Keeping up and works in progress

May has been a tough month for me in terms of keeping up with quilting projects and blogging.  I’ve been spending an enormous time planning our summer vacation and it’s not my favorite “job”.  Mr. Crafty Quilter, me and three of our children will be traveling to Sweden and Norway for 11 days in June. That’s a long flight and a lot of people to keep happy.  We’re very lucky that we get to take this trip together, but I’ll be glad when the logistics are taken care of.  I’ve been studying maps, reading Trip Advisor articles, looking at hotels, reading reviews, downloading train schedules and trying to figure out the best routes for driving.  Ugh.  I know I shouldn’t be complaining, but I’d rather be quilting!

I started off strong with the Splendid Sampler Quilt Along, and now I’m already behind by a bunch (I’m no longer counting).  But this is supposed to be fun and I’m not going to stress about it.  Here’s the last three blocks I’ve completed:

Splendid Sampler Block #21 by Julie Cefalu
Splendid Sampler Block 21


Splendid Sampler Block 22 by Julie Cefalu
Splendid Sampler Block 22


Splendid Sampler Block 23 by Julie Cefalu
Splendid Sampler Block 23


I find myself charging ahead with the pieced blocks of the Splendid Sampler and setting aside the applique and paper pieced ones for later.  Do you do that too?  We all have our comfort zones and time limits!

My UFO project for this month is coming along nicely.  I just finished quilting it yesterday and now I’m going to add the binding.  This wall hanging is from my Hot Air Balloon Mini Quilt Tutorial and I’m finally getting mine done!

amelias wall hanging copy


After watching Angela Walter’s Craftsy class, Machine Quilting Negative Space, I was inspired to use swirls and pearls (circles) to quilt the white background area.  I love the texture it adds.  I’ll have more pictures to share at the end of the month (a few days away!) when it’s completed.

amelias wall hanging quilting copy


I decided to sort through one of my scrap baskets and put everything into color piles.  This can be a “cleansing” experience for some and torture for others.  I fall somewhere in between.  I found that I’ve been using a lot of blue and turquoise fabric and not very much purple.  Plus I have a lot more white and low volume fabrics than I realized.

scrap piles


Now what to do with these little rainbow piles of fabric?  One would think that after all of that trouble I would put them into separate containers, but I’m fresh out of containers and I didn’t want to use Ziplock bags.  So, back into the basket they went, but very gently so as not to mix them up!

My personality type is not OCD and I can handle a little chaos here and there, but I DO need to find a solution to storing my scraps in color order.  Lack of space is part of the problem, and then there’s poor organization habits.  But I’m working on it.  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.  Maybe a personal assistant is in order?  I think we could all use one of those!

My last project to share with you is a sneak peak of my first block for Jacquelynne Steves’ block of the month, Maggie’s First Dance.  I’m super excited about this one!  The first block will be released on June 6, so there’s still time to sign up.  You’ll get to see my entire block and a few tips on piecing when it’s my turn to post – which will be June 6.

maggie block 1 peak copy


Thanks for being patient with me as I try to keep up with life!  We’ll be celebrating Memorial Day this weekend here in the states.  It’s the official kick-off to summer barbecues and good weather (in theory).  I hope you have a wonderful week wherever you are.

Julie 176 x 116

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  1. I’ve been sewing since the kids were little but didn’t start quilting until my grand daughter graduated from high school. She wanted a quilt instead of an afghan. I had no idea what I was doing but it turned out really nice and just what she wanted. That was 4 years ago and I’m addicted.

  2. Hi, I love all your blocks- great job! I have been quilting for over 20 years, but not much the past 10 years. I am hoping to start sewing again- and have quite a few projects now that I have started!

  3. Whenever I read your posts, I want to jump right up and get to work! This morning is no exception! You continue to inspire and to motivate me with your beautiful creations! Sounds like a fun vacation! You can add travel coordinator to your resume! I don’t envy you that job, but I’d sure like to be a mouse in your pocket during your travels! XO

  4. What lovely blocks!i admire how sharp and precise your points are. I wish mine were that good.
    Enjoy your trip to Scandinavia , both Sweden and Norway are fabulous at this time of year.

  5. Amelia’s quilt is gorgeous! Your quilting makes it look like the air is moving and lifting and puffing around to keep the hot air balloons up! All of your Splendid blocks are gorgeous…. such beautiful fabrics and precise piecing!!

  6. I love getting your updates and photos on a regular basis. OMG, you will have a wonderful trip and I understand that you say you just want to stay home and quilt. That just verifys how much you enjoy what you do. You will be creating wonderful family memories on this trip and appreciate your quilting time more when you return. As for the colored scraps. I purchased clear plastic square containers that at about two inches thick. They are stackable so do not take up much room. I use them to safely store my 12 inch project squares. However, I find them great for storing scraps by color and I also try to cute left over fabric into usable strips and store them in these containers. I try to be organized but then am too interested in moving on to the next project. Hence, I have a large plastic bag of scraps to deal with❗️

  7. what a wonderful holiday you have planned would love to go to Norway having relatives from a couple of generations back but highly unlikely do not even own a passport.

    Scraps I try to keep in colour order but they soon get mixed up again.
    Hot air balloons looking so good and eagerly waiting for Maggie`s dance love Jacquelynne`s designs.
    Seem to have given up on SS like you no FPP or applique or embroidery ones done but saving them as who knows one day I might get round to them

  8. Wow Julie, looking good, we are just back from Sweden, my New Zealand born son got married to a Swedish girl and a lovely family so looking forward to both coming back home to NZ to settle down! Have a great time, it is warming nicely up there so enjoy! Kind regards Tina

  9. Wow. Those aren’t big scrap piles. I need a tub for my scraps! But love scrappy looking quilts. Love reading your blog. I have recently been cutting my scraps down to size and stacking them into plastic shoe box bins that I bought at the Dollar Store. I don’t sort by color, only by size.

  10. Your blocks are lovely Julie! I have also found myself skipping over the paper pieced blocks and am now planning to do some of the bonus patchwork blocks to fill in my 100 blocks:) Enjoy your trip – it will be worth it and full of memories. Your hot air balloons look great – now I remember the reason that I started following your blog:)

  11. Gads girl I don’t even know where to start. Great trip. Our next one is Oshkosh Wisconsin for the EAA air show in July. Scraps. Omg. I just want to know how to short the what xirnis
    It scrap. You know the two tone or multi. I have a neighbor, I was just over there , who makes magic out of scraps. Throws th on a big box and
    Pulls them out. Whatever with whatever. Your blocks are stunning. Good luck with the planning. Just for in backing for a quilt my granddaughter had an accident with. Made the repair now ready to quilt.


  12. I love reading your little blog and seeing what has been happening in your world. Im so looking forward to the first block for Maggies First Dance. I dont normally do BOM but this one looked so inviting I couldnt resist.
    I sure that once your have your holiday stuff sorted you will be excited to go on this family holiday, what a great idea doing it as a family group. Have a wonderful trip
    Okay thats enough chat for now. Keep happy and healthy. The little ballon quilt for your granddaughter is lovely, well done

  13. Go to a travel agency or AAA or Costco. I worked at a travel agency for six weeks and learned so much of how a travle agent can be helpful. Even when you’re in Europe if you have questions, the travel agent can help. Also, when they offer you ins., buy it. It covers the entire trip not just the airfar like the kind you buy through the airlines. In the short time I worked there there were three times where people were glad they had bought the ins. as it saved them lots of money.

  14. Thank you for the great photos and inspiration. I enjoy your site so much. About your storage issues. I found some clear plastic pet food containers and they had casters for rolling around. I have 10 of them and really re-organized a lot of my fabric. I also have two for the smaller pieces in color family and put in two of these roller container. They slide under my cutting/layout table. I roll them to my design area and can easily select pieces for audition. Then when done roll it back into it’s home. Once project is done and have left over unused pieces can easily put back into bin. Works out great. They are not large and I think they were intended for dry cat food.

  15. Hi, Julie! Your blogs are always gracious, interesting, and informative! I enjoy them very much. Thank you for the sneak peek at your block for “Maggie’s First Dance.” I signed up. If I absolutely decide to make the blocks, I’ll do the embroidery option. I love that flexibility!

  16. I love your blocks for the Splendid Sampler. I like the colors in all of them. I also like the colors you used in the Maggie’s First Dance block. I’m not good at putting colors together. I get a little overwhelmed.
    I haven’t done any quilting for about three months now. We’ve had family visiting off and on and am now taking my husband to physical therapy twice a week. In a few weeks, we will be heading up to WI as our oldest grandson will be graduating from high school. As I get older, it makes me slower in getting things accomplished…lol!
    As far as storing your different colored scraps, I’m interested in some ideas myself.
    Will enjoy hearing about your travels abroad and look forward to pictures. God bless you and your family and have safe travels.

  17. Referring to your little piles of scrap Julie I am sure you have the same thing I have, a cupboard with yards and yards of new fabric. You have already spent too much time sorting them. So when I have those little bits of fabric, I just quickly put then in the trash can. They take more time to deal with than I HAVE.

    Dolores Good

  18. Looking forward to seeing the entire Jacquelynne Steves block. Love the colors. Really like the colors that you use……. all so “fresh” and inviting.

  19. I am inspired by all the quilty projects you do manage to keep up with, Julie!! Pat yourself on the back and do continue with the ‘no stress’ attitude! 🙂 You asked for suggestions for storing your fabric scraps by color. You can make this as simple or highly organized as you want. One question you might ask yourself is how to you use your scraps? Some quilters cut their scraps into certain length noodles (strips), squares and other shapes commonly used. I know you enjoy appliqué, so guessing you save the tiniest bits of fabric for that. I’ve seen quilters use clear shoeboxes, fabric bin type containers, drawers, zip bags, etc. for their scrap organization. I’m currently using a combination of drawers and bins. In my drawers, I have three or four color families lined up next to each other so I can see all the fabrics – think books on their long side. This works fairly well except for the little bits tend to get lost and I found I wanted to keep my batik scraps separate from regular quilting cottons. It is just easier to see what batik scraps I have this way for now. I also have my Kansas Troubles fabric scraps in bins of their own; not sure why except I have a lot of them. I should probably integrate them into my other quilty fabric scraps. I’ll be watching with great interest to see what other replies you get to this question. The time and work you’re putting in on your trip details will be rewarded when you’re finally there and enjoying time with your family. Hang in there!

  20. You’ll enjoy Sweden and Norway. You will really notice how long the days are in June. That’s more time to sight-see.
    Love your quilting.

  21. I LOVE your quilting on the hot air balloons!! Great job — as are all of your projects I’ve seen.

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