Happy New Year 2018!

Once again it is time for a new year and new beginnings!  Hopefully you and yours are staying warm and safe so far this winter.  It has been a bit on the cold side here and we are looking forward to getting out of the deep freeze – hopefully sooner rather than later!

In the meantime, it’s once again time to get back on track.  I don’t know about you, but it has been a couple of months before I had a chance to sit at my sewing machine.  That’s kind of sad isn’t it?  I really haven’t even been in my sewing room for a while.  I have contended myself with some yarn things and am taking advantage of a New Year of Beginnings to get my sewing room cleaned up once again.  What is it they say?  Fail, get up tomorrow and fail better?  Something like that.  Sums up things pretty nicely.

And I fell down a few rabbit holes…I’ll spare you the details of all of them and just share with you the main one.

It involves the whole family and believe it or not, board games.

As I may have mentioned, we have a couple of kids, boys in fact.  One of them is on the smart side.  Not like genius level or anything, but things come very easy for him.  So, we have been working with his teacher to keep him challenged and one of the ways we have been keeping him challenged at home is by playing board games.  I’m not talking about the usual Sorry! or Monopoly.  While we do have those, we turned toward strategy games like Carcassone, Splendor, and Catan.

Neither my husband or I had ever played any of these games and while a friend introduced us to Splendor.   I also have Wanda to talk to about games as she and her husband both play a variety of similar games.  Thanks Wanda!  I look forward to many more conversations with you (and not only about board games. lol!!)

We found a great resource on YouTube for learning gameplay, in particular we have been avidly watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop where we learned about even more games such as Lanterns, Tsuro of the Seas, and Qwirkle.  Tabletop isn’t the only table game channel out there, but we did learn about a lot more games and our selection of games grew with Sagrada and Labyrinth:Oceans.  Most of these games the whole family can play (and the youngest is turning 5) with the boys asking to play more games every night after dinner.

We played a lot during our Christmas break and in case you are curious about  the games, I included a link on each of the titles above to Amazon.   If you were interested in some new games for your family, we have had great fun with all of the ones above.  Let’s face it, sometimes the directions for games are not written in the most clear manner and that can make learning a new game challenging.  Enter YouTube!  Of course, be sure to check out your local game shop.  You might find some experts and recommendations there.  We do visit ours with a bit of frequency and sometimes find some new treasures.

What makes these games different from the usual board games?  Most of those games are based on the roll of dice which leaves a lot of things to chance.  Some of the games above incorporate dice into their play, but they rely more on strategy than chance.  I’m not an expert by any means, but the play experience is very different and seems more interactive.  Many of the games involve paying attention to what your opponent is doing because the play you make may help your opponent or perhaps hinder them.  There are even some games that encourage more of a cooperative play where you are all working toward the same goal.

These games have created a more family fun atmosphere at home and gives us fun things to do while we spend more time together.  Unfortunately our list of games to acquire and play keeps getting longer….  Kind of like my UFO list…..hmm…..



My feet are on fire!

Well, of course not literally…but I did manage to make 7k steps every day for the week so I’m feeling pretty good about that.  This week I will shoot for the same goal and maybe next week I can bump it up to 8k.  Baby steps…baby steps.

Which is how my quilting is coming along as well….baby steps.  My indigo is soaked and laundered and needs to be pressed.  Then I have to do math since this print is directional as well.  I did add the first border but I’ll save pictures until the second one is added.  I’ve also made some serious progress on my star block of the month.  The pie pieces are almost assembled and then I can get the block together.  One more good session in my sewing room and I should be able to knock that out and get things prepped for the second border.    It’s taken a while, but at last I have progress for this month and I should be able to get my UFO completed although I most likely will not be able to get much, if any, other sewing projects done. I wonder which UFO I will pull together next?  At this point, even I’m not sure.

At this point I feel as though I should make a confession.  Hello, my name if Opal and I am a quilter that has not been to Paducah for Quilt Week.  Whew, I feel much better now.  I’m sure some of you have been or maybe even go yearly.  I saw that for 2017 they are also having a Fall Quilt Week. Isn’t that exciting?  I hope it goes well so that they offer it again.  Well, really the most exciting part of all this is that the Monkeys are thinking that it is time for us to descend on Paducah!  So, if you have been and/or are regular goers to Quilt Week I would love to hear any tips you may have for when you go!  I definitely would like to visit Hancock’s of Paducah.  <sigh>  I think that will be some happy fabric dreaming for me.

In the meantime, I need to get some of those UFO’s taken care of so I can shop with abandon.  After all, if I can get completely caught up on my UFO’s, well, then I’ll just need to get some more projects, won’t I?  Plus I will have a whole year to save to that makes it budget friendly as well (because I have enough UFO’s to keep me busy so I don’t really need to go shopping, unless I need something for a UFO.).  I’m so excited!

Seriously though, if you have any tips with regards to Paducah please feel free to share them in the comments!

I suppose that is really all that I’ve been working on.  I started an afghan for my husband because I was on a crocheting roll and he had picked out some yarn eons ago and I thought while I was in the mood I should get to work on it.  Now, it feels like I may have a bit of tendonitis in my elbow…at least as best as I can figure without going to the Dr. (don’t yell at me Hazel). So, I’ve been icing it today and will do some real resting of it this week.  I thought it was because of the yoga I was trying.  No, I’m not trying to find excuses. Really.  Part of the yoga DVD I was doing had a bit of floor work including planking and downward dog.  The reason that I started doing yoga (and all this stepping) is so I can lose some weight.  Like say, more than 30 lbs.  I thought that maybe I was straining myself with the floor exercises because of my extra fluff.  So, I stopped.  I do miss it though and was hoping in a week or two with some rest it would be back to normal.  Not so much.

So, I racked my brain a bit and realized that I went through this when Small Blonde was of a certain age and weight….where he still liked to be carried but his weight was making it a bit prohibitive for me to be able to do it well.  Little Red is reaching the same point and I really only have one good arm.  The other one is all scarred up from my trip through a plate-glass window.  The arm is good, but he’s squirmy and then he rubs up against the scar and it just doesn’t feel good.  So, that leaves me one arm to constantly carry, wrestle, and subdue this small human that we call Tiny Grizzly.  In my mind that means it was inevitable that I would have another bout of this when this small boy reached similar weight.  For the record he is 35 lbs and has no regard for his personal safety when the thrashing tantrums take over.  Thankfully he can now climb in and out of his car seat so that makes things a little easier when he is amenable to such things.

At any rate, rather than jumping into going to the Dr.  where I’m sure that I would be prescribed some anti-inflammatory, I thought I would just try some home remedies first (don’t worry Hazel, if it does persist I’ll head to the Dr.  I promise.).

Well, that was certainly a whole lot about me!  I suppose I should close with some quilting!  Here is a long arm quilter that I admire.  You can find her blog here.  Her name is Judi Madsen and even her blog and online store have a great name – Green Fairy Quilts.   Anyway, she has some amazing pictures and I visit her blog when I am in need of inspiration.  Maybe you will find some there, too.  She does some amazing things and I wish I had half of her vision.

As for me, I think I’ll head to Hancock’s of Paducah’s website and do some happy dreaming.

We made it back!

I didn’t share a lot of build up to retreat this time – I think we have all comfortably settled into a routine and so we don’t necessarily email as much any more.  I know my part of it is that I’m not sitting in front of a computer frequently enough to be able to email like I normally would.  However, I like the idea of us settling in a little more together.

Normally the emails are flying fast and furious as we talk about the projects we are bringing, who is bringing which snacks (we can always count on Sandra Dee for Cheetos although Inez picked them up this time), and most importantly who is bringing which big item so not everyone needs to do so.  By big items I mean iron/ironing board, rulers, cutting mat, and bed risers.  If you have thought that your cutting table is too low, I would highly suggest you pick up a set of bed risers.  They work wonders.  If I am remembering correctly, they may even come in a high and low version.  Don’t quote me on that though.  At any rate, we like to make sure the essentials are covered and we really don’t need 15 irons and ironing boards.

This retreat we had most everyone, although we did miss Hattie (sniff, sniff).  I’m sure she will be ready to join us soon though.  Sometimes life just has a way of throwing us curve balls and we have to stop in the moment and deal with what is coming at us.  No worries though, Hattie is doing just fine!

I (once again) did not get many pictures taken so I will have to backtrack and take some to share what I was able to get accomplished.  Get this, I did finish last month’s UFO AND finished 2 more tops so I think I have March’s UFO taken care of now as well.  Of course if any of the other monkeys out there want to send me pictures to put up with mine, please feel free!

Even though camaraderie was running high, I found that there weren’t that many quips to quote.  (How is that for alliteration with a q!)  We did do some shopping, although not as much as in years past and of course we laughed, but I believe that we all kind of buckled down and got some work done this time.  Sandra Dee and Hazel headed out to a couple of thrift stores.  I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but Sandra Dee is the Goodwill Queen.  She must have a 6th sense for when it comes to finding things at Goodwill.  She always manages to come in with something that we all wish we could have found.  Anyway, the two of them headed off to a couple of stores and we waited to see if there were any treasures to be found (there weren’t this time).  Later we laughed as it seemed that everyone was working on UFO’s.  Part of the laughter was because we are starting to believe that the next generation has a Sandra Dee who will head off to Goodwill and find the remnants of quilts we had started and never finished (and our families didn’t know what to do with).  She will proudly bring them back to her quilting friends and beam with excitement over her new-found treasures exclaiming, “I’m not sure what they were doing here, but I just had to pick it up.  It was only $2.88!”  The rest of her quilting friends will offer to help her figure it out or have ideas on how she can finish with just the pieces she has and so we will have done our part to help encourage the next generation of quilters.  After all, haven’t we all gotten things that way?  A relative of a friend passes who was a crafter and we get that call about supplies needing a new home and we walk away with new-found treasures of our own.  Or Sandra Dee walks into Goodwill and finds partial projects….either way is good.

I will do my best to have some pictures next week.  I wish I had taken pictures this time as everyone was working so hard.  Inez completed a couple of miniature quilts and a quilt for her grandson and quilted a table runner.  Hazel got started on a constellation project, completed 2 baby quilt tops and got a good start on a red and black quilt (and maybe got that top finished, I’m not sure…).  Sandra Dee completed 3 quilt tops and started the blocks for a 4th.  Blanche completed 2 quilt tops (but I think I’m missing something, there may have been a 3rd in there that I’m forgetting about) and started some shirts. Wanda completed 2 tops for sure and Mabel had some paper pieced blocks, quilted 3 small wall hangings and did some binding.  I’m sure there is more that Mabel accomplished as well.  This is why I need to remember to take pictures.

Since Mabel, Wanda, Blanche, and myself have started the amazing paper pieced stained glass stars we all brought them to retreat and had a paper piecing day (or two) where we all got caught up on our blocks.  It was kinda fun for us to work on them all at the same time and see how differently they turned out.  Inez did pick up some fabric for hers while shopping so I anticipate that she’ll be getting started soon and we had 2 others outside of our porch that also brought theirs and so it was fun at show and tell for all of us to stand up with our blocks.

I would like to say that I’m totally relaxed and unpacked and ready for the next retreat, but the truth is I’m tired and my stuff is waiting to be put away.  I am ready for the next retreat though….I mean, how could we not be?

Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to have some pictures of the things I worked on at retreat for next week.  In the mean time, I will be heading off to unpack and perhaps sneak in a nap…..


I did not make my goal for February.  I was fairly close to goal, but I didn’t quite make it.  However, that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up.  I’m going to go ahead and finish what I had meant to finish for February and move right in to a UFO for March.

I promised pictures, so here is the UFO I was working on.  This is the finished product that I did not get to. I have made substantial progress and it may have been a bit ambitious to think that I could get a complete quilt top completed in a month.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but with the small people I am limited to sewing during nap time and sometimes nap time for the smallest is homework time for the biggest and well, you know how that all goes.


Here’s a look at everything all on my table.  See, I really was working and there really wasn’t anything started when I picked up this UFO….well, maybe a block or two.


These blocks are almost completed.  They need triangles sewn on the other two sides, but I have to look at the diagram again to make sure I put the right fabric on the correct side.


These blocks and 1/2 square triangles get sewn into 4 patch units once I get the 1/2 square triangles squared up and if I remember correctly I also need to square up those blocks.


This a a little bit better look at the center square.  That one is complete and is just waiting for the rest of the squares to be done so they can form up into a quilt top.


Oh, why yes, I DO keep a garbage can next to my sewing table.  Thank you for noticing! (or maybe that is just really nice of me to take a picture of it)  That way I can sweep trimmings and the like right off the table and into the trash. It works for me.

Lastly, I did take a little break to complete my paper pieced block of the month.  Want to see?  Silly question, of course you do!  Can’t wait to see this month!


In other news, we only have a short time before we are heading to retreat! Can’t wait!  You never know what stories we are going to bring back.  Although I am bringing my  Yoga DVD so there is some really good potential for laughter….and blindness for those that watch us….  Good times ahead!

UFO Central

That is exactly how I’m feeling – that I am UFO central.  This past week I spent a bit of time working in my sewing room.  Mainly because I want to find space for a designated cutting table.  I’m coming to terms that I may not be able to make my dream table work, but that is okay.  I’ve got another option.  It’s a kitchen cart that we no longer need in the kitchen.  It has 2 drawers with would be great for cutting utensils and two shelves underneath that I can use for storage of something.  Maybe my scrap bins would work well under there.  I think the wheels will be minimal trouble…

Anyway – I went through more of my UFO’s and I discovered that I could rearrange them a little and open up some space, or should I say that I was able to downsize the storage needed for my UFO’s a little.  I also found that I have some UFO’s that should be easily completed.  Three have all the blocks completed although only one of them has the setting triangles ready to go.  The other two need some sashing fabric and setting triangle fabric.  There is even one that only needs borders and they are at least cut and just need to be trimmed to size and added to the quilt.  That will probably be the easiest one to finish up.  Plus I had some fabrics put aside to use in a project where I just hadn’t picked the pattern and I got around to putting that to order as well.  I’m really feeling optimistic about being able to knock out quite a few of my UFO’s and starting to get them under control.

So far, I have been diligently working on the Joann’s block of the month.  This one was a little more interesting (even though it was precut pieces).  This time each month encourages you to try some different techniques.  There was some basic piecing and appliqué, but also partial seams and cutting with templates and on the last block Y-seams.  I’ve gotten all but the last block completed – and I’m delaying a little because of those Y-seams. I’ve tried them before and it didn’t go so well. These do have some explicit instructions so I’ll give them a go and see if it doesn’t work out for me.  At least it is the last block and then I will switch over to the stained glass paper pieced block.  I really want to get going on that one so I don’t get behind.  I hope to at least have some pictures of the completed blocks from my UFO and the start of my paper pieced block.  Wish me luck!

I hope you are doing well on your Revolutions. I’ve not had much luck on some of my other revolutions, but tomorrow is a new day and a chance to start again and I am looking forward to that.  All we can do is just keep trying – we only fail when we stop trying.

Oh!  If you are working along with me on getting your UFO’s completed, please feel free to post any pictures in the comments.  It’s like show and tell and I just love show and tell.  I’ll try to not have your completed UFO’s turn into new UFO’s for me…..

Enter Catchy Title Here

I don’t know what it is, but I always have a hard time coming up with a title.  Especially something catchy.  I’m sure I’ll get better at it as we go along…

This week I have to confess I’ve not been sewing at all.  Nope, not one little bit.  Instead I have turned to another craft and I have a fairly tight deadline.  Of course, we always have a deadline don’t we?  Well The Smallest of All of Us had a birthday in January and we now getting ready for his birthday party and I have to get the invitations made so I can get them in the mail.  He just turned 3 so I think I’m okay for this year but no way can we be this late in years to come.  I do kinda feel for him with a birthday so close to New Year’s and we certainly didn’t mean for it to get to be this late, but they were redoing the floors at our normal location and so we opted to just wait.  I know, I know. That’s why I’m making these invitations.

Are you curious about them?   Well, this small boy child was going to have a Thomas the Train party but then his father introduced him to Star Wars and I think I have watched nothing else for the past 3 months. Plus, on his birthday we did take him to the theater for the first time to watch the new Star Wars movie and he was completely enchanted with being at the theater and was really well-behaved.  Want to see?  Here he is with his lemonade and M&Ms.


So, the theme of the party has now changed from Thomas the Train to Star Wars.  To that end, I have dusted off my Cricut and started trying to figure out how to make Star Wars invitations.  Thank goodness we have Pinterest right?  Of course I found lots of great ideas.  So here is the mock-up with my mock-up letters although it is my final Yoda without facial features.


I’m having a really hard time with trying to figure out how to do his face.  I’ll have to make a final decision soon as they need to get in the mail, but I also need to figure out how to make light sabers and the Smallest has also been asking for Skywalker.

At this point I have an army of Yodas (this is them without their final robe):IMG_1236

I also have an army of Darth Vaders.  I’m pretty tickled with how they turned out.  IMG_1241

I have figured out how to do Chewbacca and have the beginnings of Princess Leia, but that still leaves me Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.  They won’t all fit on the invitation, but I thought I could do some larger ones to put out at the party.  So far Smallest giggles when he sees them.

I don’t use my Cricut very often and there are still a lot of things that I’m sure I could be doing better.  Although that did not stop me from eyeballing the newer models when I was in Joann’s picking up more black card stock.  I’m not sure why…I don’t use the one I have enough to justify a new one….although being able to draw with them looks pretty cool.  Maybe that means I need to use my free time doing some more work with the one I have.  If I could only remember what free time actually is…..


Finding the Groove

I have to admit that I do like this once a week gig.  It feels a lot less stressful than trying to get here every day.

The Monkeys should be gearing up soon as retreat is coming up in March.  I know that seems like a long ways away, but we both know it will be here any minute.  We just want to be prepared.

When I last left you, I was basking in the glow of an accomplished goal.  I seriously debated picking up another UFO and continuing this wonderful feel-good-feeling.  However, I then remembered that I have a Project In Progress (PIP).  The world is much more fun with acronyms isn’t it?

Anyway, I had the next UFO in my hands looking it over when I happened to glance up and see that project I am supposed to really be working on.  I didn’t want to put that UFO down, but I did.  Then I got myself organized for the PIP, which is one of the wedding quilts that I haven’t finished (and I recently learned that I will have another that needs doing as well!).  For the past week I have been diligently working on the paper piecing for this project. Yep, it’s paper piecing again.  This one is much simpler that that lovely star we’ve been doing.  There are 3 separate paper pieced units.  I completed all of the first part.  Currently I am working on the second part of which there are 97 units.  The third is only 54 units so I’m sure you can imagine that I am looking forward to getting through what feels like a daunting task of 97 units.  Currently I have 44 completed and another 20 in progress.  I’m sure it won’t take too much longer to finish them, but it certainly feels like it.  Ahh well, I did choose the pattern for a reason and I am looking forward to starting to assemble the units and see this quilt come together.  I would post pictures, but as it is a gift I will have to refrain until it gets sent off to its new owners.  You know, have to keep the element of surprise.

If nothing else, I do feel somewhat productive although my crafting space has become a bit on the disorganized side (and that’s putting it mildly).  I have gone through the house and managed to drag all my miscellaneous projects that I have managed to drop here and there throughout the house back up to my craft room.  However, that means it’s time to go through and get more stuff put away.  Plus there is that table that I’ve been thinking about and if I have any hope of putting it in my room I need to get some things organized.  Sounds like January is turning out to be a productive month!  I hope yours is too!