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!

Slipping a little bit.

I’m not sure I’m going to make it this month.  There is still some potential, but I have a feeling that next month I am going to have to make up for this month as well as do what I need to for June.

No excuses.  Just not much time for sewing the last couple of weeks.  That’s okay – sometimes that will happen.  So, I’ll give it a shot tomorrow am and see if I can maybe get those flowers going.  They will be the easiest to complete.  I think it’s a certainty that I won’t get the lovely stained glass star done for the month.  I’ll be okay though.  It won’t take much to get back on track.  After all, this happens sometimes.  We have other things that become priorities.  School ending and potty training seem to be the order of these days.

I did think that I would share one of my favorite tools – Iris Pins.  Well, I shouldn’t say that they are my favorite tool.  I actually hate to pin.  However, if I have to pin (and there have been a few times where I have not been able to avoid it), these are the pins that I prefer to use.

Here is the tin they come in and it’s kinda cool.  You push in the top and it pops loose.  Push it again from the inside of the lid and it will then snap closed over the top of the tin.

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Aside from the packaging being pretty cool (because let’s face it, the cooler the packaging the more likely we are to purchase it), the are very slim pins.  Here you can see them one next to a flower head pin.

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Yes, it’s a little shorter, but you can see how much thinner it is than a standard flower headed pin.  I’ve had these for quite a while and my tin is starting to feel a little lighter which makes me think that I need to pick up some more.  I got mine at my local quilt shop so I may just have to pop in again to see about picking up some more.

Last week was also pretty bad for getting good steps in.  This week has been going much better and I’ve had 3 consecutive days of reaching my 10K goal.  I’m hoping that today will be a 4th one.  One thing I do wish is that I would see some change in the scale, but so far that has been a bit of a disappointment.  Maybe keeping up with this 10K will help give the scale a bit of a jump-start too.  It certainly can’t hurt.

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.

Just some personal thoughts.

While this was Valentine’s Day weekend, it really took a back seat to everything else that was going on.  First of all, we had Little Red’s birthday party that we were planning with a Star Wars theme.  We had pool noodle light sabers and lots of cake and kids smacking each other with pool noodles for about 2 hours.  I’m betting that everyone slept well that night!

However, things were a little overshadowed as our Parish Priest passed away and the weekend also became filled with prayers and visitations which culminated in his funeral today.  I don’t know if you have ever been to a funeral for a Priest, but I and Small Blonde attended one this morning.  It was pretty amazing. Why Small Blonde?  Well, he was fairly upset to hear of Father’s passing and he attends parochial school where Father also made appearances.  We made a dessert for the luncheon (for which they were expecting 250 if that gives you any indication on how big this ended up being) and headed to the church so we could be sure to get a seat.  As Small Blonde and I paid respects and found a seat and chatted a bit, the church began to fill.  We watched the Knights of Columbus (in total 16) come in wearing their full regalia complete with swords, but I was unprepared for the numbers of Priests that were there to assist in the officiating.  I stopped counting at 30.  Yes, 30+ Priests, a Monseigneur, numerous Deacons and a Bishop to officiate the mass sending one of their brethren home.

With so many surrounding the Altar, you would think there would be plenty of rooms in the pews, right?  Except there was standing room only with as many squeezed into a pew as could fit and still they came to honor Father.  I think he would have been proud of the job that was done today.  It was held in one of the 2 churches he ministered in, and while it was not our home church the African choir that sometimes sings at our masses was  present and sang after Communion.  Honestly it made me smile to hear them.   I don’t think I have seen anything quite like it and I’m sure the enormity of what we witnessed this morning was lost on Small Blonde, but that’s okay.  I’m just happy that he was able to hold his good behavior together through the whole thing.

As far as I’m concerned, well, I find comfort and power in the ritual of our mass to the point where sometimes (like today) the power of it is a bit overwhelming (and maybe Hattie feels the same?).  The enormity of today was not lost on me.

<whew> To end on a lighter note, Little Red was super excited for his birthday party (he asked Santa for one for Christmas) and he has been singing Happy Birthday to himself for a week.    So, here are the cakes I made for this party.

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And also the light sabers.

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I have to admit I did not get any further along in my UFO’s and have not yet started my paper pieced star.  I’m hoping for a stellar week this week where I can get lots more done…we shall see what tomorrow brings.

And please, hold each other a little tighter tonight….

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.

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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.

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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!