Thursday, December 1, 2016

Quiltville Mystery - En Provence

Its been quite some time since I last posted.  I had a loss in my quilting mojo for a while and didn't enter my sewing room for more than a month.  The year has gone by quickly and its December already.

The day after Thanksgiving, Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville started up her yearly myster quilt, En Provence.  I didn't participate last year, but decided this year I wanted to.  Its helped me want to get back into the sewing room.

Clue #1 was posted Friday, November 25th.  Its a fairly simple clue with 221 four-patches of neutrals.  Here's my first two pairs to make sure the ended up at the correct size:

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As I was pulling strips from my bin of pre-cut strips from other projects and then sewing them into pairs, I ran out of thread on my prior thread cone.  It was a pretty hefty cone at 2500 yards of thread, but nothing like the Big Bertha of cones that I have next up.  Its a whopping 25,000 yards of thread.  I'm curious to see how long this thread cone lasts me.  Its from Superior Threads and I was able to get it on sale earlier this year.

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I didn't have enough time to completely finish all of the four-patches.  I honestly don't know how some of the ladies keep up with the clues... other than that they may be retired and not have to spend 40-60 hours a week working for corporate America.

I was able to finish (and press) 100 of the little buggers.

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And another twenty sewn and ready for pressing.  Only 101 left to go!

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Hop on over to Quiltville's Mystery Link-up (for part 1) to see how the other quilters are faring so far.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Busy Summer

Somehow this summer has gone flying by!  I don't know how it got to be September already!

I've been working on multiple projects... both inside and outside... that have been consuming a lot of time.  My running has also picked up during the summer and I'm running 45 minutes two days a week with a longer (~1.5 hr) run on the weekends.  I've gotten more fit, which I'm happy about.  I haven't quite broken the 30 minute barrier on a 5k, but I chalk up the last one to running when it was 77 degrees and 95% humidity.  Yuck!

Here's a few of the various projects that are on-going....

1. This is a quilt called Heat Wave by Judy Laquidara.  Its been stalled a bit due to working on other projects, but its in good shape.  I have to make a large pieced border yet in a snail's tail pattern, but I've made those blocks before and know how to get them to come out right.

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2. The reason #1 is stalled.... a friend at work had a second child earlier this summer, so I've been working on a pair of quilts (one for child #1 and one for the new child).  Sadly, I'm WAY behind on this and I'm still not done with either quilt.  The baby was born in June, but the way I see it (or rationalize it) is that they won't need the blankets until it gets cold anyway.  :)

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#3. In late May/early June, we went on a vacation to Myrtle Beach.  It was absolutely gorgeous and we had perfect weather.  The first photo is from the first morning there.  We had a tropical storm that was heading out from the prior day (hence the clouds), but the rest of the week was perfect.

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#4.  I've gotten my groove back with needlepoint.  This is where it was earlier in the summer and the second photo is from the past few days.  I'm finally on to page 4... of 20+ pages.  A ways to go yet....

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#5.  With the great weather we've had this summer, there's been a lot of work being done outside.  First and foremost is the stone wall that my husband has been building.  He picks out the rocks... I help him cement them all into place.  This is only one half of the wall.  There will be an arbor on the left of the picture before the second half of the wall starts up again.

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All in all, its been a good summer.  It went by quickly, but hopefully we will still have several weeks of good weather before the true cold starts to set in.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Yard and Family Stuff

So one of the things that happened earlier this year was that we purchased a used truck.  We've realized over the few years that we've owned our 16 acres that we needed a large vehicle just to tow stuff and be able to do general things that you have to do with a lot of property.  Move cut up trees... move large tractor implements... accumulate rocks for our rock wall we're building.... get wood chips...

Pretty much everyone with a larger piece of property at some point realizes they need a truck.  This is our red beast:

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We were happy to get a used truck as it will simply be used for hauling junk all over creation.  We didn't want to worry about putting the first scratch into it... and we aren't since it had a lot of scratches when we bought it!

One of the first things we did was finish clearing out brush and junk bushes from an area that we use to go from the driveway to the back portion of our property.  We wanted to stop driving the tractor across the grass, so we cleared a path and then used wood chips from the town to keep the weeds down and prevent the area from turning into a mud path.

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With the trees greening up, the area looked really nice (and still does).  It provides a good transition between the yard and the woods.

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Last but not least, in early June, some of my siblings and I participated in a 5k race in our hometown.  The race is dedicated to a student (he was a senior when I was a freshman in high school) who was killed in a car accident.  He was a very dedicated runner on our cross country team and had always wanted to go to school for physical education (he had a running scholarship to St. Lawrence University) and to be able to come back to the town and improve things there.

When we were in high school, we didn't have a track to run on.  The only track we had was an old cinder track that you'd be more likely to break your ankle than to set any records.  So we practiced by running laps around the parking lot.  We had a total of four hurdles to practice over for races where you needed to clear 10 of them, and yet, we had one of the best track teams in the state.  The race has been held for 21 years now, and the town has one of the best track and field facilities in the entire state thanks to the participants of the race and the donations that have come in as a result of the race.

Anyway... I digress a bit...

Last year, I participated in the race by walking with my younger sister (the one on the far left in the photo below).  After we did it, my other sister (the one on the far right) said she wanted to do it this year.  We also roped one of our brothers into doing it with us as well this year.  The three "dry" looking people walked the race and carried umbrellas since it was pouring the entire time.  I ran the race and got completely drenched.  We had a great time though, which was the whole point of it.  I also ran a personal best of 33:55, which was 3 minutes faster than a 5k I had run a month prior.

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We ended up with a fun weekend of the siblings getting together.  The rain didn't damper our spirits at all.  I hope we can all get together to do it again next year!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quilting Mojo

Ack!  Its been months again since I last posted.  How does that happen?

It seems that I've lost my quilting mojo as of late.  The past few months I've had little desire to go and quilt (which is highly unusual).  I sometimes wonder whether its lack of enthusiasm in the projects I'm working or just plain not wanting to spend more time inside than outside.

I tend to have the later problem when its summer time.  My office at work is buried in a large manufacturing building, so I don't see daylight unless I have specific meetings near the front of the building.  As such, by the time I get home (or on weekends), the last thing I want to do is be inside.

The up-side to that is that I've been doing a lot of running outdoors.  Earlier this year, I participated in a 5k at work (which didn't go as well as I wanted), a 3.5 mile corporate challenge, and then another 5k in my hometown.  Between the 1st and 2nd 5k, a month of training passed and I was able to decrease my time by 3 minutes, which is pretty significant considering the races are 3.1 miles.  I was able to drop my time by 1 minute per mile.

I've still been training, but haven't selected my next race.  I keep telling myself... sign up for the next race when the weather is cooler on a Saturday... but the weather hasn't cooled off yet! :)  I will sign up for one soon and hopefully I'll finish around the 30 minute mark for the race.

I have gotten some quilting done, but no photos to show for it.  Its been slow going with two kids quilts that I was supposed to have done in June.  Oops.... I'm a bit late with them.  They are surprise gifts, so at least the recipient doesn't know its coming.. or how late it is.  LOL.

I will try to post some more on here... it has felt like each week goes by really quickly and I just never seem to get around to quilting (or posting).  Its been a crazy year so far and will probably continue to be.

I hope everyone is keeping up with their quilting (or other crafts)!


Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Heat Wave Continued and Water Update

Its been quite a while since I last posted... life definitely seems to get in the way these days!

The past few months have been hectic to say the least with a lot of things going on both at home and at work.  The company I work for (a very large one) acquired a competitor last year and we've been struggling for the past 4 months to try to integrate the two businesses.  For years we built up walls to prevent knowledge transfer, and now we're trying to figure out how to take down all those walls.

The water issue is semi-resolved.  From a standpoint of clean water, it is resolved.  The well system that we had put in is doing the job and we've had the water tested a few times to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to be doing.  We have clean, drinkable water that we don't really have to worry about.  However, we don't know the long-term effects on the well and whether we will have water in a dry-spell or not.  We are trying to remain hopeful that the aquifer is good and we won't have any water issues.

On the non-resolved side, we are still fighting with the well driller's insurance company.  I swear these people are the dumbest folks I've run into in a very long time.  They tried to get us to sign a form to release water tests results from a consulting company that we never worked with.  Come to find out, the well driller had used that consulting company...not us.  We couldn't sign a release form for a company that we never even contacted (but the insurance company couldn't figure that out on their own without us explicitly telling them...TWICE).  Then when they did send us the form to sign for our own water testing, it was riddled with mistakes.  We had to mark it up to them and send it back (unsigned) so they can fix it before we will sign it.  I have a feeling this is going to be a very drawn out event and maybe...eventually... we will get something out of them.

On the quilty front, I made progress on the Heat Wave quilt and started (ahem) two other quilts.  Oops! :)

Here's where I left off the last time, with my paper-piecing blocks.  I was able to get all of them done in fairly short order once I got the rhythm of it.

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Then it was on to assembling all the pieces into the blocks that make up the center of the quilt.

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Overall, three different blocks with the green corner squares in different places depending upon the final placement in the quilt.

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Here is one set of blocks completely sewn.

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I do have them now all sewn into the center section of the quilt, but I'll save that for another day as well as pictures of the two new quilts that I'm making.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ready for Spring

While this winter has been fairly mild as far as winters go, I was a bit sad to not receive a lot of snow this year.  Most of the first part of winter, we were above freezing temperatures and received rain for every storm that came through.  There have only been a handful of times that we had actual snow come down and stay for more than a day or two.  I think total, we're only at about 10 inches of snow so far this year (normally we are around 40 inches of snow).

That being said... we did have a weekend where the temperatures were absolutely brutal.  I LOVED my fireplace that weekend and had it roaring all weekend.  Our overnight lows for two days was -20F and the high was barely above 0F.  There was a nasty wind, too, so our windchill values were down around -40F.

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The only thing that came close to being as good as that fire that weekend was this:

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My oldest brother's girlfriend found out that I was into tea and that I loved an old tea pot that my parents had.  She found one and sent it to me as a post-Christmas gift.  I love it!

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It is one of those old ceramic pots that have a metal tea-cozy that is the exact size of the pot.  The cozy is lined with wool to help keep the teapot warm.  And since it has slots for the handle and spout, you don't have to take the cozy off in order to pour the tea!  Bonus!!

I'm ready for spring though at this point.  Its the end of February and I'm ready for it to start getting nice so I can enjoy being outside again!

How about all of you?  Ready for spring or wishing for some "real" winter?

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Heat Wave - Paper Piecing

The Heat Wave quilt that I started a few weeks back is in full swing for creating blocks.  One of the larger block assemblies uses paper pieced corners.  I did one block with paper piecing many years ago and haven't done it in a while.  While you end up with accurate seams, it does take a while to get the blocks made.

I didn't take pictures for the first seam that I sewed on these blocks, but thought I'd give a little tutorial on what I found worked for me while making these simple blocks.

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This is the paper side of the block that I needed to make.  The solid, angled lines are the stitching lines (one is already stitched) and I drew 1/4 lines to help with my fabric placement.

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After sewing the first seam with fabric in place, flip your block over so you have the fabric facing up.

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Fold the paper back along the stitched line and line up your ruler leaving a quarter inch between the sewn line and the edge of the ruler.


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Cut along this line to remove the excess fabric that isn't needed.

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Flip everything over again and press your sewn fabric open so it all lays flat.

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This is where I made my own little trick for getting the fabric placed correctly for the next sewing line.  On the paper side, place pins at the intersection points of your drawn line and the outer edge of the block.  I use the pin placement to guide where I want my fabric to be.

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When I flip it over, I can see the pins sticking up and I place the edge of my next piece of fabric right next to those pins.  This makes sure that I have at least a quarter inch of fabric for my seam.  I then carefully full out the pins without shifting placement of the loosen fabric.  This gets placed under the pressure foot of my machine and I start sewing.

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Line up your needle with the edge of the block and approximately in line with your sewing line.  Some people start right at the edge of the final block, but I found starting in the seam allowance made pressing easier for me afterwards.

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Sew down the solid line with your needle JUST to the right of the sewing line (towards to the seam allowance).  Sewing just off the line will allow space for your fabric to fold over the sewn line when you press it.

Similar to the initial steps, fold back the paper, trim your seam allowance and then press your block open.

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The cream/green block above is the final result of my paper piecing.  I had 48 of these blocks to make, which took a while, but they look great in the end.


Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, February 15, 2016

Organizing and Cold

This year has been cold, but sadly, non-snowy for upstate NY.  If its going to be cold, it might as well snow and be done with it!  I think we've had a total of maybe...and that's a BIG maybe... ten inches of snow this year.  Its downright pathetic.

However, we have had cold, which makes it perfect sewing weather as there's no way I'm going outside when its well below freezing!  With all that cold weather, I did do a bit of organizing in the sewing room.  I realized that my various strips (ranging from 1.5" to 3.5" wide) were just all over the place and not organized in any fashion.  Its very difficult to get yourself to use your own pre-cut strips if you have a mis-mash of colors.

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So I spent a little time one weekend to organize my strips by color and make an attempt to be able to use them better in the future.  My 2" wide strips were able to fit into a smaller shoe-box sized bin.

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But my 2.5" strips are still piled up in the big bin.  Since this picture was taken, I did sort them by color as well, so they're all "prepped" and ready to be used in some pattern in the future.

I also was able to make some decent progress on the next quilt (Heat Wave), but that will be for another post.

This past weekend was just all about trying to stay warm.  Saturday night/Sunday morning we bottomed out at about -25F....and that was without the windchill.  I don't know the exact windchill values we had, but the forecast was for values around -35 to -40F.

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You can bet I spent my weekend by the fire as much as I could!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations