April Plant Update

April saw a lot of plant activity! We're still on our way through the month and I hope the old April adage holds true, bc we have a had our share of rainy days!

We moved a bunch of plants around inside to help them thrive. 

We moved a bunch of plants around inside to help them thrive. 

My front beds were starting to bloom at the beginning of the month. 

My front beds were starting to bloom at the beginning of the month. 

After clearing them out a little and giving them some love, they are doing even better. 

After clearing them out a little and giving them some love, they are doing even better. 

Trees are blooming all over town!

Trees are blooming all over town!

My herbs are slowly returning. 

My herbs are slowly returning. 

I've gotta clear these guys out and add soil. 

I've gotta clear these guys out and add soil. 

Only about half my baby roses made it thru the Winter, but the ones that did are living it up!

Only about half my baby roses made it thru the Winter, but the ones that did are living it up!

I can't wait until the weather evens out. What have plants been doing where you live this month?

Solstice Challenge Check In

I've gotten a bit behind in Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge. But It's given me some time to play around with layout and arranging the blocks. 

It's exciting to see a chunk of the blocks together and to imagine what the final piece may look like. I'm liking the idea of these blocks being all joined up with no sashing. Seeing them laid out makes me realize what colors I'd like to add more of. 

Has anyone else participating in this challenge thought out lay out yet?

Linking up with Monday Making, Move it Forward Monday, BOMs Away, and more!

New Block: Studio Time (Solstice block 13/25)

I'm still trying to catch up on the Solstice Challenge, but I'm getting there one block at a time. Studio Time is another great name for a block.  

IMG_4305.JPG

I like that there are a few variations of nine patches in Pat Sloan's BOM. I'm excited to see all the blocks together. Who else is working on this BOM? Are you planning to use the planned layouts? Or are you gonna come up with your own?

Honey Pot Bee April + New Block: Starry Sky

Molli Sparkles' Honey Pot Bee has two block designs a month. This month was one of the first where there wasn't a picture block. This is also the first month where I plan to make both blocks! Here's the first one:

Starry sky was created by A Persevering Mom and my version came out pretty wonky. I could see this block being really fun for a whole quilt. I like how this block matches with some of the other blocks. After a few blocks I'm starting to get excited about how this quilt will turn out! 

Linking up with Molli on instagram and Monday Making, Move it Forward Monday, BOMs Away, Oh Scrap! and more! 

Checking in on MCQBOM2016

In 2016 I made my first Mad Cat Quilts BOM. I chose blocks each month that I had never sewn before. I wasn't sure how I was going to lay them all out in the end. I decided to echo the geometric theme of the fabric but creating a simple grid with a dark sashing. 

I actually started sashing the blocks before I even finished the last block in December. But then I let it sit for a while. I added it to my first quarter FAL, but it still sat. 

This week, I gathered all the wrinkly parts and started finishing sashing the blocks. Elvis helped me, but he got a bit bored. He here is caught mid yawn: 

So, now MCQBOM2016 is getting closer to being a quilt top!! The blocks were all a bit different in size so I added some extra of the grey here and there. It's pretty wonky, but I'm really happy with it!

IMG_4321.JPG

These are not the best photos, the fabric is wrinkly and not laid out flat, cats are everywhere! But that's how I work so I think it's worth seeing in it's true in progress shape! 

I also added this quilt to my Q2FAL list, so I'm happy to be making some headway on it. Now I'm on a bit of a roll. I'll post more soon! Today I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday, BOMs Away at What a Hoot, and more!

New Block: Jacob's Ladder (Solstice Block 12/25)

I'm making so many new blocks as part of Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge! Looking around, there seem to be a few variations of this classic block. This one was pretty easy to make and came together quickly!

IMG_3837.JPG

I cut the pieces for this block at home then pieced it on a bus ride! It came out a wee bit smaller than most of the blocks. I never can tell!!

Linking up with Making Monday, Move It Forward Monday, etc...

Ghostman

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

Another book from my father's audio stash, Ghostman by Roger Hobbs was read by Jake Weber. 

9780385361743_p0_v3_s192x300.jpg

I listened to this book way back at the end of 2016. My husband got to hear some of this one, and it was fun to share and discuss this audiobook. 

Jack is the man on a robbery they call the Ghostman. His area of expertise is to make the other members of the heist disappear, but he never existed in the first place. When old debts and old loves come back to haunt him, Jack must reassess his career choices. 

I put off posting about this book for ages bc I didn't get a great picture of the cover. And bc I wasn't overly thrilled by the story it's self. But last week, my dad texted me to let me know that the author had died. In fact, Roger Hobbs died last year right around the time I was listening to this book. He was only 28. My father wanted to let me know, and also to see if I wanted to read/listen to the sequel. 
Ghostman was extremely silly mafia noir style. But it wasn't very good. Violent and genre specific to the point of nonsensical, I found the book a little hard to get thru. I liked the reader's enthusiasm, but he lost the thread a few times, intermingling voices, which didn't help this book's flow. Overall, Ghostman was a silly violent romp and totally worth reading/listening to, if that's your thing. Personally I'm more into classic noir. My favorite thing about this book is that it's set in Atlantic City, NJ. I enjoyed that it has some reference to the city and surrounding area. 
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy this type of mafia/noir/heist genre. 

Any lovers of this style of book out there? Can someone recommend other books like this?

New Block: Quilt Math (Solstice Block 11/25)

I was pleased to see the name of the 11th block for Pat Sloan's Solstice challenge bc "quilt math" is something I never do. I never use a ruler or other measuring tools when hand sewing and quilting. Quilt math is something I see many quilters get frustrated about, but not me! 

IMG_3759.JPG

This was a fun block to make and come together quickly. This is another block I could see repeated to make a fun and geometric full quilt. 

Linking up around blog land. What are your favorite block link parties?

 

YOTS2017 - Evolution of a Stitch

One of my goals for this year is to be more mindful in how I improve my quilting craft. To me, this is a goal that coincides with Year Of The Stash. To be mindful of what fabric you use and how you craft it goes hand in hand!

One thing that I've been working on is the size and consistancy of my stitches. I'm completely blown away when I see the tiny stitches that many practiced hand sewists have. Being self taught, I really stumbled my way thru my first dozen years sewing and quilting. Now I'm finding my technique and style. 

After years of sewing and watching quilters, I'm trying to get my stitches small and even. This is a great collection of hand sewing videos. Practicing stitches is a great way to use my stash!

So far, my work isn't as precise as I'd like. But I'm trying!

Here's my month Stash Update for April:
Fabric Added from the Since Last Update: 0
Fabric Added Year to Date: Approximately 13.25
Fabric Used Since Since Last Update: Approximately 2 yd
Fabric Used Year to Date: Approximately 8.5 yd

What are some of the ways you practice your craft and use your stash?

Mad Cat Capsule: Spring (April - June)

This Spring, I have decided to try a Capsule Wardrobe. I plan to do a full year of capsule as an experiments for having less, loving what I wear and being comfortable all the time. More about capsule wardrobes here. 

For the last 2 weeks, I've been paring down my closet, reorganizing my stored clothing, cleaning, getting items ready to donate, or throwing things away. My plan in to wear my Spring wardrobe from April through June. I hear that putting your first capsule together is the hardest, and I can say, it's giving me some trouble. Although I have the bulk and core of my spring capsule together, there is still a substantial maybe pile, including a dress section to add. 

Traditionally, Capsule Wardrobes are 33 - 37 pieces and usually don't include under garments, workout clothes, loungewear, swimwear, etc... Some people include shoes, accessories, etc.. some do not. Some include everything and still manage under 40 items. 

My Spring Capsule rounds out at 50 items of clothing not including shoes, under garments, lounge wear, active wear, or anything else. I did include the 3 slots I'd like for dresses. I think this is pretty good considering I have hundreds (probably thousands) of clothes. I can also see myself pairng this down over the next three months. Just today I eliminated 3 items I thought I'd need, but when I looked at them again, I didn't. 

Here's my capsule:
9 tank tops.

Flounder couldn't resist helping me with the photos for this post. 

Flounder couldn't resist helping me with the photos for this post. 

This seems like a lot and may be too many. But I use tank tops for layering and wear them pretty much every day in the colder weather. I also often wear them instead of bras so they kinda double as underwear. I have some with spaghetti straps, some wider straps, some short some long. I chose a wide variety, but tried to stick to my loose color theme. 

3 plain crew neck tees.
These are also a go to for layering for me. I picked my three favs that work with the color scheme I have going this season. Green, blue, and grey. Check out the picture above for an example. 

4 plain V neck tees. 

Again, I wear these mostly for layering, but as the weather gets warm, I'll wear them on their own, too. 

5 graphic tees.

IMG_3922.JPG

You guessed it, layering. But also, on warm days I'll wear these alone (or with a tank underneath, and/or over shirt). Again, I tried to pick my favorites that fit my color scheme. Mostly they are band tees, but that local brewery shift is new. One of the only new items I have bought so far this year.

1 oversized stripped tee.

This is a anomalous item. I got it last year (new) and really loved it but barely wore it bc of several reasons ( it's white, oversized, not my usual style, etc...). But doe this capsule idea I want to incorporate some items that are different than what I normally wear. I want to find and develop my style. I know I love this tee, so I should wear it. 

1 ratty striped tee.  

This is another weird item. It's one of my all time favorite tees, and well loved, but I never wear it. This capsule I want to wear it and wear it out if I have to. One things I realized when I was crafting this wardrobe was that I loved actually distressed clothing. Not the store bought ripped knees things but clothes that I've worn to pieces. I want to incorporate this into my style more as a statement, not just neglect. Some might say I've gone too far with this shirt, and I couldn't wear it to work, but I feel great when I wear it. 

2 nice tees.

IMG_3924.JPG

One floral, one silk, both vintage. These are great for work, fancier occasions or everyday. 

3 long sleeved tees.

IMG_3931.JPG

These are for layering, and stand alone times when a long sleeved shirt is what you need. I have a warmer but very light and thin waffle tee, a striped tee, and a plain green tee (not pictured). 

2 three quarter sleeved shirts (not pictured).
These are really great middle weather shirts and will be especially useful for work. I also like wearing them, of course, so even tho they aren't my go to right now, I see myself getting a lot of use out of them. 

3 over shirts.

These are a mix of my favorites that I wear all the time, and my favorites I never wear. Now's the time! The sweater is from a friend's stoop sale, the denim was at a lost and found at work, and the checks is from the Boys section of a big box store. I've had all of them for over 5 years. 

4 sweaters.

IMG_3942.JPG

This one was tough. I'm really into sweaters right now. 

4 skirts. 

I'm not a huge skirt wearer, I tried to pick a few that I love and will last me 3 months. 

6 pants.

I mostly wear pants! I love jeans! Lately I have been hunting for the best of the best of second hand pants. 5 out of these 6 are second hand. I would also like to find a really great pair of black pants to add but I have't yet. I didn't include any shorts in this capsule, partly bc I wear pants almost the whole summer and partly bc skirts can serve that purpose. 

2-3 dresses (not pictured).
I have narrowed my dresses down to a few I think I'd like. It's tough for me to know/decide which ones I will be likely to wear and style for cold and warm weather. I'll show these when I come to my decision. 

Maybe that's only 49 pieces? Phew, thats a fraction of what's normally in my closet and it still seems like a ton!! I'm not including hoodies, outerwear or lounge wear either. I have a feeling this will be a changing wardrobe as I see what clothes I gravitate towards. I already see the same items again and again. Part of the challenge for me with be to wear items out of my normal comfort zone, but partly I will ax items that I just don't wear. 

I'll continue posting updates, ideas, and thoughts about this project. 
If any one else is working on their Capsule Wardrobe please share your findings! Or share you wardrobe!

OMG April

Here we are at the end of the 3rd month of OMG2017, and I haven't had a singe finish! Yikes. Maybe I'm choosing too lofty goals. So for April, I'm picking an easy one.  I started this little quilt top using scraps from another top I'm building. For April, I'd Like to finish just the top. 

IMG_3840.JPG

That goal seems easy enough and I'd really like to get it done. There's no rush on this one, it's not even on my Q2 FAL list, so that should take some pressure off. But I think this will make a perfect little baby quilt some day. 

Here's a rather sad look at OMG2017 so far:
Jan - Quilt Maybe Lyz - Not finished
Feb - Quilt Tom Mat - Not finished
Mar - Finish Tom Mat - Not Finished
Apr - Finish Little Baby Quilt Top - 

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts and OMG, Needle and Thread Thursday, Finished or Not It's Friday, Building Block Tuesday and more!

New Block: The Coffee Shop (Solstice Block 10/25)

The Coffee Shop Block, block 10 of the Solstice Challenge, is pretty similar to other blocks I've made, but bc of it's boarders, I'm still calling it a new block. It's basically a fat plus block (not sure if there's a real name for that) with little boarders, but playing with color really changes this block's look. 

IMG_3632.JPG
Pat Sloan's Coffee Shop Block.

Pat Sloan's Coffee Shop Block.

Look at how Pat made her version so that the borders become a sort of echo (at right). It's hard to believe how different our two blocks look. I might try that next time. I could picture many variations of this block to make a full quilt. 

Since I only eyeball the measurements in quilting, this block turned out quite a bit bigger than the others I have made so far. As usually, I'm not worried about it now, I'm sure everything will fit together in the end. 

I'm linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, Monday Making, Move It Forward Monday, Tuesday Building Blocks and more!