Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Remembering 2014 While Planning 2015

After a year of finishing UFOs in 2013, I started out 2014 with only one work in progress.  I wanted to "continue making and finishing quilts while Keeping It Sweet, Simple, & Extra Special."  Looking back, I have finished 44 quilts (larger than a mini).  I can definitely say that I was able to do so.  Although it is kind of crazy that I have made one third of my total quilts (122) in one year.  I have ended the year with just one WISP (work in slow progress).

My specific goals for 2014 were as follows: 

1.  I want to do a lot of stash busting, so I can update my stash with newer, cuter fabrics. 

I definitely did this.  In fact, I used exactly 300 yards of fabric.  All but five of those yards (used for FMQ practice and a practice dust cover) were for finished projects.   I purchased 131 yards of fabric, for a net stash report of 169 yards less than the beginning of the year.  Of the fabric that I purchased 81.5 yards were used, 30.5 yards are for specific projects, and 19 yards were added to my general stash.  Which means that I used 218.5 yards of fabric purchased prior to January 1, 2014.  That is a lot of fabric!

2.  I want to continue making more seasonal quilty things for my home. 

I accomplished this in the form of table runners/toppers, wall hangings, and cuddle quilts.  I am anti-clutter, so I really enjoy decorating with quilts on my walls and tables.  I see some seasonal pillows in my future.

3.  I want to become more involved in the online quilting community. 

I participated in three big events this year:

Plus, I figured out Bloglovin and participated in fun Linky Parties.    

4.  I want to have a little more balance in my creative endeavors.  

While I did some scrapbooking and photo organizing, there is room for improvement here. 

All in all, 2014 was a pretty great year.  :D  Now my big, huge, main goal for 2015 is to "ENJOY."  Really deep, I know.  ;)

Here are 15 things I want to ENJOY in 2015:
  1. Using my stash
  2. Using my scraps
  3. Using new fabrics
  4. Building my stash
  5. Finishing quilts
  6. Finishing quilty projects
  7. Making quilts as gifts
  8. Making quilts to donate
  9. Making quilts for my home
  10. Sewing my WISP by hand
  11. Improving my FMQ
  12. Blogging (when I have something to blog about)
  13. Participating in online events
  14. Preserving memories
  15. Last, but definitely not least... Being a wife and mother
Once again, my goals are mostly general.  I want to enjoy 2015 by doing what I enjoy doing without too much pressure. 


P.S.  I am linking up with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for her "15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015."

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sneaky Sewing Success Story

Thanks to many suggestions for sneaky wrapping on my Super Sneaky Sewing Tips post, my wrapping was a sneaky success!  Hubby's quilt is hiding in the big red flat box, Monkey's quilt is hiding in the big golden box, Panda's quilt is hiding in the giant Tootsie Roll, and Cheetah's small gold box contains a note and marbles.  :) 

On Christmas morning, the very first present opened was Panda's giant Tootsie Roll present.  He was very surprised that it was a quilt.  He liked that it was just like Bear's (which I had read to him as a bed time story the night before).  He loved it and his fuzzy pillow that Mommy made just for him. 

Then Monkey opened his present from Mommy.  He took one look at the trucks and said, "It's mine!"  It was said with excitement and awe, not possession.  What a way to warm Mommy's heart. He was way too excited to look at the camera.

Next, Cheetah opened his little box from Mommy.  He was sure there was a gift card hiding with the marbles.  (I have been reminding him for the last few months that he already has a fuzzy quilt which he made himself.)  Instead of a gift card, he found a note telling him where his real present could be found.  He was very happy to receive his own big quilt that Mommy made just for him.  He has an obsession with minky... with some Gollum-like tendencies. 

The next present opened was Hubby's quilt from me.  He took one look at it and said, "There's bear tracks" with a big smile.  I was happy to tell him that the quilt was named, "Bear Tracks."

As wonderful as it was seeing them open their presents on Christmas morning, the best thing was tucking my sons in that night.  They were all sleeping with their new pillows and quilts.  Which really goes to show how much Monkey loves his quilt.  He had been sleeping with the same blanket for the last two years, but no longer needs it to sleep. 

Thanks for all of your wishes for a Merry Christmas.  As you can see, it was pretty wonderful.  I hope you also had an exciting holiday. 


P.S.  Can you tell that I like alliteration?

P.P.S.  Oh, and I haven't received any complaints from Cheetah about the name of his quilt.  Apparently he approves of "Wild About You," because he told me that that was what it was called when I tried to tell him it was a barn raising pattern.  :D

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Be Merry: A Finished Quilt

I am always excited when I finish a quilt, but when a quilt seems like it's free there is always a special excitement.  A charm pack of Be Jolly came with the layer cake that I won.  So that part really was free. 

The green fabrics I added were left over from my Christmas tree skirt, and the Kona White was originally purchased for some pillow cases I decided not to make.  Plus the batting was Frankensteined together left overs from my boys' Christmas gifts.  So this quilt seems free to me, even though I did originally purchase some of the supplies.  :)

I decided to go with a simple quilt keeping the charm squares whole, but adding sashing and cornerstones.  The cornerstone fabric is from the Merry & Bright line by Kimberbell Designs.  I love how the light green squares pull the charms together and bring out the lighter green in the fabrics.  Luckily I had plenty of the green polka dot fabric from the Be Jolly line for the binding. 

I have decided to call the quilt "Be Merry" as it combines the name of the two lines and is one of the phrases on one of the prints. 

One of the things I did differently on this quilt is zig zag the edges of the quilt top after basting, but before quilting.  This enabled me to quilt right off the edge and back on.  It worked perfectly with this quilt because I spray basted it and have Warm and White batting which is stiffer. 

I love how the spirals look on the front...

And on the back.  Even with sewing down the edges before quilting there was only one little pucker.  I am sure once this quilt is washed that it won't be noticeable. 

This quilt may also serve some dual duty as a background for some future pictures on my blog.  :)

It is also the first time I have hand sewn a binding down in a long time.  I enjoyed every minute, but realize that I do love the speed of machine binding. 

All in all, I am loving this new addition to my Christmas quilt collection. 

Quilt Stats #122
Quilt Name:  Be Merry
Pattern:  Charm pack with 1.5 inch sashing and 3 inch borders
Fabric: Be Jolly charm pack with Merry & Bright green, and Kona White
Amount Used: 4 yards
Batting: Frankensteined Warm and White
Size: About 41 x 47 inches. 
Date Finished: December 2015
What I learned:
  • I am getting better at dealing with the pinked edges of the pre-cut fabric.
  • I liked zig zagging around the edge after basting before FMQ. 
This is {most likely} my last finish for 2015.  And I totally love it!


P.S.  I will be linking up with Crazy Mom Quilt and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop. 

P.P.S.  Look for my Sneaky Sewing Success post coming up soon  here!  My boys all love their quilts they received for Christmas. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Topper Finished

I am happy to say that I have finished my Christmas wreath table topper.  It was my December goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes (link #8).  It is a very simple finish made with one of the Northcott Starry Night wreath panels.  I just cut off the snowflakes to make it about 23 inches square.  I quilted it simply by stippling to let the pretty print show. 

I added a green and gold fabric for the backing (also made by Northcott).  I think it will work great for St. Patrick's Day as well. 

The binding was left over from the quilt I finished last Christmas and they look so pretty together. 

Plus, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from the Quilt Kisses Family. 


P.S.  I am linking up with Finish it Up Friday and the A Lovely Year of Finishes Party.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Addition: A Finished Quilt

I didn't think I would have much to blog about this month, but I already finished another quilt.  Then I couldn't resist blogging about it.  ;)

I won a layer cake from one of Jennie's giveaways, and I selected Solstice by Kate Spain.  Jennie ordered it from the Red Chair Quilting etsy shop, and Tiffany sent a few extra goodies.  I was happily surprised (once Jennie told me it wasn't a mistake).  It came in the mail on Monday. 

My first thought was to make a plus quilt, then I spent couple days looking at layer cake and charm pack patterns.  I nearly made a four patch quilt with sashing, but decided to make a plus quilt at the last minute.  I'm so glad that I did.  It was an excellent use of the layer cake and matching charm pack.  I used all but two charms and made my favorite size lap quilt.  It is about 59 x 72 inches. 

Here it is up on my design wall on Wednesday night. 

The top went together very quickly Thursday morning. 

And I was able to get it basted that afternoon before we took the older boys to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform with the Sesame Street Muppets.  (Totally awesome, by the way.)

Friday morning I got it quilted and worked on the binding that afternoon during nap time.  I ran out of bobbin with less than a half inch to go when top stitching the binding. 

I finished it up and did the handwork on the label.   

I said, "It's finished!"  15 seconds later it was swiped out of my hands to be tested by Cheetah. 

The minky thief has tried to convince me that this should be out year round.  But I think it really is a Christmas Quilt. 

We had to strike a deal so that I could use the quilt for a little bit just to take pictures.  We really love minky here! 

I quilted it simply with a meandering design.  And it was the first time I could see little bits of minky from the top.  It doesn't bother me, because you don't notice it from farther back. 

All in all, I am so pleased with how it turned out.  Thank you Jennie and Tiffany!

I was thinking of calling it "Positively Christmas," but when I discussed it with my husband he suggested, "Christmas Addition."  He really liked the play on words, and that is the name which stuck. 

Quilt Stats #121
Name:  Christmas Addition
Pattern: Plus blocks made from charm squares
Fabric:  Solstice by Kate Spain
Amount Used: 6.5 yards
Batting: Hobbs 80/20
Size: About 59 x 72 inches
Date Finished: December 2014
What I learned:
  • The pinked edges on pre-cuts make it a little harder to be exact.
  • You can make an awesome plus quilt with a layer cake and matching charm pack or five matching charm packs with very little waste. 
  • Minky backings do sometimes peek through the top. 

I also spent five hours adding the cuffs to these darling minky Christmas Stockings for my mother.  She and her friends embroidered them (Anita Goodesign pattern) for the residents in the assisted living center in their neighborhood.  They will fill them before delivering them sometime next week. 


P.S.  I will be linking up with Can I Get A Whoop Whoop, Finish it up Friday, and Let's Bee Social. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lap Quilts

I just recently finished another lap quilt.  It represents a big first for me, because it is the first time I did free motion quilting with minky on the back with my Tiara.  It was slow going at first because of the extra bulk, but once I got the hang of it things moved faster.  :)

I am thrilled with how it turned out and have plans for more FMQ with minky backings. 

What can I say?  My family LOVES quilts with minky backings. 

Yes, that is my little Monkey rubbing his face on the minky.  This is what happens every time I lay the quilt on the floor for photographs or to show someone. 

You will be able to see the front of this quilt later in January, but I couldn't resist showing you the back.  :)  This is quilt number 120 for me and it finishes at 57 x 67 inches.  It has 100% cotton fabric on the top, and a Hobbs 80/20 batting. 

My friend Val, over at Val's Quilting Studio is having a link up for lap quilts as part of her Tuesday Archives.  So I thought it would be fun to share my lap quilts here.  I have now made 31 lap quilts which to me range in size from 50 x 60 inches to 60 x 80 inches.  So lap quilts represent 25% of my finished quilts.  The funny thing is that my love of lap quilts is fairly recent (like in the last 2 years).  Over the course of my first 20 years of quilting and making 50 quilts, only one of them was a lap quilt.  And it was just a whole cloth quilt turned quillow to practice free motion quilting.  The rest were wall hangings (23), baby quilts (7), and bed size quilts (19). 

Then once I started quilting more and more in 2013, I made 9 lap quilts.  That is about one third of the quilts I made that year. 

I learned to love lap quilts and realized that they made great gifts for family.  Four of the above quilts were given away. 

So in 2014 I have made 20 lap quilts in addition to the minky one above.  That is half of the quilts I have made this year. 

Four of these quilts are for my boys, one was for me, two were for my home, and the rest have been given away.  I guess you could say that I really love lap quilts now!  Now I need to figure out what kind of lap quilt I want to make with a Solstice layer cake I won in Jennie's giveaway. 

What about you?  Do you love lap quilts? 


P.S.  If you are interested in learning more about any of these quilts there are links for them on the My Quilts ~ First 100 and My Quilts ~ 101+ pages.

P.P.S.  I will be linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social and Val's Tuesday Archives. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Month of November and December Goals

November was a great quilting month!  I was able to finish up three quilts to give as gifts, my niece's binding, a table runner gift, bags for my boys, and the tree skirt my husband wanted. 

My tree skirt is a simple hexagon I made a lot like my spider web table toppers, just bigger and with binding.  It measures about 36 inches side to side and 40 inches point to point.  There isn't even a hole, because my cast iron tree stand sits on top. 

I made it to the size specifications of my husband, because he wanted it to fit inside a simple circle of his LGB Train track.  But wouldn't you know, he made the track HUGE this year. 

This is definitely a case of  "You can tell the men from the boys by the price of their toys."  I also see a lot of "Like father, like son" going on at my house.  ;)

The table runner I finished is for my sister S for Christmas. 

I made to to match the quilt I gave her earlier.  For some reason, every time I told her I was making her a quilt, she thought I meant table runner.  So when she came to pick up her table runner, she was in complete shock.  But she has told me that they love the quilt, and even her boys will cuddle up with it. 

And just in case you missed my other November finishes, here they are: 

Helping my niece S cut, tie and bind her second quilt.

Summer Twist for my sister-in-law for Christmas. 

Bags for my boys:

Wild About You for my Cheetah for Christmas.

Things that Go for my Monkey for Christmas.

I am tired just thinking about everything I got done. 

So now all of my important Christmas sewing is finished, and I have no deadlines.  My house is even all decorated for Christmas.  :)  However, you can always use more quilty Christmas goodness, right?  My A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for December is to make a new table topper for me.  I want to use the wreath panel.  I may even use the extra tree panel for something else this month.  We'll see. 

December is one of my favorite months every year.  My husband and I purchase and wrap all the gifts early so we can relax and enjoy a wonderful family filled month.  So don't be surprised if things are very quiet here at Quilt Kisses.  I try to teach my boys that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season.  I hope that all of you have a wonderful Christmas season too! 


P.S.  To my dear sweet niece, R, who reads my blog:  Don't tell your mom what her runner looks like.  :D

P.P.S.  I will be linking up with Let's Bee Social for my tree skirt and runner finish.  :)

P.P.P.S.  I am also linking up with Jennie of Porch Swing Quilts for her Santa's Sweatshop linky party.