get nowhere fast.  Hopefully, one day soon, it will all start coming together and we can mark something complete and off the list.  I’ll be sure to share it with you when we do.  Until  then, we’ll keep plugging along.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Roughin’ It

We purchased on older model pop-up camper this week.  Honeyman wants to travel an hour or two for hunting purposes, and we like to go to the beach or mountains for short weekend get-a-ways.  So I expect it will get a lot of use.  We have been looking at campers for sale for several weeks and it is amazing the prices these things still sell for.  They hold their value much better than a car does.  We saw some that were 10-15 years old and people wanted $3000-$4000 for them.

We found an ’81 Coleman for a much better price.  Overall, we were looking for a good deal with solid bones and a good top — and this one fit that perfectly.   It doesn’t have a microwave, or a porta-potty (I think I’m ok with that), and the other little extras that the newer pop-up campers have.  But, I’m good with that.  There are two areas of the canvas that are unraveling and need to be restitched — good thing I’m pretty handy with a needle and thread.  Also, the board under the sink area is rotted out and will need to be replaced.

The tires however, may take a little more work.  Not 10 minutes into the drive last night, one of the tires blew (that is how the dent in the side panel got there).  Not to worry though — it came with a spare.  I’m not sure in which decade the tires were last changed, but whenever it was, it was too long ago — they are permanently rusted in place now!  The lug nuts will not budge.  So honeyman was driving home with the left side of the truck and camper on the road, and the right side on the grassy edge.  It was a sight to see.  That worked until he got into town and then the grassy edge became concrete curbs and sidewalks, so that wasn’t going to work any more.  He pulled off at the first tire center he found and left it in the parking lot overnight.  Bright and early this morning, we drove back up there when they opened.  Surely, they could get the tire off with their impact wrench… Wrong!  They couldn’t get it off either.  The lug nuts really are stuck!  So we had to tow it home.  Golly geez, that was expensive!  The tow cost a 1/3 of what we paid for the camper itself.  Not sure how we’re going to get the tires off and replaced, but hopefully it won’t be too bad on the pocketbook.

The inside is something ugly though (hope it didn’t overhear me say that).  What was it about the 70’s and early 80’s that made designers think that gold, orange, and brown were the choice decorating colors?  Ewww!  So, while honeyman works on the wheels, I’ll be doing my magic on the inside.  A trip to the fabric store is at the top of the list.  Yippee!  And then a trip to the hardware store for paint. I love to sew and paint so this is right up my alley. I’m not sure I’ll be adding curtains or fluffy pillows, but a color change in the cushions and laminate is definitely on the list.  And maybe curtains if I can find some tracks to hang up on the inside.  I haven’t completely ruled them out yet.

As if we didn’t already have a lot to keep us busy, we have another project now.  I love taking something old and ugly and making it beautiful again.  It’s so much fun to dig in, work with my hands, watch the progress, and then end up with a nice finished project.  I think that’s why I like quilting and sewing so much.  Although I typically start with nice, not ugly, fabric, it is still nothing more than a flat 44″ by something inch panel that has no real use.  But throw together a little designing, a little cutting, and a little sewing and you end up with really nice usable items — quilts, aprons, clothes, curtains, bags, etc.  It’s amazing all the things you can make with fabric, and it’s ‘sew’ much fun!  It’s the enjoyment and the feeling of achievement – a job well done.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2013 Goals — But NOT a New Year’s Resolution

Let me be very upfront about this. I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly do not think I have ever seen anyone, and I mean ANYONE, keep or live up to their New Year’s resolution. I see it only as a way to let yourself down.

However, I do believe in setting goals. In fact, to quote a well-known financial guru, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Plans and goals are essential. Otherwise, you live day in and day out with no direction; and without direction, in 10-years, you’re likely to be exactly where you are now.

Very seldom does want you want come easy. It usually takes hard work and dedication. But what are you going to work towards if you don’t know where it is you want to be. Setting goals will give you that direction.  Your goals need to be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.  And goal setting can happen at any time, not just on the first day of each year.

So here are some of my short-term goals.

Quilting/Sewing related:

Other goals:

  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Make a photo book for 2012
  • Plant, expand, keep up with my garden this year
  • Lose weight – isn’t this on everyone’s list?  I need to lose at least 40 pounds this year.  60 would be better, but we’ll keep it real at 40.  In order to meet that goal, I will need to:
    • Stay away from sugar and simple carbs
    • Exercise 5 hours a week.
  • Stay on a budget every month.
  • Work with monkey #1 on Pre-K workbooks
  • Do Financial Peace Jr. with my 12-year old