Thursday, December 24, 2015

Harry Potter Project of Doom "Quilt-Behind": Week 10

We're five months post-move, and things are finally falling in to place!  Our dumping ground bedroom is finally cleared out and my studio is functional.  I feel so much more at peace having my sanctuary back.

Even better, my embroidery machine is back to working condition!  The repairman showed us where it was clear the movers had dropped the machine and broken a belt and some other minor pieces, but he fixed everything up and I'm back in the embroidery business.  I even got a new sewing machine for Christmas!  I told my husband I just wanted a basic machine that has a straight stitch and a zigzag, and maybe a true quarter-inch foot if he can find one.  That was the whole of my sewing machine wish list.  Instead, I ended up with a Brother DZ2400, so I would say he did a pretty darned good job.  However, I think I have a bit of a learning curve ahead of me in preparation for FiS's X-Files Quilt and Stitch Along this January.  This is my first sewing/quilting/embroidery machine combo and my first modern machine, so hopefully it's simpler than it looks.

I didn't expect to dive back in to the PoD until next year with all the holiday hoopla, but since Christmas presents were all finished up today (and can actually be shared next week!) and I had a few minutes to myself, I sat down for a quick stitch on the machine.  I figured Block 10 was a good place to start.

The Standard Books of Spells, Levels 1 through 7.  And check out that desk: a workspace is finally visible even though this was Ground Zero of our move!

How cool is this Patronus?  Mine would probably be a raven if I designed it, but Susan saved me the trouble.

I do love Jennifer Ofenstein's original patterns for the Standard Books of Spells, but I knew I wanted something embroidered on these and the original patterns are a bit thin width-wise to do that.  And Susan over at The Bored Zombie's embroidered books are pretty irresistible.  You can find the embroidery files here.

The finished block.

I have attempted to use this silver-grey fabric several times in different blocks, and hated it every time because of the metallic sheen.  I'm not sure why I had about three yards of it, but I was determined to find a place to use it.  I think it actually works for these books.  Susan's books were beautifully colored and used different fabrics to add to the interest, but I went for a black and white for a simpler effect on this fabric.  I had to restitch the first book once  because I didn't have enough fabric top and bottom to center it vertically (and I can see that I forgot to trim a thread on it), but they all stitched up really easily.  This ended up 13" unfinished, so it will cut in to the next block a bit.  I'm not actually measuring my blocks, because I will see how close my rows are in size when they are complete, and if I need to add a book to the end of some rows to make them the same size, that's what I will do.

I did finally unearth my PoD box and found my giveaway fabric from this summer!  I'm going to go back through those old postings and find the people who entered and send all of you a small stash of fabric for your PoD or other projects.  Will anyone be joining me on completing the PoD in 2016?  Let me know how it's going for you.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Autumn mini quilt

It's hardly a triumphant return, but I have finally finished my first post-move project: a little Autumn mini quilt.  I gave it as a host/hostess gift to my husband's cousins, who generously hosted our whole crazy clan for Thanksgiving.

Fall squirrel quilt
The finished project.  The quilt measures approximately 16"x44".

I had hoped to be back in the sewing room long before now, but we had a nightmare move that took months to completely sort out.  Before we were packed up, I did a total overhaul of my crafting room and organized everything in to labeled tins and totes.  I had the movers label every box by room and area within that room so our unpacking job would be easier at the next house.  The company who moved us in to the new house, however, was awful.  When I saw my studio after the movers left, I could have cried.  They had dumped out boxes from a half dozen different rooms in the middle of the floor, and there was a pile halfway to the ceiling of craft supplies, garage tools, children's clothes, bathroom items, and more.  Tins of tiny materials were dumped out and scattered, and my sewing machine and embroidery machines were on their sides or upside down and covered with heavy things.  As we sorted through the house, I tried to take care of the important things first, which meant sewing went by the wayside.  It didn't help that both my sewing machine and embroidery machine were broken.  I managed fix the former, but I can't work on my PoD until I get the embroidery machine realigned.  Good thing I have a ton of Christmas gifts to work on in the meantime!

Fall squirrel quilt
Acorn pattern by Claudia Hasenbach.

This free acorn pattern is courtesy of Claudia Hasenbach, and is available from  The original size was 3"x4", but I blew it up to a 12" square block for my quilt.  It pieced easily and beautifully, and would be a great starter block.  In the original size, it would make really cute corner squares for an autumn quilt.  You can see here that I did a bit of a meandering pattern with a few gentle swirls mixed in.  This was my first time doing a large, all-over pattern on a quilt, and while my arms ached afterward and I can see some errors, I am pretty proud of my quilting progress to date.

Fall squirrel quilt
I love this squirrel, in a soft patterned red.

The squirrel was not in my original quilt plan, but I just didn't have time to do the block I had wanted to do.  I made four acorns in order to make a second quilt for myself later, and on my quilt I will be using Sewing Under Rainbow's free Maple Fox pattern as the center block.  I have my fabrics all picked out for him and had hoped to do one for this quilt as well.  When I realized I had to do a rush block, however, I decided to applique a different fall critter instead of paper piecing.  I cut this squirrel on my Cricut using an image from the Folk Art Festival cartridge.  It's one of the cartridges I use the most for a variety of projects.  To cut applique shapes on the Cricut, I simply iron fusible interfacing to the fabric and put the fabric on the mat, backing paper and all.  Once cut, I remove it from the mat, peel the backing paper off, and iron as usual.

Fall squirrel quilt
Orange quilty packages tied up with string ...

The beautiful thing about mini quilts is that they practically gift wrap themselves.  I simply rolled it up and tied it with a pretty ribbon.  This backing is funny; I bought it in the store because I loved it, then when I got it home, I couldn't figure out how to use it in a quilt without it looking strange.  I think it just screamed "background fabric" to me, and I love how it looks there.  In the interest of time, I did a cheater binding using the backing, and I love the little pop of orange on the front of the quilt.

Fall squirrel quilt
Thanksgiving table with a mini quilt centerpiece.  

The quilt served as a lovely centerpiece to this beautiful Thanksgiving table.  We had a great holiday with great family and I came back tired, happy, and refreshed for the Christmas season.  In the next couple of weeks I will be sharing primarily Christmas projects as I finish them, but I will be continuing to work on my Game of Thrones quilt patterns as well.  I have sent the full pattern pack to several people who needed to finish their quilts before Christmas, and if you need a copy, I'm happy to oblige.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throne Thursdays: Tyrell

Good news and great news today!  First, I am slowly chugging away on these Game of Thrones blocks.  A Christmas finish may be in sight!  Also, my husband was able to save all the information from my broken computer, found me a 5 TB backup hard drive so I have no excuse to skip backing up the computer again, and made my computer faster and better than before.  That means within the next few weeks, all my patterns will be getting fixed up and posted, either for testing or to Craftsy if already tested.

Now to balance that out with some bad news (for me, at least):  I will be taking a break from these and all other sewing projects until about mid-August.  We will be moving and sadly, my sewing machine and I will have to part ways until we have our new house.  I may get a few more PoD embroideries done in the next week, but there are no guarantees.

But tonight, I get to share a block.  Today's block is the Tyrell sigil.

Game of Thrones quilt
Tyrell sigil.

I thought this would be more difficult to piece than it was.  It was a little time-consuming because it has something like 11 sections to piece.  Only a few pieces actually needed to meet up at specific points, so there wasn't much worry about matching points.  I'm fairly happy with how it lined up in the end.  This is maybe a 3/5 for difficulty, if you're good at matching up sections.

Game of Thrones quilt
Everything lined up!

You can download the Tyrell pattern here.

Allyssa (Instagram:  @jirismama) finished up this block as well.  Here is Allyssa's block:

Game of Thrones quilt
Photo by Allyssa; used by permission.

I just had to lay out what I had completed so I could see them all together so far, and I am totally in love.  Baelish isn't in there because I cannibalized it for the green fabric in my Tyrell block, but I will be redoing that one soon.  I can't wait to see these all with black sashing and the embroidered logo on top.  Almost halfway there!

Completed blocks so far.  I am loving these fabrics together!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Harry Potter Project of Doom "Quilt-Behind": Week 18

I haven't been able to do a lot of embroidery the last couple of days, because we are slowly recovering and backing up 1.3 MILLION files from my dead hard drive, leaving the laptop pretty well occupied and covered in wires.  It has been an expensive and lengthy process, but the good news is that all my family photos have been recovered, as well as all my patterns I had developed but not yet tested.  That makes for one happy mom and designer.  :)

Even so, I wanted to get a little something done today, so I finished up half of what will be my block 18.  I actually took the peacock quill and ink bottle from the block 15 pattern, but I have other big plans for block 15, and I wanted the peacock quill somewhere.

Harry Potter Quilt
Peacock quill and magical ink.

Finding this peacock quill fabric was a total fluke.  I happened to be walking past it at JoAnn, and I thought I remembered a quill in one of the patterns.  Even though I would probably never pick this fabric for anything else ever, it really spoke to me for this particular block.

Harry Potter Quilt
Close-up of peacock fabric.  It's a little psychedelic.

I went for somewhat plain greens and purples for the rest of the feather.  I'm fairly happy with how it turned out.

Harry Potter Quilt
Our magical ink.

My daughter and I had a hard time deciding on ink bottle fabrics.  She wanted it to be rainbow ink, but the one fabric I had was going to detract from the quill fabric.  We went through my TARDIS cookie jar scrap stash and she found this black with stars and swirls.  We figured that looked like pretty magical ink and would show up well against the natural background.  We went with grey on top because a clear or light color wouldn't show up too well.  I think it looks like the ink is dripping back down into the bottle this way.  I'm not really happy with how it lined up on the left, but it was more important to me that the quill point lined up perfectly, so I think this is good enough.  I'm actually considering appliqueing some drops of ink coming down the side of the bottle later to cover that.

To finish this block, I am actually going to include the potion bottle book variation from block 18.  I got some small potion labels free from Spoonflower when they had a free swatch promotion, and it had tons of little potion labels on it.  I'm going to applique one of those on the book for fun.

Harry Potter Quilt
Mostly invisible Invisible Book of Invisibility.

I worked on one other fun project today: my Invisible Book of Invisibility.  To make this one, I used clear, monofilament embroidery thread and the alphabet function on the embroidery machine.  I embroidered the book name directly on to my background fabric.

Harry Potter Quilt
Look what a little monofilament thread can do!

To make it stand out more, this one is going to go under the horizontal stack of books on the Snitch block.  Hopefully it will make it look like the books on top of it are floating, drawing your eye to the empty space and title.

I am also super stoked about some fabric that showed up in the mail today:

Harry Potter Quilt
Mermaid stained glass fabrics.  These really inspired me when I saw them!

These are slotted for my seventh(!) row on my bookshelf, where I will include the mermaid stained glass designed by Michelle Thompson.  It's available on the Fandom in Stitches Harry Potter page.  The fabric on the right will be the background, and I'm going to add an extra border of the fish fabric.  I have plenty of this, so I will be adding some of this to my book spine/magical item fabric giveaway.

Speaking of which, you can still enter the giveaway!  I've extended it by a week and will draw a winner on Monday.  Just leave me a comment letting me know that you would like some fabric for your PoD ... or any other project you might be working on.  :)  I have two entrants right now, and if I don't receive any more, I will add a bunch of fabric and split the pile between you two lovely ladies!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throne Thursdays: Tully

Just one block to share today.  Best laid schemes, and all that.  :)

I managed to get Tully tested, and it went together well.  I'm working on getting Baelish redone in this grey, since I like it so much, and I'm hoping to have enough to do Arryn as well.  Here's this week's block:

Game of Thrones Quilt
House Tully.

This block makes me think of home, which becomes more important as we are now a month out from our move.  Salmon are one of those things you think of when you think of stereotypical Seattle, and this sigil makes me think of a salmon.  (It's probably not; I probably just embarrassed myself massively.  But you have to remember, I'm not the giant GoT fan in this house.)  This grey is so much better than the polka dotted silver I used on the Baelish sigil last time, and I adore this blue tonal.  I'm not sure why I had bought it, especially so much of it, but it was sitting in my stash unused.

Game of Thrones Quilt
I know it's probably not technically a salmon, but it is to me!

I'd rate this about a 2/5 for difficulty.  Easy to piece, and the sections go together fairly easily, with only a few points that have to match up.  You can download the Tully pattern here.

Allyssa (Instagram:  @jirismama) has been a busy bee, helping me test out some of these patterns!  Here's some of her work:

Game of Thrones Quilt
Game of Thrones Quilt
Game of Thrones Quilt
Some of the tested blocks!  Photos by Allyssa; used by permission.

My goals for the next two weeks are Tyrell and Baratheon.  I should actually have a lot more time after Monday once the kids are out of school, but to be honest, the PoD has been calling my name while I have this embroidery machine.  I've been pretty focused on getting a lot of that done.  I am more than a third of the way done with this quilt, though, putting me in a good spot for Christmas gift-giving!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Harry Potter Project of Doom "Quilt-Behind": Week 25

I really enjoyed this week's block.  I had wanted my quilt to have an embroidery pattern I found on Etsy with the major spells of the Harry Potter world, but I wasn't sure how to include it.  When Jennifer posted this week's block, I knew it was the perfect spot.  Since I left my book open, my spells are escaping!  I accidentally put the tops of the words right up at the top of the block without much room for seam allowance, but I think it will look like they are crashing into the shelf above when I assemble the quilt, so I'm pretty content.

This is the finished block:

Project of Doom
Open book block.

It's not exactly square, but because I have altered some of the blocks (for example; I widened the book on the left to accommodate more of the unicorn), I will pair it up with another block that was a little over to even it out.  When I assemble the quilt, I will add a book to each shelf to make them match up in width.  To fit the spells above the book, I had to extend the book cover on the left by about a quarter of an inch.  That wouldn't drive me nuts so bad if it weren't perfectly even on the other side, but I think I'm going to make a polyjuice felty potion bottle to sit right there to cover it up.

Project of Doom
Harry Potter spell embroidery.  Pattern by embroideryquotes on Etsy.

I got this amazing Harry Potter spells embroidery pattern from embroideryquotes on Etsy.  I haven't done a great job of trimming up all the stray threads, but I love the way it turned out.  I did have to resize it slightly smaller to fit my hoop, and I used a cotton thread, so there were a few thread breaks.  Nothing too dramatic, though.  Even so, it must have been meant to be, because I got it all stitched up and almost perfectly placed on my first try.

Project of Doom
I'm glad I bought lots of this aged book page fabric ...
there are a lot of books in this quilt!

I am using this fabric on all my books that have pages.  It looks like it blends in with the natural background, but there's actually a decent difference between them in real life.  I love that it adds a touch of text without being full of in-your-face words.  It was hard to choose between this book and the dragon eggs variation, but I think the dragon eggs will end up under my bookshelf when I assemble the quilt.

Project of Doom
Far Far Away by Windham Fabrics.  This unicorn reminds
me a bit of illustrations in The Phantom Tollbooth.

I adore this fabric, and I got quite a bit of it so I could use some in the girls' new room after we move.  It's from Windham Fabrics and it is the "Far Far Away" line.  Really pretty, whimsical fabrics.

Speaking of fabrics, don't forget to go check out our giveaway post here.  There are no entries yet, so your chances are astronomically good.  ;)  And I may just continue to add more book spine fabrics until we have some entrants, so this giveaway will continue to get better over time.  Head on over and make sure you're in on the fun!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A little stitching, a little ... well, let's just say it rhymes.

Normally on a Thursday I would be sharing another Game of Thrones pattern.  Instead, we will be taking a break this week.  I will most likely have two to share next week, so there's that to look forward to.  :)

I am in the middle of planning for a Girl Scout bridging and Bronze Award ceremony on Monday, so time has been in short supply.  I was still hoping to get through my Tully block today, but I had a frustrating moment where I didn't realize I hadn't quite covered a seam in the middle of one of the sections.  Newbie moment, which is crazy frustrating when you're not a newbie.  I thought it was time to set it aside before I got too angry with it.  I'll get back to that next week when I have a spare minute.

So instead, I spent what should have been a few minutes whipping up this bad boy:

Make Beautiful Things by Urban Threads
Make beautiful things.  No, really, I highly recommend it.
It's incredibly cathartic ... when it goes well.

When I first borrowed this embroidery machine, a site that came highly recommended was Urban Threads.  I promptly bought several patterns, and I have been incredibly happy with all of them.  I just hope I have time to stitch them all up before returning this machine.  There's a dreamcatcher I want to make for the girls' new room after we move, and some lacework that is just stunning.

Of course, I was so new to embroidery when I ordered this, that I accidentally ordered a size too large for my embroidery hoop.  Thank goodness I just found that resizing software!  I started working on a different fabric when I began, but I was really struggling with the thread breaking and it took me probably an hour to get the machine all opened up, cleaned out, and the settings readjusted until it worked.  I ended up throwing out that first attempt and pulling this mottled black instead.  I'm really happy with the look of this, though.  I used thick cotton thread, and it looks just like a chalkboard.  I'm going to get a mat cut for it in either grey or seafoam and put it in my sewing room as encouragement.

You can find the pattern here, and be sure to check out their other great options throughout the site.  There's even a freebie in their freebie section!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Harry Potter Project of Doom "Quilt-Behind": Week 21 ... and a giveaway!

I was really excited when Jennifer put out a new Sorting Hat block for week 21 of the PoD, and I just had to jump ahead.  I'm trying to work on the blocks as they inspire me, instead of trying to stick to an order or a strict schedule.  It's keeping the fun alive, rather than making this a chore.

This is my crazy fabulous (I know it's narcissistic, but I'm SO proud of this one!) block for the week:

Harry Potter Quilt
Crookshanks and the Sorting Hat.

I already had the perfect fabric for my Sorting Hat, because my mom had given me about a half yard of soft, cotton-thin suede after making my sister some Link gloves for Comicon.  It sewed up beautifully and pressed nicely.  I was concerned because I knew nothing about the care instructions for this fabric, so I used a pressing cloth and only pressed for a second on low heat, just to set the crease.  This suede may actually end up being the bottom layer of my Monster Book of Monsters as well, but I'll be adding fur on top.

Harry Potter Quilt
My Sorting Hat.

The same day the pattern was released I had to run to JoAnn for a Girl Scout project, and I thought I would check through the oranges to see what they had for Crookshanks.  They had about a million fat quarters of this perfect orange swirly fabric that I thought would make a perfect long cat fur.  This is one of those semi-directional fabrics, where there's a basic direction (up and down in this case), but no one will notice if it's slightly awry.  I'm pretty happy with how I got the fabric to line up.  The fabric really shines on his bottlebrush tail.

I used the embroidery machine to add the results of my sorting session.  I'm not doing a heavily Ravenclaw-themed PoD except for my wallpaper around the outside, but it's 100% my house and I did want a couple of little nods to it throughout.

Harry Potter Quilt
If Crookshanks gets lost, he'll make it back home with his personalized pet tag.

Then came my favorite part: the tag for Crookshanks!  I was looking at one of those nitpicky little areas where Crookshanks and the hat meet up in a corner, and lamenting the fact that it was a smidge off and was going to drive me nuts for years.  I thought, "Gosh (yep, I'm a dork in my head, too), I wish there was something I could put there to hide that.  Like a cat tag."  Like.  A.  CAT TAG!  I could almost literally feel the light bulb going off above my head.  Within minutes I had ordered a 2$ cat tag that says "Crookshanks" on the top line and "Hermione Granger" on the bottom.  When it arrived, I stitched it on like you would a button, and it feels totally secure.  I absolutely love that little detail.

Eventually I will be embroidering some whiskers on Crookshanks, but those kinds of additions will come near the end, when I don't have so much piecing to do.

I'm so excited to be making progress on the PoD, and I want to help you get there too!  I have a giveaway for you to enter, with the chance to win some fabrics for your PoD.  I have some fun book spine fabrics, a fat quarter of the Crookshanks fabric, and a large piece of some speckled brown and green fabric that I plan on using for my Trevor when he comes along.  I will draw names from any entrants on my birthday, June 22.  You can see the fabrics you can win below:

Harry Potter Quilt
Crookshanks and Trevor fabric.

Harry Potter Quilt
Some fabrics for your book spines.  I especially love Alexander Henry's "The Ghastlies" print on the left.

Just leave a comment letting me know where you're at in your process or how you would use these fabrics!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Is an "embroidery coma" a thing?

I think I may be in one, but it's a happy coma.  Kind of like a post-Thanksgiving food coma.  Lots of gluttony, then lots of satisfied lounging about afterward.

After hosting two themed parties in one weekend (I'll share some pictures later), I was exhausted and needed a break.  Since the house was still clean from prepping it for guests, I took Monday easy and thought I would knock out some embroidered book titles.  Thanks to Susan over at The Bored Zombie, this was me for about 12 hours more time than I care to admit:

A few months ago I borrowed my mother-in-law's Brother PE-700ii to embroider my PoD titles.  (I knew if I hand-embroidered them, it was a project that would never be finished.)  It's a fabulous machine, and I would love to own one someday.  I've been shocked at how many projects I've been able to use it on, both in my quilting and in other areas.  However, we are moving in just over a month, and I will have to return it.  I'm in a bit of a panic because I'm only a small way into my quilt, and I'm stitching up as many book spines and fun things as I can so I can intersperse them throughout  PoD blocks after we move.  I hope there will be enough, but many of my book spines will be made up of busy fabric and have no titles, so I think there will be.

All but two of the patterns come from Susan.  I won't share the individual posts where I found them because I'm picking and choosing from many different weeks, but you can find all of her Harry Potter blocks here.

Please forgive the poor photos; I did a quick snip of any long threads but didn't do a thorough job, and I haven't trimmed the stabilizer and ironed the spines so they appear wonky.  But here's the progress I made yesterday:

The butterbeer label was digitized by Kelly H. over at the Project of Doom Facebook page.  It was meant to stitch up in different colors and probably looks beautiful that way, but I wanted sort of an old-fashioned label that would look kind of like it was etched into the glass so I went with a single brown color.  This fabric is actually going to be the butterbeer in the mug, and I'm really looking forward to stitching up that block and seeing how it turns out.

This is such a fun book.  I cannot wait to piece it the way Susan has, and I also embroidered the "Cram it!" for the top.  Her attention to detail on making books that appeared in the movies is absolutely phenomenal.

"Moronic Muggles" cracks me up.  When I saw it over in the Facebook group, I knew I had to have it on my quilt.  This one was digitized by Sami H.  I went for a sort of "stately" fabric and colors, to contrast with the funny title.  I used dark browns and a gold-tone accent.  The first brown thread I chose was great, but ran out halfway through the "s."  Mmm hmmm.  That went over super well with me.  I ended up restitching over it in a new brown, so it is nice and thick.

This one is a simple book, but I loved the fabric and had set it aside to make sure it made it in my PoD.  I thought I would add a mushroom-themed fabric to the top, but couldn't find one that matched without competing.  I did find a beautiful grey mushroom fabric that will end up being a non-titled book right next to this one.

I love this book even more than I thought I would when I started to embroider it.  I don't feel like I have a good eye for knowing what color embroidery thread will show up best on each fabric, but this one turned out great.  I love that batik and have had it stashed away for a while.  However, I didn't realize how many prints I have that contain lines in them that would drive me nuts when they don't line up with my text evenly.  I'm just going to have to let it slide and hope I won't notice when the whole quilt is put together.

Another simple stitch, but I like it.  There's definitely a place for this on my bookshelf.

THIS BOOK.  It was the bane of my existence, but that's no fault of the file or the designer.  This was actually the first spine I embroidered yesterday, but I was having all kinds of machine issues.  After lots of rethreading the top and bottom threads, I spent some time researching it and learned how to open the top of the machine to check the mechanics.  There it was: a giant wad of thread from when my mother-in-law had used the machine.  Taking that out solved most my problems.  Then I had to learn how to set the tension on the machine for the new thread I bought 40 of, which apparently my machine hates.  Finally, I made three versions of this, and couldn't figure out why it was ending up so perforated around the edge of the embroidery.  Turns out I had accidentally put a larger needle in, which was puncturing the fabric.  It was an exercise in patience and a steep learning curve.  However, I am super happy with how it ultimately turned out.  Also, I love this fabric.  It reminds me of reptile skin, and seems perfect for this book.

The last one is a Snitch for a Quidditch book.  Not sure how I'll incorporate it yet, but I love it.

Related side note:  I found a fantastic free program that I can use to view, resize, and convert embroidery files.  It is called TrueSizer, and you can download it or use it on the web here.  There is a paid version for 50$, but the free version does everything I need it to do.  This will come in handy as I work on my PoD, because some of the Doomers who are creating the files share them in formats that won't work on my Brother machine.

I would love to see your book spines and PoD progress as well!  Feel free to leave your blog address in the comments.  :)