Monday, May 26, 2008

Clancy | 5 Weeks Old (and slight change of plans)

If you've been following along, you know that we've decided to get a Golden Doodle and have been deciding between two puppies from the same litter (we'll call them Blue Ribbon and Green Ribbon). There are other puppies in the litter, but we were under the impression that all of the others had been chosen and that we'd get to pick between Blue and Green this weekend.

Well, the people in front of us actually hadn't decided on one of the other puppies, and selected Green Ribbon instead. Which opened the door for us to actually get our first choice all along.

Please allow me to introduce Orange Ribbon ... or, as he will be known from this point on, Clancy!

You can see that he is more orange / brown colored than the other two, which were both much lighter in color.

He should be arriving in about 2 weeks.

Quilt-a-Long (Week 4)

Hey everyone! I hope all of you (well, at least those of you in the U.S.!) enjoyed a long weekend. Today was our 7-year anniversary, so we tried to enjoy the weekend as much as possible*. That, combined with my class in Chicago for most of last week, didn't allow for too much time to work on my many projects. I did, however, manage to turn out a few more of AmandaJean's quilt-a-long blocks.

Here's week 4's block:

And from the first quilt-a-long, week 8's block:

... and week 11's block:

I'm still thrilled about how this quilt is going to look when all's said and done. Here are the 12 blocks I've already completed:

* P.S. In case you're wondering, we celebrated our anniversary on Saturday. We got a babysitter and went for a long hike around a lake near our house, followed by dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and a movie ("Iron Man"). Good movie, by the way. I'm not a fan of Robert Downey Jr. or of Gwyneth Paltrow, but I am a HUGE fan of comic book movies ... and I actually think all of the actors were great in this movie. If you're into this sort of thing, make sure you stay past ALL of the credits for a fun surprise scene.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ahhh, Springtime ...

I hope you're enjoying some nice warm weather in your neck of the woods this weekend.

Oh, and I guess this type of thing is inevitable when a boy grows up with two older sisters:

Nothing wrong with a little ballet every now and then! At least we got him to take the barrette out of his hair ...

Off to Chicago tomorrow for a class lasting through Wednesday. No quilting (and probably no posts) for the next few days.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

ALQS Quilt Top DONE!

I am so excited because I finished my swap quilt top this evening ...

... and I LOVE it!

This is going to be the backing, I think:

I can only hope that my swap partner will like it. I think (hope?) it fits her preferences.

For those of you who have swapped before, does it always hurt, just a little, to let one of these things go??

Thursday, May 15, 2008

ALQS (another sneak peek)

In between working on my quilt-a-long blocks, I've continued playing with color and placement in my swap quilt. With a little help from my friends (thanks so much, guys!), all of the pieces are starting to fall in to place.

Here are some teasers:

I think I'll have the top done this weekend. If I do, I'll post some more pictures.

Quilt-a-Long (Week 3)

I made some more progress on the quilt-a-long this week. I am still struggling with taking halfway decent pictures, so these all look a little bit muddy.

Here's week 3's block from the Seeing Stars quilt-a-long (quilt-a-long #2):

I love the colors on this one. Unfortunately, the picture's not doing them any justice. There's another little squirrel in that print. See him?

This next block might just be my favorite so far. I decided to make another week 2 block, mostly because it is one of the few to feature such a large center square. Because the fabric line I am using has a lot of large prints that get lost when cut down too small, this was the perfect block to repeat. Plus, I got to use a bit of Mr. Owl ...

Since I am simultaneously making blocks for both quilt-a-longs, I decided to omit one of the blocks from quilt-a-long 1 and replace it with Mr. Owl. I am usually such a stickler for rules, but once I decided it was OK to veer off course a bit, I felt very liberated. I might actually make a 3rd one of these blocks and omit another QAL1 block.

I've also been completing some of the blocks from QAL1, but I've stopped doing them in order.

Here's QAL1 week 3:

... QAL1 week 4 ...

... and QAL1 week 10:

Finally, here's a mosaic of all 9 blocks so far:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Clancy | 4 weeks old

Here are the latest pics, hot off the presses:

For those of you just tuning in, one of the above pups will be our Clancy ... we're just not sure which one yet.

Mother's Day Report

First, here are the kids in their Mother's Day best ...

The table runner was a big hit with my mother-in-law. I got it quilted and washed late Friday night before heading out on Saturday morning. You can't see the quilting too well in these pictures, but I was really happy with the way it turned out.

Now I just have to finish my mom's and ship it up to NYC ...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

PP10 Swap | Blocks Received!

Happy Sunday (and, once again, Happy Mother's Day)!

Just a quick post to share the blocks I received from the Penny Pincher swap I participated in last month (blogged here). I took a picture of each block and created this mosaic in Flickr. I think it gives a great idea of what the completed top might look like.

I think I'll use the same mosaic toy to track my quilt-a-long progress.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you moms, moms-to-be, grandmoms, great-grandmoms, godmoms, aunts, and even friends a Happy Mother's Day!! And an extra special thank you is going out to my wife, who I know is one of my most loyal readers and is the best mother in the whole world.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to see my mom for Mother's Day, as she is home in Brooklyn NY (where I was born and raised) and we're down here in Tar Heel country. But we did send her a very special gift, which I know you all will appreciate.

We signed my mom up for a Beginning Quilting class at Purl!

My mom is already a very crafty lady -- she is a world-class knitter that makes absolutely beautiful, boutique-worthy baby sweaters and kids' sweaters (that without fail receive multiple compliments from strangers any time my kids wear them) as well as knitted blankets. But I think she's itching to get into quilting as well. I hope she likes the gift, and I am excited to see how she responds.

We'll be seeing my wife's mother and grandmother this weekend, and this past Sunday I was struck by a moment of inspiration (or was it insanity??). I decided I wanted to give both my mother and mother-in-law something homemade for Mother's Day. I had a jelly roll of Dandelion Girl and no plans of what to do with it, so I decided to tackle a table runner that I saw in a recent issue of American Patchwork & Quilting that really caught my eye.

It's been keeping me up late every night this week.

Here it is, all pieced and pressed. I plan on quilting it this evening.

So I seem to learn something new with each new project. With this one, it was how to sew together angled pieces and still get them into a straight line. This "beginner" pattern failed to mention anything about it! It took me a good 15 minutes of staring at it and 2 ripped seams to figure it out.

I LOVE this and I am so excited by how it turned out. One jelly roll makes 2 of these, with a good bit still left over. Unfortunately, I only completed one of the two. My mom's is all cut and I hope to work on it next week. I already told her that her gift would be a bit late ... but I'm hoping the surprise of the class will be enough to get her through.

Clancy | 3 weeks old

Here are the most recent pictures of Clancy @ 3 weeks old:

We need some help! What recommendations do you have for things that we should be picking up before he arrives? Several of you have already suggested chew toys (thanks!) ... what else ... ... ...??

Quilt-a-Long (Week 2)

Here are my blocks from week 2 of AmandaJean's quilt-a-long. The block on top is from her second quilt-a-long (Seeing Stars), and the one on the bottom is from the first.

4 blocks completed so far, 21 to go:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Quilt-a-Long (Week 1)

I completed my first blocks for AmandaJean's quilt-a-long last night. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am going to simultaneously work on both her first and second quilt-a-longs. This week, I completed block 1 from each. Here they are:

See the little guy in the middle of that square? Wait for it, wait for it ... yeah, there he is! See the squirrel? I love this fabric!

Although I was a bit worried about tackling two squares a week, I actually finished both of these in one night. I don't even want to talk about the many stupid, stupid mistakes I made while cutting & piecing these. I'm attributing it to being overly anxious to get started, and not paying enough attention to the details. Let's just say that, 2 blocks in, I already have a pretty significant pile of mis-cut scraps.

Can you blame me? I am so excited about this quilt, even more so now that I have started putting some of it together. The colors and fabrics are just great ... I hope these photos do them justice. I think this will actually be such a great quilt when it's done -- different squares, with different colors and different animals in each. I almost feel like it will be a "storybook" quilt when it's done.

It's not my best work ... the points and corners don't match up quite as nicely as I've been doing lately, but it's certainly not bad enough to even consider ripping or starting over.

I'm taking some liberties with colors and placement -- AmandaJean's tutorial for both of the above squares only used background and 1 colored fabric ... I'm adding more colors to each block because these fabrics look so nice together. I peeked ahead and I'm excited to see that some of the upcoming blocks have some pretty large squares in them because some of these Full Moon Forest fabrics have large animals that get lost when cut too small.

I also got a pretty good jump on the second square from QAL1. Hope to complete that this weekend.

How's everyone else doing?