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:

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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!

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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!

 

 

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!

Why perfectionism doesn’t suit me. 

It’s true, as much as I would like it to, perfectionism doesn’t suit me.  I’m far too human and I’m reminded of that when I pull out some of my older UFO’s.

First though, I finally got my troublesome block tamed. At least as much as I am going to be able to tame it.  Here it is, after I attempted to press it into submission.  I still love it, but man it was not cooperating.

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I really wasn’t sure what to do to make it lie flat…I had taken it apart once before and if you are familiar with paper piecing you know that you have limited attempts before the paper falls apart (or you have to use tape to reinforce the stitching lines).  I was hesitant to start tearing it apart again, but I figure this would be the last time that I would tear it apart and that one way or another it was going to work.  So, once again I took the pie pieces apart and pinned the heck out of them.  I almost wondered if I didn’t use enough pins….

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I managed to get the pieces all put together but to my chagrin it still didn’t lie flat.  So, again I tried to press it into submission and finally said forget it and put the outside pieces on, pressed it again and called it a day.  I think that once the paper comes out it may lie better, but for now the block is complete and I am ready to move on to the next one…

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I was actually feeling pretty good about getting this to the end stage that I thought I would choose another UFO to tackle.  I’m procrastinating a bit on the two wedding quilts I have yet to complete.  Although I do have one of the completed ones on the long arm ready to be quilted this week.  Yea!

As I looked through my UFO’s (after all I have a lot to choose from!) I came across this one which I thought would be easy.  I thought that I had more blocks to complete and that would be an easy thing to do.  Once I got it out I discovered that the blocks were all completed and I have to decide on a setting for them.  The fun thing about these blocks is that each block came with block border suggestions.  Apparently when I first put things together I was game for the first two to try the suggestions.

This was the first one.  It was a block of the month at a local quilt shop that was done in black and white fabrics. Of the two that I completed, this is the one that I like best.

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This is the second one.

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It’s a little busy and I don’t really care for it.  Then I took a look at the rest of the suggestions and I realized that none of them would be terribly easy.  The bad thing is that there are no measurements or instructions for the borders so they would each have to be drafted and I just wasn’t feeling up to the task.  Instead, I thought it might make more sense to choose one border treatment and use it on each of the blocks.  I went with the first one.  I looks simple, but if you look closer you can see that it also uses partial seams which I will have to go with to keep things uniform.  It won’t be too difficult to do.  I just need to get those fun little pinwheels taken off and get the blocks measured and trimmed.  I think there will be a couple that will need a little work…they look a bit on the wonky side.  Don’t worry, the pinwheels will surely find their way into a doll quilt or something.

Then I am entertaining the thought of putting a little black in between the blocks (after the border).  But I think I’m getting ahead of myself.  There are a lot of things to do first.  I can tell that as I get ready to square up these blocks that some of the points are going to disappear.

I briefly entertained the thought of taking apart better than half of the blocks and then I came to my senses.  Of course it isn’t perfect.  I started this quilt years ago – at least 10.  I’ve learned some things since then.  My technique has improved quite a bit since then.  To take it apart at this point seems somehow wrong.  Looking at it I am reminded that I am human and imperfect.  That’s not a bad thing.  It helps me to remember that everyone makes mistakes and it also helps to drive me forward and improve as I go.  My goal is not to be perfect.  That goal is far too lofty and stressful.  I am much more content to keep my sights lower by trying harder and learning new things.  That is much less stressful and far more manageable.

 

 

 

Continuing to make progress.

So I managed to get back into my sewing room to work on one of the wedding quilts (and have I mentioned that I have another one added to the queue?).  I don’t think I’ve shared much about the pattern or progress I’ve been making.  Retreat is coming up at the end of the month and my goal is to (finally) have all the blocks done so that I could start assembling the top.

This is the last set of units that I need to finish.  I don’t know how well you can see, because the background fabric is white, but I have the last two opposite corner triangles to sew on and then trim the unit to size.  I will say that it is very important to have good lighting in your sewing room and I came to find out that my lighting may not be as good as I thought it was.  I have a white on white print for the background and there have been a few that I have put on with the wrong side up because it was hard to tell which was which.

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This one is a little better where you can see the white print dots (which reminded me of bubbles).  I know, they do look like they should be easy to tell, but the lighting at my sewing desk turns out to not be quite the best.  Since all I have left are two opposite corners, I have gone ahead and gotten them all laid out and pinned ready to go under the needle.  One more round of sewing and trimming them and they will all be ready to go to retreat so they can be laid out and assembled into their finished quilt top!  Yahoo!

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Here’s what the little darlings looked like  before I trimmed them to add the last two corners.  I know, they totally look wrong don’t they?  That is what I love about paper piecing.  A little trim, another piece of fabric and before you know it the points are all as perfect as they can be.  I don’t know if you do paper piecing or not, but if you decide to try give yourself time to get use to it.  I promise that you will get it, just stick with it.

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And here they are all trimmed and pretty looking.  I think there are 54 of these units.  I saved the least amount and least complicated for last.

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I’m sure you are just a little curious as to what the other units look like.  I’ll share a little, but you will have to wait until retreat to see how they all go together!

There are two other units.  This is one of them, and there are 97 of them and it seemed like they took FOREVER just because there were so many.  I just kept plugging along little by little and managed to get through them.  I know they don’t look to hard but it was just the sheer number of them.

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These are the main blocks and they were a lot of fun to work on so of course they were the first ones I did.  I still love them and I can’t wait to get the blocks laid out.  Actually, I just can’t wait for retreat!

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Wish me luck tomorrow as I try to get the last of the triangles sewn on while the smallest person is at school.  I’m feeling pretty good about my chances and I love it when I make a goal.

Blah.

Well, my motivation has left the building.  Keeping up with activities for the boys has tuckered me out.  I’m not sure if it’s the planning or the execution that is worst.

I did manage to finish my one UFO from a couple of weeks ago.  So I count that as a total victory.  Here are a couple of pics.

 

The stepping is going well, but I did slack off a bit over the weekend and so I need to get back on track but that should be easy to do.

I know, there really just isn’t a whole lot to report.  I think with all of our current events there is just too much to process.  While I would like to comment, I still just can’t fathom what happened in Orlando.  What knocked me to my heels however was the recent alligator attack at Disney.  I think that’s because I look at my own Smallest and then my heart breaks.  I think about how I would feel to have him pulled from my grasp – how helpless and scared and angry I would feel.  Then I think that all the parents who lost their child at Pulse must also feel the same way because it doesn’t matter if your child is 2 or 22.  The heartache is just as real no matter the age.  I’m not going to get into a debate about gun control or terrorist status or if the parents disregarded a sign or if Disney should be liable.  Honestly, none of those things matter right now, at least to me, and if they did I could read all about them on Facebook as it seems everyone is asserting how their opinion is more correct than his fellows’.  I think we have all probably read enough of those comments and stories and we all have formed our own opinions.  Right now, my heart goes out to the families suffering these heartbreaking losses.  I think that is really all that needs to be said – My heart goes out.