She has arrived!

Well, more accurately I have finally finished playing with her and took some pictures.  I am happy to announce that Rhia Sujata has arrived!  She weights in at 11.4 pounds and feels very dainty beside my Viking.  For those of you curious about how I arrived at her name, I looked up some Indian/Hindu names online as the scroll work on her sent me in that direction.  I found Rhia (meaning Singer) and Sujata (meaning of good caste) and my play on words was complete.  I believe I will call her Rhia for short. Here are some photos of the little darling.

  Isn’t she cute??        The scrollwork here had me thinking of Indian/Hindu names.

Today I did spend a little time in my crafting room.  Mainly I stood in the middle and looked around and decided that I need a little more time to let it gel before I start moving things around again.  So, I took a few minutes to make a card for my friend Lisa who is having a birthday today.  Here is her card.    I’m not terribly good at this but Lisa likes to make cards and she ends up giving all of them away.  I don’t know that she gets a lot of handmade cards back.  I think she gets a few so since today is her birthday I thought that I would make a card for her. I know you can’t really tell that it’s a birthday card and why the heck did I stick those three jewel things in the middle like that?  I don’t know, I was just trying to be creative.  This is not my forte.  I’ve completed one scrapbook from a Disney trip and I have the albums and materials from some other Disney trips but I haven’t gotten any of those albums put together.  Maybe when I finally get my crafting room squared away I can work on that too.  I think my UFO list just grew a little….

Have you ever?….

Have you ever wandered aimlessly around your crafting area trying to figure out what to do next?  I find myself doing that more frequently these days.  This time I can blame it on the fact that my crafting room is still torn apart and it’s hard to find workspace when you are still trying to figure out where things are going to live.  I would love to just throw everything into tubs and let it wait, but that really defeats the purpose of cleaning and getting everything settled (and possibly getting rid of things that aren’t necessary).  Right now I’m left with lots of odds and ends (and some of them are sizeable like my tub of fleece).  If my Ikea closet was here I would be able to get my fabric put away and possibly everything else.  Well, that’s what I’m pinning my hopes on.  I think the reality is going to be quite different.  That means I’ll have to be creative in finding homes for things and a little ruthless when it comes to deciding what is really going to stay.  I think all the things that I really *have* to keep have already found their homes.  Whew.

I also have a feeling that if I were to finish some of my projects I could repurpose some storage pieces.  Along the way I have come to the conclusion that it is better for each UFO to have its own space and not in a bag stashed in a big Rubbermaid tub.  I’m a mood sewer and that means that I have to sift through the tub to find what I’m really looking for.  So, I have some drawers and plastic shoe boxes and rolling carts where I have given most of my individual projects their own home.  This also goes for those “someday” projects like the raspberry cream (pink and brown) fabrics that are waiting for a pattern to make their lives complete and the Bears (blue and orange) batiks that are also waiting for a pattern and have been auditioning some greens to see if we need to put the field in there.  They aren’t sure how they feel about those greens yet and they have also been patiently waiting for a pattern.  Then there is the drawer full of some gorgeous teal and brown and cream fabrics that are also shopping for a nice pattern (they haven’t been here long enough to develop a name).

I would like to say that my tub-o-projects is empty and everything has been parceled out  to its own space.  If I did I would be lying.  There are still a few that are in a holding pattern waiting for a spot to open up.  Well, look at that.  My UFO’s have a waiting list.  That’s something you don’t hear about every day.  I would say there are probably ten or less that are waiting for breathing room.

For now I’m wandering around my crafting room (because quilting has to share the space with crochet and writing and photography and scrapbooking) trying to process what project I need to finish first: putting away all the odds and ends that are patiently waiting for their own space or digging out one of the fun fabric combinations that tickles my fancy and lets me get in some quality sewing time.  I think the odds and ends are winning.  At least for now.  Although if I worked on some of the UFO’s space might open up…what a pickle.

Do you find that you like to have your space cleared and ready when you sit down to work on a project? Do you prefer to just give everything a good cleaning after you finish a project?  Perhaps you are a crafter who works in the moment and just moves what you need to in order to work?  I have met some quilters who only buy enough fabric for the project they are currently working on and only work on one project at a time.  I’m not sure how to process that since I don’t work that but I do find it fascinating.  The Monkeys all work differently and Blanche has a great sewing space that is nicely organized.  Sandra Dee is working on getting her sewing room organized based on her crafting needs and Inez, Hazel, and I are doing the same.  I suppose you could say that we’ve been doing that for a while (or at least I have).  I figure one of these days it will all come together and I’ll have a crafting space where I can easily put things away and organize my projects and find what I’m looking for.  For now I’ll just have to dream about it and fantasize about my dreamy Ikea closet and surf the net for more sewing room organizational ideas.

It’s time to start planning!

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but in 24 days we will be retreating!  Can you believe it?  Only 24 more days before the new monkey shenanigans begin!  Now it is time to start the planning.  After all, good pranks don’t come to those who wait…  Plus we will need to start deciding who is bringing what.  After all we don’t need to have 5 irons or cutting mats there.  So excited!

In the meantime I’m going to have to start figuring out what I would like to take with me. Right now I am totally in love with these Garden Patch Cats by Helene Knott.  If you think those are fun, you should see her Bloomin’ Dogs.  They are also super cute.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to start them yet, but I certainly have my eye on them!  I’ve also started on Pearl Pereira’s Baltimore Album.  If you like those you should see her American Album Blocks. They are absolutely gorgeous.  I don’t know if I am quite up to that yet, but I certainly have them on my wish list!

There are still a few projects that make at least a yearly trip to retreat.  Not much gets done on them or they wouldn’t have to keep making the return trip….maybe one of these times I’ll actually finish them.  I’ve got some penguin blocks that Ruby and I have been working on for a few years.  However, I have to report that Ruby has managed to finish her blocks and get them assembled while I have the applique fused but not stitched yet.  We had entertained hanging them at a guild quilt show together.  However, I still have a lot of work to do.  Not to mention on all the other UFO’s I have sitting there waiting for their turn to be finished.  Decisions, decisions.

So, what are you working on?  Do you have a new favorite project?

Oh, and I still haven’t found the cord for my external storage.  Do you have it?

 

Honoring one of our fallen.

As quilters we have formed some close relationships.  After all we trade fabric and share ideas and work on charity projects together aside from attending meetings and retreats.  We tend to see each other quite frequently.  Today, I am here to speak on behalf of Juna.  It is a bit ironic that at our last quilty luncheon we talked about  Juna and how she has been sick for a while and that things weren’t looking very good.  We talked about who was going to visit her (Ruby) and about sending cards and whether or not we should send meals.  If you weren’t previously aware, quilting and eating tend to go hand in hand and some of us are quite good in the kitchen.  It was later that afternoon that Sandra Dee called to let me know that Juna had passed.  Ironic that we were just talking about how best to lift her spirits.  Juna always did her best to lift the spirits of everyone around her.

I met Juna through guild.  It could have been a retreat where I learned the most about her and I think I speak for the rest of the monkey tribe in this.  Juna had a very kind heart and family was very important to her and at retreat we became a part of that family.  She managed to talk with everyone at retreat and her husband always made us chocolate mint brownies.  They were very tasty.  Juna had a kind word for all of us and usually at least one story to tell.  There was always a smile on her face when she greeted you as she often worked the entrance table at guild meetings and you could always hear her laughing.

We decided it would best if we went to her visitation together so we could support each other.  Hazel drove Inez, Ruby, E and myself to pay our last respects.  I have to admit that it was a nice visitation.  Her quilts were prominently displayed along with a photo album she had compiled with pictures of her with the quilts she had made over the  years.  There was also a nice photo slide show and you could see her smiling in every picture.  Her favorite color was purple and we all made sure to wear some to honor her.  We were all pleased to see so many flower arrangements especially with purple flowers.  She would have really enjoyed that.

Best of all was seeing her family.  They understood how important quilting was to Juna and were so appreciative  that so many quilters came to see her.  As I may have already mentioned, Juna talked to everyone and always with a kind word.  We did joke about whether we should have brought a 5″ square of fabric to lay on her casket.  She may need them.  I’m not ashamed to say that we did laugh a little while we were there.  She would have appreciated that too.

Godspeed Juna.

Juna is the one on the left.  I don’t quite know why they had “feed bags” taped to their shirts….

The retreat where we did the aluminum foil hat dance.

Well, we still can’t seem to find the cord for my external hard drive.  Whine.  Whine. Whine.  So, I guess I shall have to share with you the retreat where we did our aluminum foil hat dance.  The second (or maybe the third time?) we went to visit Blanche we made aluminum hats.  I know you are wondering why, but Vera, Ruby, Hattie and myself were in the car and (of course) after the lengthy email exchanges regarding at which quilt shop we wanted to meet up we somehow came to the conclusion that we needed the foil hats to protect our brainwaves from reaching Blanche so she wouldn’t know, well, I’m not sure what exactly but it is along the same lines as those that wear the foil hats to protect themselves from aliens.  Of course Blanche was blissfully unaware of this development.  I think I should stop there because otherwise this turns into all about our trip to visit Blanche instead of the retreat involving foil hats.  Of course we find wearing aluminum foil hats hilarious.  The trouble is just coming up with a design for the hats.

We laughed for quite a while about the foil hats and decided that we needed to incorporate this fun aspect into retreat.  I’ll cut to the chase and share the results.

  

Our cast in order of appearance is: myself, Ruby, Blanche, Hazel, Hattie and a photo of us in the chow line.

As you can see we are quite creative.  In case you were wondering the hats are a chef’s hat, a cowboy hat, an easter bonnet, a witch’s hat and a viking helmet.  I’m not sure where Inez and Sandra Dee are.  They may have been hiding since the camera was out or perhaps opted to pass on the aluminum foil hat.

There was no real reason as to why we had to make the hats, it was just something fun to do.  Most of the things at retreat have no rhyme or reason.  It’s just for the fun of it.  Maybe the next time you find a need to make aluminum foil hats you will find some inspiration from ours.

Vera, I just wanted to point out that at no point did I refer to the foil as “tin”.  I was thinking of you the whole time.

Oh, I almost forgot.  There really was no dancing, it was more like a parade but aluminum foil hat dance sound much more fun than the aluminum foil hat parade.

The last prank so far.

Sandra Dee is a terribly good sport so of course our pranks escalate appropriately.  Of course we still play by the rule of no property damage.  I enlisted the help of my dear husband because this time we decided to Saran wrap her car.  I needed his assistance in procuring what we needed to wrap her car.  Of course he was more than willing to help.  With supplies safely stashed in my car, Ruby by my side and Inez prepared to run interference we made our preparations.

One other thing to know about Sandra Dee is that she typically receives a lot of phone calls while she is at retreat.  Usually they are from her children, but not always.  This retreat was no different as she got lots of calls and would wander outside to talk.  This did not fit in well for our plans because we wanted to be outside wrapping her car.

Sometimes at retreats we find cats and being quilters we’re kind of soft-hearted too so we feed them and if there are kittens we play with them and leave out a shoebox with fabric and batting scraps so they can make a warm bed to sleep in.  Sometimes the nights get a bit cold, especially since we are there in March in October.

At this retreat there were kittens which helped Inez disguise what we were doing outside (don’t worry about them, they are out checking on/playing with/feeding the kittens).  We just couldn’t leave those kittens alone.  Since it was October, the nights were pretty chilly and we opted to work in shifts outside.  We would go out for a bit, not at the same time, one heading to the “bathroom” and then the other would join us which meant that we couldn’t bundle up in our coats and gloves.  After about our third session of being outside, Inez lost track of Sandra Dee.  We kept an eye on the door (since her car was parked close to it) and saw her heading for the door with her phone (of course it would be with her phone).  When we saw her coming, Ruby and I ducked behind her mini-van.  We were hoping that since it was dark she would just talk on the phone, not notice anything, and go back inside.  We were not so lucky.

I should mention here that Ruby has not had much experience with t.p.ing someone’s house.  I really don’t either, but usually if you are about to be busted you flee the scene.  Sandra Dee came out the door and the first thing she saw was her mini-van.  I believe her words were, “Oh. My. God.  I’m going to have to call you back they have Saran wrapped my car”.  At that point, I took off running.  I thought Ruby was with me, but she wasn’t.  She scooted over behind the next car and stayed there.  Then she turned around and saw me half way to the railroad tracks.  I’m sure she was wondering where I was going, after all we are in the middle of nowhere and none of us are teenagers in danger of a phone call to our parents.  Sandra Dee was in tears of laughter and she and Ruby weren’t sure which was funnier, the prank or my running.  I did learn one thing, if I’m working on a super secret mission where I being caught is not an option I should not take Ruby with me.

Once Sandra Dee knew what was going on, the rest of the retreaters got out their cameras and took pictures of her mini-van that night and again in the morning.  I think they started bringing their cameras because they weren’t sure what was going to happen next and they didn’t want to miss anything.

I think I have some pictures of that, but unfortunately I’m missing the power cord for my external hard drive where they are hiding.  This is a real shame because there are pictures on there from other retreats and from the first time we went to see Blanche and believe me, that is a fun story.  Well, it was much funnier after than it was during.  So, when I locate that power cord and can find pictures of her mini-van I will update this post to share with all of you.