Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Battle With Binding

Is it just me? Or is binding for your quilt a battle for you, too?

Maybe it is because I don't do it often, and then I have to relearn the process all over again. Yes, I remember how to cut and sew up one continuous piece of binding. I remember what my mom told me about pinning it onto the quilt to make sure a seam isn't on a corner. But then it all goes to pot.

I'm only sewing around a 12-1/2" square block, and you'd think I couldn't screw it up. Oh, but I did. Several ways and several times.

First, I sewed the first two corners like this: - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Battle with Binding

Can you spot the problem? I sewed the corner shut! How am I to turn the binding over to the back when I sewed it closed to the front? Hmmm.  Luckily, I spotted this issue before I sewed all four corners. But I did have to pick the duds out and redo them.

And when I did, I finally got 4 corners like this: - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Battle with Binding
Phew! Just right.

Then it came to closing or finishing the binding,and I was just a mess. First, I didn't give myself much space to work with closing the binding and had to take out stitches so I could maneuver the pieces. Also, I kept sewing them wrong! I just couldn't seem to get the two ends together correctly. One would be twisted, or I'd sew right side and wrong side together, or it was a jumble of material. It was amazing how I managed to screw it up so many ways and so many times. I was too frustrated to take pictures--I was actually embarrassed.  Plus I kept thinking I had figured out what I did wrong and fixed it only to get some lousy jumbled mess--again. I honestly lost track of how many times I sewed them wrong. I had to put it down and walk away.

The next morning, it only took 4 tries to get it done right! Woo-hoo! I was so excited!
I trimmed it. I starched it. And realized, it still wasn't right. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Battle with Binding
My excitement died. I thought, "Seriously?"

So, back to ripping, remeasuring, and sewing.

Finally. After a two day battle I was victorious! - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Battle with Binding
For a project that was supposed to be "quick" and "easy," it sure is turning out to be "time consuming" and "difficult." First it was the quilting, now it is the binding.

Does anyone else do battle with binding or is just me?

Linked up with Stitch by Stitch here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

FMQ Friday #2 - The Difficulties of Straight Line Quilting

I thought I'd try to keep the quilting on this mini quilt simple since the block is just so busy. Also, it seemed like it would be easier than actual Free Motion Quilting (FMQ).  I wanted to do simple straight lines...but not all the way across. I used my ruler to mark lines 3/4" apart. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

Here it is ready to quilt. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

The finished quilting. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

I had a few false starts. I was having tension difficulties because I was using a finer thread on top and a heavier thread on the couldn't be helped.  The colored threads I had on hand were differing weights and quality. Then, the first line I quilted was a bit wobbly, and I ripped it out. I finally got the first line in the ditch, but when I stitched the second line the back I ripped that one out. To make sure things stayed flat, I started the first few lines in the middle and worked my way out.

The back still puckered some. I was a little bummed about it. In fact, that night I dreamt about. It wasn't a good dream. I dreamt the back was WAY loose and puckered--you could fit a small child in there. I took my fabric scissors to it and cut the whole back off.  After I woke up, I went to look at it and realized it really isn't THAT bad. 

Here is a close up of the middle back. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

It is a bit hard to see since the fabric is so dark, but you can see how in the middle intersecting lines it isn't exactly flat. 

I thought doing straight line quilting with my walking foot would be easier than Free Motion Quilting, but I seemed to make more mistakes, it seemed to take more time, and the backing moved around a whole lot more. The presser foot kept pushing things around in my quilting sandwich compounding all the above. I felt like I had basted it and pin basted it well, but it didn't seem to help. 

Do you like quilting with your walking foot better than FMQ or vice versa? 
What tips have you discovered that have made quilting with either method that have helped you the most?
How do you keep your back nice and smooth?

And be sure to check out the Leah at the FMQ project. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

MK's First Day of Kindergarten

MK started Kindergarten today. 

I have never seen a child so excited for this day. Yesterday, MK and I went to Costco to pick up a few things. Anyone she saw who even paused by our cart she would tell "I go to Kindergarten tomorrow!" EVERYONE. She was announcing it throughout the store. The day she turned 4 years old she told me, "Next year I will turn 5 and get to go to Kindergarten." She talked about it weekly, if not daily since. So, yes, she was SO excited about this. - Family,First Day of Kindergarten
MK Outside school before her big day - Family,First Day of Kindergarten
MK in her new school classroom

It's a bit surreal that all the kids are at school this morning. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WIP Wednesday #17 - A new Mini Quilt

Because I decided to enter my "pink dress mini quilt" (I really need to come up with a name for it) into the Utah State Quilt Fest Quilt Show instead of donating to the mini quilt fundraiser, I needed to come up with another mini quilt. 

I made this block using some fabric I have been saving for another project. I'm planning on making a twister quilt with this fabric. I have a LOT of it--I might have gone a little crazy with my purchasing of this fabric line.  It was so fun to go through this fabric.  This turned out much more busy than I had hoped, but it's still fun. 

I found this pattern called Lone Starburst on - Modern Lone Starburst Quilt
Modern Lone Starburst Quilt
Now I need to quilt it. I think I will just keep it simple by quilting simple lines.
But that is a project for another day. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MK's First Soccer Game

MK had her first soccer game tonight. She has been so very excited. She played so well. She was running after that ball, kicking, and even scoring. She has spent so much time watching her brothers play soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. that she wanted her turn. - Family, Soccer
MK before game time
MK and her teammates decided to call themselves the "Red Lightening Dragons." Her coach even made up flags for the kids to cheer on their teammates. - Family, Soccer
MK Cheering on her team - Family, Soccer
MK after she scored a goal - Family, Soccer
MK celebrating her goal

MK played most the game. A few of her teammates didn't want to play, so MK played just about the entire game. She was loving it.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Timpanogos Cave

We hiked to Timpanogos Cave today. 
We tried to do this on our anniversary last week, but the cave tours were already sold out. 
It started out a beautiful day--not too hot, not too cold. - Family, Timpanogos Cave
S, MK, C, R looking out along the trail

The hike is 1-1/2 miles up hill, over 1,100 feet in elevation. Some parts were quite steep. I ended up giving MK a piggyback during part of the hike. Then, we walked a mile through the caves. After that, we hiked back down the mountain while it rained and hailed on us. Quite the adventure. - Family, Timpanogos Cave
1/4 of the way up. MK, S, C, and me - Family, Timpanogos Cave
MK, C, S before entering Timpanogos Cave - Family, Timpanogos Cave
Family shot at the mouth of the cave

Some pictures of the inside of the Cave. - Family, Timpanogos Cave
Timpanogos Cave - Family, Timpanogos Cave
Timpanogos Cave - Family, Timpanogos Cave
Timpanogos Cave

We had such a good time. The kids did SO good hiking up that steep mountain. We were all kinda beat by the time we got home. I think we are going to sleep well tonight. 

I want to do another hike on my birthday in a week. It isn't nearly as hard as this one. I figure if the kids can do today's hike, they can do just about anything.

Friday, August 23, 2013

An Award Party?

Conversation with MK last night:
MK: Can I have some watermelon? Will you cut it?
Me: Not yet. It's for the ward party tomorrow night.

Conversation with MK this morning:
MK: *giddy with excitement* Tonight is your award party.
Me: *blank stare wondering what she is talking about--then it hits me* Um, no. Mommy's not getting an award. We are going to a party with our church ward.
MK: *sobers* Oh.
Me: But you're right--Mom does deserve an award.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School

Today is the first day back to school for C and S. - Family, School
1st Day of School

C was too cool in 5th grade for me to get a desk shot. But S was happy to let me get this first day pic of him at his first day of 3rd grade. - Family, School
S at his first day of 3rd Grade

MK will start Kindergarten next week. Today, she met with her teacher for her Kindergarten assessment. She is SO excited. She has been talking about this for an entire year. And I'm not exaggerating about that either. 

Last night before we went to bed, MK turned to me and said "tomorrow brothers go to school and we get to have girl time!" She then made a super excited face. It was the funniest thing. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WIP Wednesday #16 - Another Snowflake Hexie Block

Another Snowflake Block. - Snowflake Hexie Block
Again, I wasn't really sure if I would like this color sequence. But when I put it up next to the other blocks, I think it looks great. - Snowflake Hexie Block

I have an idea about what I want to do with these blocks. It's still mulling around in my head.  I have these blocks up on my mini-design wall which sits on top of the piano. I can see it each night at dinner.  As I was eating last night an idea hit me about a design and a border. I tried to explain it to R, but he just didn't understand why I would want to change up the block. Well--Because! That's why! 

I'll try to work some more on it this coming week AFTER THE KIDS GO BACK TO SCHOOL!
(Holy Moly! School starts tomorrow!)
I'm excited to work on this project some more and see where it takes me.

Linked up at Quiet Play here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma Great

Today, Grandma Great celebrated her 88th Birthday! - Family, Birthday
Birthday Party
We were able to help celebrate with a family dinner at a Mexican Restaurant with Grandma Great, R's Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins with their families. 

We are so glad to have Grandma Great with us. Earlier this year, she suffered from a major stoke. We thought we were going to lose her, but she pulled through. So glad we get to spend more time with her.

Friday, August 16, 2013

FMQ Friday #1 -- Quilting My Little Pink Dress Mini Quilt

Holy Moly! I quilted it. I don't think I ruined it. I'm still in shock I actually did it. - Little Pink Dress Quilt, Mini Quilt
Little Pink Dress Quilt

I've been so nervous to quilt anything I've painstakingly pieced together afraid I would ruin it with my quilting. I have several projects just waiting for quilting, but I'm so scared to take that step. Monday, I finally took the plunge. I'm so happy I did. I can't stop smiling over the fact I have it quilted.

Because I'm a bit anal retentive, I had to practice several more times before I actually did it. - Little Pink Dress Quilt
Little Pink Dress Quilt Practice
And one practice block wasn't enough for me. I did a second practice. The second piece I took the time to copy out the dress and purse on the practice block and quilted around it. - Little Pink Dress Quilt, Mini Quilt
Little Pink Dress Quilt Practice
One thing I didn't count on was the fact I could SEE my stitching when I practiced (grey thread on yellow fabric.) However, when I quilted the block I had to really concentrate because I could barely see the stitching--Apparently, I did an excellent job of picking out thread color. - Little Pink Dress Quilt, Mini Quilt - Little Pink Dress Quilt, Mini Quilt

I kept freaking out and tensing up. I had to keep reminding myself to BREATHE!
I kept remembering what my first FMQ (Free Motion Quilting) teacher told me about staying relaxed. I had such a hard time relaxing. I follow Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Blog, where she just keeps encouraging quilters to just start. And I did. I finally started. Phew! Check out her Friday FMQ Link-up.

Overall, I'm happy with it. And, I'm excited to try again with another project.

Now, I need to do the binding. Call me crazy, but I'm actually thinking of doing some type of scalloped or decorative binding. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 13th Wedding Anniversary! 
We have a weekend getaway planned to Park City, but the grandparents couldn't take the kids tonight, so we planned a family day today and will leave the kiddos with the grandparents tomorrow night.

We've been talking about going to Timpanogos Cave all summer and thought today would be a perfect day to go see it...but so did half of Utah because all the tours were sold out. We did buy tickets to come back next week. We were all kinda bummed because we were all geared up and ready to go.

We did take the kids part way up the hiking trail so they could at least see what they will be doing next time we come. MK was especially nervous about this hike because she didn't know exactly what it was going to be like. But once we got moving on the trail, they all had a great time. All three kids didn't want to stop: they kept asking if we could hike just a bit further. 

MK, C, S, R
(MK is wearing her "summer scarf." It made me laugh. And yes, she wore that everywhere we went today.) - Little Pink Dress Quilt

Group Selfie - Little Pink Dress Quilt
Family Selfie

Since we couldn't go on our planned hike, we went to a few stores for school shopping and played together the rest of the evening. We came home, had dinner, and had a movie night with popcorn.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WIP Wednesday #15 - A Snowflake Hexie Block

Another Snowflake Block - Snowflake Hexie Block

I keep seeing my first block of purple, yellow, and green and have been eager to try again with another color combination. I pulled out my fabric scraps and stash and made one with blue, orange, and yellow. While I was piecing it, I wasn't too sure about my color choice. However, once I saw it all together I really loved it.

Aaaand I had to see what it looked like next to my original block . - Snowflake Hexie Block

This next week, I'm going to piece one in red, green, and orange.

I still don't know what I'll eventually do with these blocks, but I'm having a great time playing with the color combinations, the paper piecing precision, and the finished hexagon shape.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Feeding the Ducks

I'm not ready for the summer break to be over with.
Last week, the kids and I stopped by my work for a few things and took the time to feed the ducks who live on the grounds. 

MK and S finding their own flock to feed. - Family, Feeding the Ducks
Feeding the Ducks

C and his following. - Family, Feeding the Ducks
Feeding the Ducks

The ducks aren't scared of people. They are so used to people feeding them. - Family, Feeding the Ducks
Feeding the Ducks

C, S, and MK - Family, Feeding the Ducks
Feeding the Ducks

Monday, August 12, 2013

The mustache returns!

Yes, that is MK. I have no words because I'm laughing too hard. - Family, Mustache
MK has a mustache!
We went to the dentist this morning. MK used her "good check-up" token to buy a mustache.
The last time the mustache made an appearance, we had a grand ol' silly time. 
So far, today is just as fun, silly, and grand. Love the mustache!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Movie Time

Friday, we had C's Birthday Party. He wanted to go see a movie for his birthday. He wanted to see the movie "Planes," which wasn't released until Friday. 

MK, S, C, Friends K & K (They're twins) - Family, Birthday
Movie Time
The movie was fun. There was a small romance between a few of the planes: It was hilarious to watch the boys' reactions during these parts. 

C taking a BIG breath to blow out his one candle. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Boy

Friday, August 9, 2013

Jump Time

For the boys' birthdays I told the boys they could have a big party in our back yard, or they could choose something "BIG" and invite just two friends. Both boys opted for the "BIG" party with two friends.

On Thursday, we finally had S' birthday party. He invited 2 friends to go to Hang Time with him. Hang Time is an indoor trampoline park. I've never been, but I was really impressed with the place.

C, Friend D, S, Friend T
(No matter how many times I tried to get S to LOOK AT THE CAMERA, he insisted on doing something silly.) - Family, Birthday
Birthday Friends

Friend T and S - Family, Birthday
Birthday Friends

It was a lot of fun and low key for me. I picked up the friends, they goofed off and chatted on the drive up the Hang Time, jumped and played for 1-1/2 hours, goofed off and chatted on the drive back home, had cupcakes & presents, played at home building a fort, then I drove the friends home.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WIP Wednesday #14 - My Little Pink Dress

Today, I'm showing off the beading I've done for my dress mini-quilt. - My Little Pink Dress Quilt
Little Pink Dress Quilt
I'm happy with how it turned out. I auditioned several colors of beads before I settled on this pale pink. Now, I'm ready to quilt it. I'm going to keep it simple and do a meandering loopy stitch. Keeping fingers crossed I don't "ruin" it with my quilting.

The more I play around with free-motion quilting, the more I'm convinced I need to invest in a new sewing machine. I'm using my mom's old Elna sewing machine she bought in the early 80's. I still have the written sales receipt with the owners manual: it is dated December 29, 1982. It's a good machine, great for piecing. But anything more, and it doesn't quite do what I want. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Party Time

Birthday week may be officially over, but we still continue the fun by throwing all the parties this week. 
Today, we had friends over for MK's birthday party. We pulled out the inflatable pool and filled it up for the girls to swim in. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Fun
At one point, they dragged the Little Tyke slide into the pool for a water slide. I thought I got a better picture than this, but I guess not. C is using the hose to keep the slide wet just like real water slides. All the girls are lining up for a turn. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Fun
We came inside for hot dogs, watermelon and cupcakes. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Fun
And we can't forget about the presents. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Fun

We made bracelets. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Fun
MK got a LOT of make-up for her birthday. She LOVES it.
MK and Z trying on all the make-up. - Family, Birthday
Birthday Fun

We had a fun time.

I can't believe MK is really 5. Everyday since the day she turned 4, MK has been talking about when she turns 5. So many times I would forget that she wasn't really 5 because she talked about it so much it felt like she was 5.

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