Paducah – a little on the late side.

I will confess that this summer has completely gotten away from me (yes, already because I’m including spring).  No excuses, just some things that kicked up a notch.  One of the other Monkey’s and I have a long-arm/quilting business and we are making a move to create a website and to start publishing our own patterns.  To that end, we have to actually make (and quilt) those patterns.  This takes quite a bit of time and while I’m not complaining about that, I am amazed that this wonderful thing happened where my creativity cranked up a notch.   Well, not really a notch, more like a bazillion notches.  However, this isn’t a blog for that business – I just felt that I owed you an explanation for my absence.  By saying that, I would also be remiss if I didn’t also mention that another Monkey also recently started up her own long-arm business.  We are a varied group aren’t we?  We like to grow and learn and we are a bunch of goers and doers.

We made plans a while ago to go to Paducah.  We made it there and it was incredible.  There were lots of lovely shops, and the show, and the museum, and and and….and there was too much to put it all into one post.  I won’t bore you with a series of posts on Paducah either.  I will just hit the high points.

Traveling with friends.  This can either go really really well or really really poorly.  We figured that as we had all managed to do our extended retreat times together that this should not be an issue and it wasn’t.  We talked a lot in advance about meals and plans and since we are all reasonable adults, we kinda all went our own way during the days to see the things that were important to us and sometimes others of us would tag along.  I would highly recommend that if you are planning a trip with friends like that in the future, that you don’t feel like you have to spend every waking moment doing the exact same things.  Sure, you are all going to the same place and have similar interests, but you are all individuals with different needs and sometimes a quiet walk or a little more time at an exhibit can give you a little quiet time.

The Show.  The show was wonderful.  So much to see that when/if we go next time I would prefer to take more than one day there.  We did make sure to hit the vendors (and rumor had it that some vendors were selling out of things on the first day!) and I’m glad we did that, but I felt like I had to rush through the quilts being shown (that is on me not on any of my traveling companions).  Plus it was very overwhelming to see all the things and people that my head was on a swivel and it was hard to focus.  Now that I know more of what to expect it will be not as big an assault on my senses.

Shopping.  Holy cow there were a ton of places to shop.  I have some mental notes of places I really enjoyed and places I didn’t get to go, but that just gives me a better sense of what to do next time.

The little things.  Oh, the ever so important little things.  Like sampling moonshine at 10:30 in the am with your Tribe.  Yeah, we did that.  Yeah, it was worth it.  No, we didn’t get drunk.  We met and talked with some wonderful vendors and quilters and townspeople who helped us to get around.  We visited with people in shops and on trolleys and helped complete strangers pick out fabric.  We had our pictures taken because of our matching shirts (We are the ones your guild warned you about!) and posted online.  We sat in the evenings and shared purchases and techniques and wine.  We enjoyed the breeze from the lake and each other’s company.  We brought home souvenirs and fudge and memories.  I would trade it for nothing in this world.

Advice.  Sometimes you have to go and do something to really understand what others are talking about.  If you go for the first time, keep your expectations low and your mind open.  Also, make plans to go a second time to put all of your new-found knowledge to good use.

 

 

 

Yea for UFO’s!

I really am feeling like I am getting out of this funk (finally) and I was able to get some more UFO’s completed.

Remember the Flower Of the Month series?  I was able to get TWO of them done!  And these kits were also cut generously enough that I could get the small quilt and a block out of them.  This one is August and the flower was gladioli.  I will say that I am not a fan of this one.  Some of the fabric is pretty but it is incredibly busy and hard on my eyes.  The trickiest part was the border and trying to decide if the rows of flowers should be treated as a directional fabric.  The pattern showed that all 4 should look like the two sides. I opted not to do that and I’m not totally convinced I made the correct choice, but it is complete and so it shall stand.

This one is from February and utilizes violets.  While violets are not my favorite, my mother-in-law loves them so this may find itself quilted and gifted to her for Christmas.  I think it’s the tea-cup fabric that distracts me…I’m not sure….also, there was not enough of the original background so I had to go through my stash to complete the second square.

I don’t remember if I mentioned, but at the time that these all came out there was also a companion panel.  Somehow in my overactive crafting imagination I thought that it would be a great idea to get the panel and use the second block to border around the panel for a quilt.  I am now starting to realize that these blocks are all going to be different sizes so it will be a bit of a puzzle putting them together around said panel.  I’m still game though.  At least for right now.  Of course with the latest coloring craze, I just might have to get out some fabric markers and color them but I will put that on the back burner until I can see how the blocks and the panel are going to work together.

I hope you are still making some projects on your UFO’s.  I’ve fallen off the wagon for a bit.  I don’t have air conditioning in my sewing room and that kinda discourages me from sewing during the hotter months of the year.  I’m working on it, but for now it causes me delays in sewing.  That and I got sloppy so I need to go put some things away to get back to my nice clean work surface.

I know, I’ve been awful.

Have you ever just hit one of those funks?  I hit one around Christmas and didn’t even bother to open my Christmas cards let alone send any out. It was pretty sad and I needed to find something to focus on so I wasn’t just doing the status quo.  That’s when I made a move to start sewing more regularly.  Then it became all about the UFO challenge.  Now I have almost all my laundry caught up (because when is it ever really caught up?  I mean they just run around making more dirty laundry…) and I can feel more of a balance in myself.  I’m glad to see that there is more sunshine and warmth and I think I really needed that.  I hope that the promise of spring is breathing new life for you as well.

Now, about that UFO challenge I was talking about….I have more show and share!  This month was a little more challenging because I had to go off list for one of my projects.

This is one of my many Block Of The Month projects.  Remember when they were so popular every shop had one?  Or maybe even more than one?  This was based on black and white blocks that came with block border instructions.  (I may have talked about this one before)  The blocks were finished and I had a couple that needed to be fixed.  Then I needed to decide on those block borders.  There were some really good ideas and some that were really detailed.  I thought it might be quicker to go with something simpler. These were done with a partial seam technique which means I could cut all my strips the same size and at the same time. I have found that I really don’t mind partial seams.  Y-seams on the other hand….well, I have not developed a taste for those yet.    Anyway, the blocks are completed and I have to wrap my head around how I want to set them.  I have at least one idea kicking around so we will see if I can get back to these or if I will need to let it gel for a little longer.  I’m sure you have projects like that as well.

This one is another Block Of The Month (I told you I had a lot of those!).  I remember when we started this one that there were some coordinating fabrics and I didn’t like them so I didn’t buy any of them.  Of course, this means that I’m on my own for finding fabric to finish off the quilt and after raiding my stash I think I found the perfect stuff.  Don’t you love those fireworks?  I couldn’t tell you how long ago I found it, so I had to have my husband do some serious math to make sure that what I have will work for what I have in mind.  I will have to be very careful in my cutting, but the numbers indicate that things should work out…but it will be very close.  Oh, and the hubster is a math guy so while quilt geometry is not his favorite thing, he is able to help me with the more difficult math.

Here are all the blocks finally finished.  I had to laugh because after talking with Inez about ideas for setting, she went home and while cleaning in her sewing room discovered that she had done the same BOM only she had purchased the coordinating fabric.  I had to laugh because we have both had these sitting around waiting to be finished for quite some time.

This is the one that threw off my list.  I had this as a completed top (go figure – another BOM) and had tried to give it away at least twice.  As it turns out a teacher’s aide at my son’s school started going through some health stuff and as the school colors are blue and gold I volunteered to donate this top for her.  I had been kicking the idea around trying to figure if I had enough time to see it all the way through but when talking to the teacher, I just opened my mouth and volunteered it.  I knew it was the right thing to do, but I hadn’t made a final decision until we were chatting.  There happens to be a lot of open space on it and so I took it in to the teacher and asked for the children to draw pictures for her on the open yellow spaces.  They had a great time and did a great job and hopefully felt that they were doing something positive for their friend.  Of course that meant that I had to hurry up and quilt/bind it so it could be gifted out.  It has been delivered to her and hopefully it is bringing her comfort and joy.

Lastly, I have yet another BOM.  I use that term loosely with this project but it does fit the definition.  Once a month Northcott fabric company had published a small quilt/block pattern in a Flower of the Month series.  I have (of course) purchased all twelve of them but have completed (fully completed) none of them.  I can’t even remember which year this was, but I want to say 2007.  I have January to the point where it needs to be bound and that’s as far as I have gotten.  This one is April and the kits are cut generously enough that I can get the small quilt and a block out of each one.  At least I can for the two that I have gotten to this point.  Northcott also put out a coordinating panel for their Flower of the Month and I picked that up thinking that I could work something with extra flower fabric from the kits but now I am thinking I could surely do something with the panel and the extra block.  I think that will be a UFO for next year though….

And that was my February.  It was a short month, but I did get quite a few things accomplished.  I’ve managed a couple of things for March, but had to go off list again for a school charity and now have a boring thing to do on one of my oldest UFO’s.  I’m hoping that I can get it completed because I would really like to get this UFO off my list.  I did manage to get two more of those Flower of the Month in there as well.  Now we will see how much more I can get accomplished.

Thanks again Vera!  I really am enjoying getting back in touch with some older projects and moving some of them into my pile of Needs-to-be-Quilted.  I suppose I should be watching for some major sales on batting. I’m even more glad to be out of my funk and getting back to normal things (like writing!).  Here’s to hoping that March is productive in every sense.

Oh man!

Oh man!  I am so riding an emotional high!  I really need to thank Vera (Thank you Vera!!). Vera turned me on to that UFO challenge that I mentioned before and I have been so excited to finish things!  It’s so wonderful. So much so that I’ve totally neglected writing because I keep thinking about the projects I’m working on and also trying to clear up my yarn UFO’s in the evenings. It has felt so empowering to get started on this endeavor.

I should probably mention (if I haven’t already) that I managed to fill out 8 of the UFO challenge sheets.  I’ll let that sink in….EIGHT of them.  I’ll tell you that it really seemed daunting that I had so many things to accomplish and such limited time to do my sewing.  But, I decided to start eating the elephant…one bite at a time.  It’s almost become a little addictive being able to mark things off my list (and it’s only February!!).

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

img_2113

This was a mystery quilt that I started at a retreat some time ago.  I had blocks to finish and the assemble the top and add the borders.  I was originally going to make this a two color quilt with that funky swirly print and the orange.  However, Hattie stepped in and said you need this turkey red.  (remember that Hattie?  I still have some of the red left and can give it back to you if you want it!)  The funky swirly print my husband had picked out and I was working very hard to make sure I still had enough to use it in the borders.  It was a tight fit, but she is now ready to be quilted and I love her!

img_2111

I know this isn’t a very good picture, but that’s okay.  These hilarious little penguins are an Amy Bradley pattern and I have had the blocks complete for ages!  I just could never decide what to do in setting the blocks.  So, I finally made a decision and got the blocks squared and assembled.  I haven’t gotten the borders on yet, but I still have it sitting there waiting for me to get that part done.  Mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind but I do have a plan now and hopefully will find some time to get them on soon.  Honestly, I’m excited to even have it this far!

Even after those two above, January still wasn’t over and I had time to look at another from my list.  This was a kit I purchased quite a number of years ago and after getting it home, I wasn’t sure I was at the needed skill level to complete this pattern and so it sat.  As you can see, it is a lovely broken star pattern and that there are some gorgeous batiks to make this quilt.  I was able to get all the strips cut and put together the strip sets for the large middle star.  However, then the month was over and it was time to move on to the next number.

I still have so much that I want to accomplish yet this month, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish everything that I want to, especially since Inez has been helping me with a block of the month and the sashing/setting ended up a little more complicated.

Are you curious about what I’ve gotten done so far this month?  I’ll be happy to share, but first I want to get just a little more done…

 

 

Oh yeah, we are going to get it done this year!

Yes, yes we are and we are going to keep moving forward.

Vera found a UFO challenge and so kindly clued me in. Thanks Vera!!  I am almost all the way finished with my first UFO!  What is it?  Well, it’s the first wedding quilt.  It needed trimming and the binding put on and currently I just need to hand sew the binding and she will be ready to head to her new home. Whew!  I will be so glad to get that headed off.  In fact, that is exactly what I am going to work on tomorrow night.  I’m feeling good about getting things done.  I should mention that the challenge is by All People Quilt and there is a Facebook group where you can join the fun.

I have also been putting on my walking shoes and logging in some steps again.  I’m really happy to notice that while I’m not hitting 10K consistently yet, I have made it a point to walk for 40 minutes and that gets me most of the way there.  The best part is that it’s not a hard habit to fall back into.  When I got off track with getting my steps in I thought I would have a hard time getting back into it but it’s been really easy so instead of starting at trying to manage 5K steps a day, I’m making sure I get 8K steps a day and will bump myself back up to 10K in just a couple of weeks.  So awesome!

I have been spending quite a bit more time with yarn doing some crocheting.  Apparently I have been living under some sort of rock because there are some simply amazing things going on in crochet that I didn’t even realize was possible.  If you are curious, the thing that has me most amazed is called “Mandela Madness”.  If you are a hooker (don’t think dirty thoughts…it simply means you crochet) you should totally google it.  The designer is amazing and has other wonderful things on her site.  (Hattie, I’m totally looking at you!).

Along the lines of yarn, I received an awesome Christmas gift from my husband who already thinks I have too much yarn and got it for me anyway.  What you ask?  A drop spindle (Hattie I’m looking at you again) so I can spin my own yarn.  I know, crazy right?  I’ve played with it a little bit but I think I’m going to need to pay Hattie a visit so I can get a few things figured out.  I did a little bit after watching some you tube videos, but I need to spend a little more time practicing.  There’s always time for learning something new!

 

 

Well, not exactly…

That sounds kind of ominous doesn’t it?  It’s not really.  This week I was hoping to get off to a really good start and I almost made it.  I had big plans for New Year’s Day to get some work done in my craft room and I did spend some time in there, it just wasn’t exactly crafting.  I was able to move some things around and discovered that I have another set of drawers that are almost empty and with a little more work could come out of my room.  After all, that is the goal or at least part of it.  The more UFO’s I complete not only will I feel free, I will also free up some space in my craft area.  A good portion of my storage is housing my individual UFO’s.  I probably should count them so you can see how deep in I am.  It’s pretty bad… There always something new that catches my attention and I need to just get in there and get things finished.

We always say, “I’ll get to it when the kids are older/when I retire/when I find the magic formula”.  Mine has been when the kids get older.  The smallest in now in preschool and I’m trying to take advantage of the time that he is actually in school to be in my room.  I have to say that I really am enjoying that and I want to take advantage of that as much as possible.

Anyway, I have two sets of these rainbow drawers.  You may have seen them.  They look like this:

rainbow-craft-drawer

I have 2, one I had gotten from Joann’s on a Black Friday sale.  The problem was that I had though the drawers were big enough for 12×12 paper for my small scrapbooking habit only they were not big enough for that.  So, of course, I then had to get another one where the drawers were 12×12.

Remember when I got my awesome Ikea closet system?  All my papers and scrapbook stuff moved onto a shelf and I was able to move one of those drawers out of my room.  Now I’m about to move things around (probably for the millionth time) and I’ll be able to move the second one out of my room!

Now for the bad part – I will have 2 rainbow drawer sets and I don’t know what to do with them.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to repurpose them but I haven’t been able to come up with anything.  The drawers are cool although not very deep, but either the frame isn’t that sturdy or I did something wrong when putting it together.  I’m not sure which.  I’m hoping that I can get them a little sturdier and either sell them or find another way to use them.  Any suggestions?

Tomorrow opens up a great opportunity for me to get back in there and either get some things put away or perhaps to get some binding made for the teal and brown quilt that just needs binding before it can be sent off to its new home.  At least that would be one UFO that would be complete!

 

Happy New Year!

I think that we are all thankful to be out from under the Curse of 2016.  Well, at least as we would believe that 2016 was cursed with all of the celebrity deaths right up until the last day of the year.  You did know that William Christopher, who played Fr. Mulcahy on MASH, passed on the last day of the year, right?

It is time once again for new beginnings.  Once again I find that my goals are the same from last year.  I would like to say that this year feels different and that I will succeed on some level with some of them.  I hope to continue to say that next week and next month as well.  That this year feels different.  That success is blowing in the wind.  I hope it is blowing in the wind for you as well.

I have probably mentioned before that New Year’s Day is a big deal in our home.  However, I think it has become a bigger deal to me than to my husband who started this whole thing. Each New Year’s is a carefully planned series of activities so that we fit in everything.  Why you ask?  Because his grandmother had a superstition that whatever you do on the first day of the year is what you will be doing all year and of course there are lots of things that we want to do.  We made soup, cleaned a little, went for a walk, cleaned a little more, did a little laundry, played some games, and of course I had to make my way back here.  I still have plans to spend some time in my craft room and work on a UFO.

My main goal in crafting this year is to complete some UFO’s. I came late to it last year and I’m hoping that by starting out this way, I can perhaps make some more serious headway.  By clearing out some UFO’s I could get rid of some storage in my craft room making it less cluttered and give me more room to breathe.  Of course that also means that there is more room to work on all those projects that have been calling me that I have only dreamed of starting…  First things first though, clear out the old to make way for the new.

I hope your New Year’s is a safe and happy one and that you make a good start on all the goals you have envisioned!