Wednesday Wanderings

Hi everyone! We are back from our anniversary trip and we had a wonderful time. Once we got our ducks in a row,

Wednesday Wanderings - Boston Public Gardens - piecefulthoughts.com
Make Way for Ducklings – Boston Public Gardens

we walked all over Boston, finally finding our way to Fenway Park for the game. Red Sox fans, just for one night!

Wednesday Wanderings - Fenway Park - piecefulthoughts.com

We walked over 17,000 steps in Boston and barely covered all there was to see. The next morning, we headed toward Maine. We stopped in Amesbury, MA at this little place called The Noshery for brunch.

Wednesday Wanderings - The Noshery - piecefulthoughts.com

That’s a crepe, filled with scrambled eggs & bacon, topped with maple syrup. It was delicious!

We made a couple of stops (one quilt shop, more about that later) and then we were finally at our home for the next few days.

Wednesday Wanderings - Cabin Life - piecefulthoughts.com

It was a lovely cabin, situated on a point with a beautiful view. We spent quite a bit of time just relaxing on the deck.

Wednesday Wanderings - cabin view - piecefulthoughts.com

Day trips included a drive to White Mountain National Park in New Hampshire and one to Acadia National Park in Maine. Here’s a view from the top of Cadillac Mountain. That little town below is Bar Harbor.

Wednesday Wanderings - Cadillac Mountain - piecefulthoughts.com

We walked through some lovely Maine towns — Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, Belfast, Round Pond, Bar Harbor.

I didn’t bring any sewing with me and the only tech item I had was my phone. Most days when we were around the cabin, I read. I’m reading a series by Louise Penny. I brought one book along, and came home with two more.

When I wasn’t reading, I decided to play a bit with watercolor. This picture is another shot off of the deck.

Wednesday Wanderings - Deck view - piecefulthoughts.com

I decided to try making a watercolor of it. I don’t do much watercolor, but it’s very relaxing. It’s just for me anyway, so I’m good with it.

Wednesday Wanderings - watercolor - piecefulthoughts.com

I even left my messy little napkin in the photo to prove I actually did this. Haha. I did just a few paintings to remind me of things we did on the trip.

We ate more lobster than I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was very tasty and very fresh.

Wednesday Wanderings - lobster lunch - piecefulthoughts.com

So of course I had to paint that too.

Wednesday Wanderings - lobster painting - piecefulthoughts.com

If you follow me on Instagram, you also saw that I had my first raw oyster. It was much better than I thought it would be. It was huge, so I had visions of choking on it, but I didn’t. I’m glad I tried it.

I did design some little quilt blocks too, so we’ll see if I get them out of the paper stage!

I visited three quilt shops on the trip. More about those in my next post.

We had a wonderful time on our trip. The people we met were so kind and friendly. Thanks to those of you who gave me advice on places to visit. It made the trip even better! We’re so glad we went, but so happy to be home! (And boy, did I miss my sewing machine!)

Wendy

 

 

Wednesday Wanderings

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . . Nope. Does this bag look like it’s ready to go??

Wednesday Wanderings - empty bag - piecefulthoughts.com

The anniversary trip is here! We leave tomorrow. I still have plenty of time to get packed. I should probably make a list. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a Last Minute Lucy when it comes to packing. Hey, at least I’m doing laundry!

You’ll remember that we were wobbling between Hawaii and Boston/Maine. Which did we choose? While Hawaii seemed like a hands down no brainer, we decided to head to Boston/Maine. We want to go to Hawaii as a family someday, so we decided to wait.  We will be spending most of our time at a cabin in mid-coast Maine. Thank you to those of you who have helped me with questions or given tips on places to go, etc. We are pretty excited!

I have a mental list, mind. I kinda know what I need to bring along. Of course, I have what I need to bring related to quilting and sewing all planned out.

Here’s the thing, though. I’m not bringing any sewing along. I’ve decided to make this trip a creative play and designing trip. So here are some of the things coming with me.

Wednesday Wanderings - piecefulthoughts.com

From the left:

The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston – I’m thoroughly enjoying the creative prompts and nudges she shares in this book. I’m taking my time going through it, so this will be good to have with me. Some of the prompts require some thought, and I’ll be away from the distraction of sewing and able to focus on this. Here’s a video about the book by Carrie Bloomston if you’re interested.

Quilter’s Planner – I have some blank spaces that need filling for the coming months, so it will be a good time to reflect, think and plan what’s coming up this fall and into the end of the year. If you’re not familiar with the planner, you can read about it (and order the 2018 version) here.

Moleskine Notebook – this is used with The LIttle Spark for my notes. If you were to look through it, however, you’ll also see a few little design sketches.

Plein Air Watercolor Kit – This is probably the cutest thing ever (it’s about 4″ x 6″). I want to play a bit with sketching and watercolor while I sit on the dock by our cabin.

The Sketchbook Project – I decided to join in the fun of this project, and I need to decide what I will fill my journal with. You can read more about it here. Join me — doesn’t it look like fun?!

Artist Tiles – these are 4″ tiles that I use when I doodle or zentangle. I haven’t done much in months, so this is perfect for travel.

What you don’t see in the picture are my pens, pencils and larger graph paper Moleskines which I use for designing quilts. I enjoy sketching out quilt designs, so I hope to have plenty of time for that.

I’ll also be doing quite a bit of reading. I’m currently working my way through the Louise Penny mysteries and thoroughly enjoying them. I’m reading Trick of the Light which I’ll likely finish on the plane or shortly thereafter. Which means a bookstore visit will be necessary.

We’ll also be meeting a local author, Van Reid, while we are there. I’ve read Van’s books through the years, so I’m looking forward to meeting him!

We won’t be tucked in at the cabin the whole time. We are planning to visit Acadia National Park, Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta and some other fun places. Of course, there will be seafood to eat — yum! Oh, and yes, I have a quilt shop on my list too!

I have all my projects that I wanted to have completed before the trip done! Here a little peek at what I made from the leftover scraps of my latest improv project. I’ll be finishing that project once I’m back home, so more on that in a future post. This little lovely finishes at about 8″. The fabrics are Kona Pink Flamingo and Kona Snow. I quilted it with a light dove grey and pink threads.

Wednesday Wanderings - scrap improv mini - piecefulthoughts.com
That little bulge on the left is a binding glitch. Glad it’s just a play piece!

I’m going unplugged (mostly) while I’m gone, so you won’t hear from me for the next 10 days. I won’t be posting on my blog, but I’ll be reading your blogs. I won’t be commenting, since my phone doesn’t seem to want me to. Follow me on Instagram (@piecefulwendy) if you want to see what I’m up to.

Ok, I really better get packing! See you later, my friends!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

Today I hope you are relaxing, enjoying a good book, laughing with family and friends, and soaking up some of the lovely sunshine.

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Texas, Oregon and Montana with flooding and forest fires, for those who have lost homes and belongings and for the safety of the firefighters and rescuers who are selflessly giving their time to help out.

Love those around you today, be generous with your hugs! I’ll see you on Wednesday!

Happy Labor Day!

Wendy

Improv Play

Improv play is my happy place lately. My goal this week was to finish my daughter’s quilt top so I could get it to Connie to quilt. However, just as I was putting on the last border, I ran out of fabric. Ugh. We pulled the quilt together on the fly while in a local quilt shop, and miscalculated on the second border fabric. The quilt shop didn’t have any more of the fabric, but I managed to find some online. Phew!

So, with nothing else to do (hahaha, right), I decided to play around with improv blocks. I have one improv in progress and I’ve been posting little peeks on my Instagram feed. I very excited to see how it — if it — turns out!

In the meantime, I came across a stack of 20 squares in my stash and decided to cut them up. I just grabbed them as they came off the pile.

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Then I just start to sew them together in sets of two.

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Then I sew those sets together.  Blocks are starting to form!

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Pretty soon I have a bunch of colorful blocks and it’s time to trim.

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

After trimming, I begin to play with layout. I got so absorbed in doing that, I forgot to take a picture. Once I’m happy with the layout, I stitch them together. This can be the most challenging part of the project, because my blocks are often different sizes. It’s like fitting a puzzle together.

Once it is sewn together, there are a mess of seams on the back!

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com

Now it’s time to quilt it. I’ve decided to use three colors of thread this time. Fun!

Improv Play - piecefulthoughts.com
Thread is Aurifil: turquoise #5005, green #1231 and orange #2145 (not sure of the actual color names).

With the turquoise and green threads, I just did some random straight line quilting in both directions. With the orange thread, I decided to quilt wavy lines, crossing over the other threads if I felt like it.

Improv Play - quilting - piecefulthoughts.com

I had this piece of fabric in my stash, just enough for the back. You can see a bit more of the very random quilting on this side.

I decided on green for the binding. I had one fabric I planned to use, but I would have had to cut several short pieces to make the binding. Who has time for that? I pulled out this fun polka dot. I think it works well.

I’ve named this quilt “Lunch at Frenchy’s”. Before we flew home from Florida after moving our daughter, we drove to Clearwater and ate at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. We sat on the deck where we could see all the colorful beach umbrellas while we had our lunch.

Come January, when things are dull, cold and dreary around here, I will pull this out and put it on my table. It will be a good reminder of sunny days!

That’s my Friday finish! I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Stay safe, friends!

Linking up today with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Amanda Jean at  Crazy Mom Quilts and Myra at Busy Hands Quilts.

Wendy

 

 

Wednesday Progress

Progress is happening in the quilt room while this week has been buzzing along, and my sewing machine has been humming. I finished five little dresses and will soon get them in the mail to Lori of Humble Quilts. Lori will be taking the dresses with her on a missions trip. You can read about that here.

Wednesday Progress - Little Dresses - piecefulthoughts.com

They were fun to make. As I was walking back into the house after taking the above photo, I got distracted by our hydrangea tree. Look at those big blossoms, with just a tinge of pink beginning to show!

Wednesday Progress - hydrangea tree - piecefulthoughts.com

I finished the Maureen Cracknell quilt top using her Garden Dreamer line. I’m not going to show the whole quilt until it’s done and been given to its new owners. Here’s a peek though.

Wednesday Progress - Sneak Peek - piecefulthoughts.com

And guess what? I have some scraps left over! I cannot wait to play with them and make something more from this beautiful fabric!

I’m also just about finished with a quilt for my daughter. No pictures yet, but I’ll post some soon. It’s a really cute, simple quilt using a fun fabric with toadstools. I can’t wait to get it in the mail to her!

County Fair Block Update

Oh, by the way, remember that fun little red, white and blue block I made and submitted to our county fair? I got an honorable mention on it. I was up against some pretty talented quilters. Thought you’d like to know.

Wednesday Progress - RWB block - piecefulthoughts.com

I’m off to visit Connie this morning and drop off the 70273 Project Quilt and the Maureen Cracknell quilt so she can work her long arm magic on them. I hope to have my daughter’s quilt to her soon too!

That’s what I’ve been up to this week? What about you? What’s keeping you busy?

Wendy

 

Tiny Friday Finish

I’m having lunch with a friend today, and her birthday was this last week, so I made this little mug mat for her. We’ve known each other for a long time; in fact, my husband and I met through her and her husband many years ago. But that’s another story . . .

Tiny Friday Finish - mug mat - piecefulthoughts.com

The center block is from a fabric line called Comfort of Psalms, and I like to use it to make mug mats for friends. All of the fabrics were from my stash. The blue polka dot was supposed to be a dress for my daughter when she was little. Right when I was going to make it, she told me that she didn’t like polka dots. I love the polka dots, so I’ve used this piece quite often!

Introducing . . .

Another friend I’d like you to meet today is Tracie. Tracie and I have also known each other for years. We have shared many cups of coffee while chatting about life, family, faith, quilting, and her adorable dog. She has been a huge help to me as we both started blogging, and I am grateful to her for that. She is very creative, has a wonderful way with words, and an amazing eye for photography.

Tracie’s blog is Riceford Streams. Her current post shares some of the joys she finds from making quilts. Don’t miss her Vault of Happiness. Curious? Go check out her post and leave her a comment (tell her hi from me). While you’re there, don’t forget to take a peek at her Instagram, where you can see more of her photography and that adorable dog!

Happy Friday, friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

I’m linking up today with Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Wendy

 

Wednesday Wanderings

I haven’t posted a Wednesday Wanderings in awhile, and since I have been wandering a bit as of late, I thought it appropriate to post a few pictures.

One of the things we enjoy while traveling is finding coffee shops. Not Starbucks or other chains, but local coffee shops. Thank goodness for Mr. Google and all things internet these days, which makes that so much easier!

While we were on our way to Florida, we stopped by Innkeeper’s Coffee in Galesburg, Illinois.  It was a bit of a drive off the freeway, further complicated by construction, but well worth the effort. Upon entering the shop, I was surprised at how bright and sunshiny it was. It was just a happy place to be. The staff were smiling and cheerful, as well as patient as we tried to decide what we wanted. We are a divided family, with two of us coffee drinkers and two tea drinkers. All of us agreed that the coffee and tea were delicious! I was so busy with ordering coffee and looking around that I forgot to snap any pictures, except for this boring (and blurry) one of the street signage. If you go to their website, however, and click on “About Us” you can see a photo of the inside.

Wednesday Wanderings - coffee shop - piecefulthoughts.com

Anyway, if you are traveling through Illinois and are near Galesburg, it’s worth the stop!

Works In Progress

Meanwhile, I’ve been stitching away on the Maureen Cracknell kit, with little to show for it I’m afraid. If I get some decent stitching done today I should get the second set of blocks done. They go together pretty quickly, so if I stay on task I should have the top done — maybe this weekend!

I made another little dress, so now I have two. I do plan to make a few more.

Wednesday Wanderings - pillowcase dress - piecefulthoughts.com

Wandering Wednesday - pillowcase dress - piecefulthoughts.com

I also made this little flannel receiving blanket, and had enough flannel left over to make two little burp cloths. This will be gifted later this week. I’ve had the fabric in my stash just waiting for the right time, so I was happy for that. The flannel is so soft and snuggly.

Wednesday Wanderings - receiving blanket - piecefulthoughts.com

And just as I decided to take this picture my camera ran out of battery, so I apologize for the dark photo.

What are you up to this week? I’d love to hear!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

Monday, Monday! I planned to post throughout last week. I really did. However, after we got back home from moving our daughter to Florida, I spent most of my time doing some housekeeping (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) and then doing this . . .

Pieceful Monday - piecefulthoughts.com

When I wasn’t napping, I did make a little bit of progress on some of my sewing projects.

On Wednesday, I stopped in at JoAnn Fabrics to get backing fabric for The 70273 Project Quilt. I took my time and wandered through the store. I came away with more than just the backing for the quilt, but thankfully most of it will be used for some projects I’m working on.

I’m also beginning to construct the blocks for this quilt. This will be a gift, so I can’t reveal too much about this yet. This is a kit using Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer line. I love the colors and the feel of the fabric.

Pieceful Monday - piecefulthoughts.com

And I started work on a bed quilt for my daughter. I’ll show you more on that soon. For this project, she picked the cutest fabric with toadstools on it. We bought the fabric all at 50% off at a local quilt shop. I bought my first full bolt of fabric. Thank goodness it was 50% off! I’m looking forward to getting this put together soon. I think the toadstools will be fitting, since these little guys seem to show up at her place quite often.

Pieceful Monday - tree frog - piecefulthoughts.com

Recently Lori of Humble Quilts posted that she is once again going to make a trip to Columbia and would once again be taking pillowcase dresses along for the little girls. I have wanted to make some of these for Lori, so today I made my first one. They are so easy and quick to make. You can read Lori’s post and find directions for the dresses here.

Pieceful Monday - pillowcase dress - piecefulthoughts.com

I took this picture in the late afternoon sun. I’ll post more pictures as I get more dresses made!

Happy Monday, friends! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Linking up today with Beth and Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts.  

Wendy

Making Plans

Do you plan out your week, month or year? To tell the truth, I do a little planning, but the direction I take to get there is more serendipitous than say, my husband’s. Truly, I’m basically okay with that; however, sometimes it’s good to have a plan. I found something to help with that.

For the past year, I’ve been using The Quilter’s Planner. Now that I have been blogging for over a year and getting more involved in my online community with quilt alongs, blog hops, etc. as well as activities with my local quilt group, and making quilts for others, this planner has come in handy. Let me tell you why.

It has nice space for writing appointments, etc.  With a month-at-a-glance layout as well as week-at-a-glance, there is plenty of room for writing. There are also little places to write specific notes related to quilting, work, and miscellaneous notes on each page — so handy!

Making plans - piecefulthoughts.com

It has pages for planning projects. I found these helpful when I was thinking through and drafting a project. All my notes were in one place as opposed to several pages of paper.

Making plans - piecefulthoughts.com

It has helpful resources.

Making plans - piecefulthoughts.com

Not only that, but each month had a quilt block highlighted with a link to instructions, a little free motion doodle for practice, and other helpful fun quilting tips.

In addition, The Quilter’s Planner website is also a great resource for additional information throughout the year.

Time to Pre-Order the 2018 Quilter’s Planner

Making Plans - piecefulthoughts.com

I just pre-ordered my 2018 Quilter’s Planner. Look at that gorgeous color on the front! If you like Allison Glass, you’ll definitely want to take a look!  While everything I loved about it is still included, there are several new things this year that I’m excited about:

  • 12 monthly blocks featured in a new Quilter’s Planner Sampler Quilt pattern by Cheryl Brickey
  • A companion full-color glossy magazine with 13 quilting and sewing patterns by top designers
  • 4 pages of planner stickers by 2018 Featured Artist Alison Glass
  • Laminated cover and colorful tabs designed by Alison Glass

You can also get a mini planner with the larger planner that easily tucks into a large purse or tote. It’s about 5 x 7″ in size. It has some handy features so that you can take your quilt information with you when you are out and about. You never know when you’ll find just the right fabric, and you’ll be able to have yardage notes right in that little planner!

I keep my planner by my sewing machine, where I can access it each day and review what needs to be done. It’s been so helpful for me when scheduling quilting time and blog posts, particularly during those busy days of non-quilting activities. A little pre-planning goes a long way to being able to sneak in some quilting time.

If you like planners, or would like to give one a try, do take a peek at this one! You can find more information and order it here.

I’m not an affiliate of the planner in any way. I just really like the product and wanted to let you know that you can now pre-order the 2018 planner. I hope you take a minute to take a look.

Do you use a planner? I’d love to hear your method of staying on track with quilting and daily commitments!

Wendy

 

Improv Stripes

Debbie Jeske of A Quilter’s Table started an improv stripes QAL recently, and today is the day some of us will be revealing our work. This has been such a fun little QAL;  check out #improvstripesqal on Instagram for more inspiration.

We were to pick some fabrics and/or scraps and sew them into strip sets. I had a couple of oddball fat quarters tucked away in a drawer. Oddball not because the fabric was ugly, but oddball because I really couldn’t figure out what to do with them. I’m glad they came to mind for the project because they seemed to work well. I happened to stop at a quilt shop during the sewing, so I also picked up a couple FQs I thought would be a fun addition.

There is something very relaxing and fun about cutting randomly and then just sewing away. I didn’t really think much about what should go next to what, or how big the strip sets were. I just sewed them together. My first sets looked like this. If you follow me on Instagram at @piecefulwendy, you can see my progress as I went along.

Improv stripes - piecefulthoughts.com

I sewed strips together until I had no more fabric left, adding in a bit of gold here and there. Thinking I’d make a little mini square quilt, I squared some of the blocks right away, but left some as they were until I figured out how to fit them together. In the end, I moved them around and made a runner.

Improv Quilt - Runner 1 - piecefulthoughts.com

The runner measures about 11″ x 25″.  I used a piece of gray fabric from my stash for the backing and binding. I’m not sure where I picked it up, maybe at SRHarris. I realized as I was working with it that there is a very light staining on the fabric. I’m wondering if it is from water damage, or maybe it just wasn’t a good run and that’s why it ended up at the store. It’s barely noticeable, so I’m not too concerned.

Improv Quilt - back view - piecefulthoughts.com

I quilted it with a lime green Aurifil thread. I originally intended to add one more color of thread, but I was enjoying the green so much that I just kept going. Keeping with the improv feel, I made organic lines both horizontally and vertically in groups of three.

I also set some of the longer strips aside. A few people mentioned how the longer stripe groups looked like birch trees, and I couldn’t resist going with that. So I made this.

Improv Quilt - Birches - piecefulthoughts.com

It’s a little mini runner, about 9″ x 30″. I’ll call it “Birches”. The gold fabric makes me think of  little streaks of golden sun along with the other purples and pinks of the sunset. Sunset through the birch trees — see? It works for me.

Improv Quilt - Birches back detail - piecefulthoughts.com

I used a variegated gold thread (Gütermann) to quilt this, just stitching some organic lines here and there. Once again I considered adding in another color of thread, but ended up with just the gold. The same gray fabric was used for the backing and binding on this mini as I did in the other.

Improv Quilts - runner and Birches - piecefulthoughts.com

Have you ever done improv? Did you enjoy it or not? I’d enjoy hearing about your experience. I’ll respond to every comment; however, I won’t be responding until next week after I return from the road trip.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wendy