Category Archives: Challenges

Day 28: Thinking about 2016 Goals

Do you have a new year’s resolution yet? I’ve been thinking about what mine could be for the past few days.

Some of my family members have a Facebook group devoted to physical challenges, mostly related to food and exercise. It’s a great way to check-in and support each other. We’ve done several 30 day challenges. One was to cut out sweets for a month, another was to walk 10,000 steps a day, and we had veggies daily. Last month I tried to drink 80oz a day. I didn’t make goal most days but definitely was more hydrated.

Monthly goals are great for me because they help me stay consistent without getting completely overwhelmed by the thought of doing this for an entire year. 365 days is a big number!

The creative introvert who wants to be physically stronger in me is thinking of categorizing goals.

  • Creative goal: try something new every month. This can be learning to knit hats, designing a quilt, making a new page in my art journal, trying a new recipe, or a myriad of other things.
  • Social goal: something. I don’t know what I want this to look like yet. Touch base with each member of my immediate family? Make new friends? Invite people over? Initiate conversations? Join a quilt guild when I move? Teach classes?
  • Health goal: continue with monthly challenges. Get stronger. Stronger than what? How strong? Concrete numbers are good with goals because you’ll know when they’re attained. With my water challenge, drink more water is vague but drink 80oz is trackable.

So that’s where I am so far. How about you?

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Day 9: Repurposing Mom’s Tree Skirt

 

A #31dayblogchallenge post.

It’s a little embarrassing that I’ve got a blanket wrapped around my Christmas tree stand, Linus style.

linusblanketaroundtree

Thing is, the tree skirt my mom made didn’t survive the wash. It was smelly when I took it out of the ornament box so I tossed it in the wash.

momstreeskirt

I knew it might fall apart because of the materials she chose to use at that stage of her quilting journey. Plus the ties weren’t close enough together. Mom’s later quilts were better but this skirt is beloved and has been used under my tree for years. Well, it got all lumpy in the wash.

momstreeskirtlumpybit

All is not lost. I’m redoing my childhood reading quilt and I can do something similar with the fabrics from this tree skirt. So I cut it apart and set the fabrics aside to repurpose into a couch throw later. They’re a little threadbare but with the right interfacing it won’t be a problem. For now they’re in a UFO box next to the reading blocks.

cuttinguptreeskirt    christmasskirtprints

Will you please help? The turtles quilt still needs more pieced tree blocks for the final border. Click here for more information and here for the tutorial.

Day 8: More Tree Blocks Please

This is another #31dayblogchallenge post.

Edited to add: Blocks due January 20th, 2016. After that I’ll make do with what I have and get this project finished. Thanks!

I’ve got three more #getyourquiltywishesgranted envelopes ready to mail and four that are waiting for me to buy stamps. In light of all the giving going on I thought I’d take this opportunity to ask for more help finishing a quilt.

turtlesdrawer

This quilt is for my childhood summer camp and has been a community project from the very beginning. Many artists have helped make the center turtle blocks as well as the tree blocks already.

treelineborder

What I’d love to have is more tree blocks for the final border of the turtles’ quilt. I still need 75 more to make it all the way. Will you help? There’s a block tutorial here for the easy 8″ x 11.5″ pieced blocks. If you’re sending some my way please email me for the address mrs.megan.null at gmail dot com.

treeblock

Day 1: Six Favorite Small Businesses

31dayblogchallengeWelcome to day one of the 31 days blog challenge. This challenge is Cheryl Sleboda’s idea and I’m glad to be a part of it. I’ll be blogging every day from now until the end of this year.

Yesterday was Cyber Monday, which wrapped up the Thanksgiving holiday weekend shopping specials. The 30% off moving sale is still happening in my etsy shop. You know, ’cause I’m still moving and want to have less stuff to shlep. Anyway, I highlighted a few of my favorite small businesses this weekend on the quiltartbymegan Facebook page. Here they are in one spot. Check ’em out!

6favbusinesses

Alex Cook is the artist behind the Multi Mural Project. Community art at its finest, messages like “You Are Loved” are painted on places like school walls, city streets, and inside prisons. It’s led and organized by Alex and the community come in and help paint within his outline with colors he’s chosen. Here’s Alex’s website which includes the murals as well as his musical and written art.

Fed By Threads is a clothing store (in Tucson and online) with American-made organic clothing. It’s body-positive and built to pay everyone from designers to sewists living wages. This is in stark contrast to most clothing companies which use sweatshops overseas to manufacture most of their products. Facebook ’em here and check out their website and shop here.

Katwise makes whimsical coats out of old wool sweaters. Watch her Facebook page for announcements on when the next sale will be. You’ll want to be waiting at her etsy shop when it goes live because they sell out in minutes. No kidding. She also has patterns if you want to try your hand at it. I’ve made a bunch of arm-warmers from her tutorial.

Gregory Patrick of Mad Man Knitting is a blogger, author, and pattern designer. He knit teddy bears and worked his way out of homelessness with this small business. His story is inspiring and his stuff is super-cute. Here’s his website and Facebook page.

X-bility has experiential learning courses that have enhanced how I view myself, my relationships, and the world around me. They’re well worth flying into St. Louis for. Check out their website and Facebook page.

Carol Carter is a watercolor painter. Check out her website here: and find her on Facebook here. She’s great at posting photos of her paintings on Facebook so you’ll want to follow her page. Carol does commissions as well as buy-now paintings. She also teaches.

See you tomorrow.

Teal Mini Quilt Blog Hop: Ovarian Cancer Awareness

12107159_10207273810744087_3802108283043761333_nWelcome! I’m the last stop on this year’s teal mini quilt blog hop. Yay caboose! This swap, hosted by Beth of EvaPaige Quilt Designs, raised $2,000 and awareness for ovarian cancer. The quilts in this post were exchanged between me and my new friend Sarah. Here’s the quilt she made me. It’s double sided!

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Sarah lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer. She has a Pinterest Board dedicated to awareness for this specific disease. I encourage you to check it out. The biggest predictor of successful treatment is early detection and there’s no medical tool that catches it in the earliest stages. Pay attention to your body women of the world! If you feel like there’s something amiss get it checked out. My survivor friend Trisha’s here today in part because she was paying attention and became her own advocate.

Ready to see what I made? I had a back injury while I was making this quilt so it’s 100% hand sewn. I started with some teal yo-yo’s and a contrasting orange batik background fabric. It needed s’more circles but I wanted the teal to be the star so I chose brown. After playing with the placement for a bit I appliqued those yo-yo’s upside down onto the fabric. They’re dimensional and a bit poufy which is fun.

auditioning threads teal quilt

I wanted the thread to stand out a little so you could see the quilting but not too much. So I auditioned them like so. It’s helpful to unwind a bit of thread to see what the strand looks like against the piece. The red’s too bright on the spool but just perfect this way and it’s what I ended up choosing to quilt with.

glue basting teal quiltDouble-fold binding is my jam but it was going to be a pain to sew on entirely by hand so I decided to fold the back over onto the front instead. Usually I’d use a gazillion pins to hold it in place but I saw a cool new thing on Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop. It’s glue basting and it’s pretty amazing. I learned on the tutorial from purpledaisyquilting in minutes. All you need is Elmer’s glue and a hot iron. I found these cute fine-tipped ones at the dollar store. Score!

final press teal quiltfinished teal quiltHere’s a nice close-up I took while doing the final pressing and the finished quilt. There’s no right side up; It can be hung vertically or horizontally. Can you see the concentric circles quilting? No? How ’bout in this pic Sarah took upon receiving it? It got a little smushed in the mail but this is a much better angle to show off my handiwork. Pretty cool.

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Check out these links for the other artists in this blog hop and mark your calendars for August 2016 to participate in next year’s swap. Sign-up via Facebook.

October 12th Tweety Loves Quilting and One Quilting Circle

October 13th Susan Brehm and Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc

October 14th Teachpany and Bobbin’s Lullaby

October 15th Splitting Stitches and Purple Leaf Quilts

October 16th Blue Ribbon Sewing and quiltartbymegan <— you are here!

Lemonade Mode Table Runner for Project Quilting

This week’s Project Quilting challenge is to make a quilt out of charm squares. I had a pack of 5″ squares from moda called Spring House. I thought it’d make a cute baby quilt. charm challenge first cutSo I started by cutting all of the pieces at the same spot. This was done in groups of five so my rotary cutter would go through the layers. I used a piece that was already cut as the template for where to cut the next sets. charm square quilt second cutI mixed the fabrics up and sewed ’em back together then made a second cut. And again.
charm square quilt squaring blocks I squared the blocks up and laid ’em out. Well, this certainly won’t make a baby quilt. It’s too small. There were some leftover charms so I cut ’em in half and sewed them into a long line. My art told me it wanted to be a springtime table runner. Sounded good to me so I went with it. 🙂

pansies and charms on floorThe chop and sew blocks became rows which alternated with the half-charm bricks. I was also working on a pansy-center log cabin quilt.

charm table runner on shelf
So what’s with the name, “Lemonade Mode”? Making lemonade when life hands you lemons is all about problem solving. Even more than that, it’s focusing on solutions rather than on problems.

 

I’ve been in lemonade mode recently and it’s helped reduce my anxiety and increase productivity. While I deal with some health issues I’m feeling fatigued. Instead of overextending myself I’m prioritizing and getting more efficient. My husband and I take turns cooking and make sure to plan for leftovers. I save up errands and do them all at once. (No driving across town just to do it again tomorrow!) I multi-task when quilting. Chain-piecing is great for this. My appointments are in the afternoon when I have the most energy. I read and write at night.

What problems have you solved / can you solve by switching to lemonade mode?

 

When the Playground’s Crowded

I went to the park today to photograph some baby quilts. I talked about using appropriate props in this post and aimed to do that. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. The playground was crowded and I wasn’t going to ask all the kids having fun to get out of my frame. So I took the quilts back home and looked around my yard for other options.

blackwhite crumbs backMy fence is actually a pretty good backdrop. I pinned a string of fabric on the back of each quilt for hanging. The strings loop around two nails on top of the fence where we hung Christmas lights last year. I like the natural look of the wood and the contrast it adds.

blackwhite crumbs frontHere’s the front side of the above quilt. How cool is it that this crumb-pieced baby quilt is double sided?! The front has crumb blocks pieced into black, white, and red fabrics. The back has crumb blocks appliqued onto a green, red, and white floral.

raggedy ann frontHere’s a Raggedy Ann and Overall Andy quilt. I paired this sweet fabric with a solid red to merge modern and traditional. The chevron zig-zag looks a bit like a crown too.

floral baby front This one is a simple floral patchworkcharm challenge first cut
I’m working on two more baby quilts. (And I have several more in mind that haven’t yet been started!) One is for this week’s  Project Quilting challenge. It uses only 5″ charm squares of fabric. I’ll be cutting them up and piecing ’em back together. Here’s the first cut. I have one week to finish and enter it.
three more

Quilts and more are for sale in my etsy shop! Here’s a sampling of other baby-sized ones that are ready today. Want something specific you don’t see here? I specialize in custom orders. Let’s talk.

 

Linking up to Oh Scrap!