Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lack of focus and the UFO list

WARNING: photos of a growing mess to follow.  A lack of focus is really taking its toll on me lately. I am pretty much a task oriented person in my work world - I prefer to finish something before working on something new. So why, why, why doesn't that carry over into my creative world?  That little focus flag on my sewing room bulletin board needs to come out again and take a more prominent position.
I decided last night to try to make a new list of UFOs for 2018, and was almost immediately overwhelmed by the number of them.  Remember the Christmas stockings I was making a month ago for my daughter's family? On Thanksgiving she said "I don't remember asking you to do that" and of course that gave my little brain PERMISSION to set them aside.  Onto the UFO list they go!
This little pile above includes 2 unfinished bags that I used to teach a class, a design board with HSTs made of trimmings, a basket (hidden in back) full of kits, and who knows what else. The blue bag has parts for a kid sized Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt, which is a UFO from a couple of years ago. Those items are all going onto that UFO list.

Project boxes that have ongoing project pieces all nicely organized. Onto the UFO list!!!!  And fabrics gathered for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt On Ringo Lake.  No cutting allowed until I finish something!! 
More project boxes!  And there are a few more in the cabinet I use for my cutting station.  How many do I have?  No idea!!  Guess I need to count them and prioritize them.  In the box on the floor is one of the Christmas quilts I've been working on. The basket on the left holds denim and flannel squares. And what is stacked on top? No idea.  Uff da!!!
And the huge closet in my sewing space is overflowing again.  Several tops ready to quilt are hanging up, along with some rows for this summer's Row By Row Experience.  Onto the UFO list they go!!  And on the floor - my box of black and whites that I'm using for Saturday Sampler, my fat quarter box, and a box with blocks from a rail fence quilt now draped with Halloween leftovers. Yikes!!!
I embrace the idea that the process of quilting makes me happy, even when I don't finish something. But I've reached that point - again - where the excess of unfinished "stuff" in that room has slapped me in the face.  Maybe it's that end of the year reflection and next week when I get a couple of days off again I can tackle some of it.
GULP - have I officially become a hoarder?  I see a giveaway in my future!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The gift of giving

Isn't it fun to participate in a Secret Santa exchange?  I really miss the fun ones we had every year at the school I taught in. Beginning on December 1, every day or so we would leave little goodies in our partner's school mail box or in their classroom or hanging on their door. It might be as simple as quarters for the pop machine, an ornament, or a couple of cookies. Right before Christmas we would have a little celebration after school with yummy snacks and bring a "real" gift for the partner. We had a price limit so no one got too carried away. It was lovely and I think of it fondly every time I hang a particular hand made ornament on my tree that I received from a Secret Santa about 20 years ago.  
Which brings me to THIS YEAR . . . I belong to a closed Facebook group focused on quilting and other needlework.  Our group facilitator suggested a Secret Santa exchange again this year and I jumped right in. We could do pincushions or needle books. My partner outdid herself with my gift. She made this cute needle book that has elastic bands to hold thread spools, a zipper pocket, a striped parking place for pins, and an elastic closure. She included a spool of grey thread and a pack of needles - PLUS 2 fat quarters and a Moda candy pack (2.5" squares). Wowza!!!  Thank you to Moneik!

I sent my partner a pincushion that I made with an origami fabric flower and filled with crushed walnut shells which supposedly keep your pins sharp. Also included was a small quilted Christmas stocking I made and an ornament.  I sincerely feel a little stingy now, because I didn't think to included more goodies when I mailed it.
The Sew Vintage group that I belong to had a Christmas party last Saturday afternoon. We all brought something tasty to share and our facilitator made soup. It is such a fun, laid-back group and we enjoyed the little celebration together sharing stories of "vintage" Christmas from our childhoods.  We also each brought a small gift, and a game was played to see which package we received. Mine had this very pretty 5-minute table runner.  I love that particular ornament fabric.  As soon as I got home I switched this one for the Thanksgiving themed one on my kitchen baker's rack. My grandmother's recipe box and my favorite vintage pitcher sit there too.  Thank you Carol - it looks perfect there.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Canning Jars

Another Canning Jar block - only this one was a gift! Our Sew Vintage group has been working our way into Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book, and this was the first block we made.  But the group decided to make 6" blocks, in blue, to give as a thank you gift to Cindy, our group facilitator. She bakes treats for us every month, leads the conversation, and challenges us to try new techniques.  And she takes the time to keep the group fun, interesting, and creative. Thank you Cindy!
There were 11 of us at the party, and Cindy added her own block to make an even dozen. They look great together. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Design Wall Monday: Farmhouse Stars progress

Sunday morning sewing brought me a step further on Farmhouse Stars.  One star out of 9 is complete. I decided to finish 4 blocks and make one of the stars just to make sure I was doing things correctly.  All of the pieces are laid out for the next 32 blocks (8 stars) and ready to sew the second round of color.  20 of them are here on my cutting board, and the other 12 are on my ironing board. 

This is a Simple Whatnots pattern by Kim Diehl.  I love the look, but it is taking me forever to finish it.  And I've promised myself that I can't start a new project until this top is done. Actually I shouldn't start anything new until I finish SOMETHING!  I realized yesterday that except for pillowcases, I haven't finished anything in over a month.  

Check out what other Design Walls hold:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

On Ringo Lake

The new mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter is called On Ringo Lake. The color scheme really is pretty with coral, aqua, dark brown, and neutrals. I've been digging in my stash and doing a little shopping to collect the fabrics even though I am not starting this mystery yet.  My stash had almost no corals, cut I did have a couple of aqua scraps, and lots of neutrals. I found some perfect ones at my local quilt shop and I picked up more on last week's Iowa road trip. I have a couple of dark browns to pull from my stash yet, but otherwise I think I have what I need.
So far I've only saved and printed the introduction and first 3 clues.  I had promised myself that I couldn't start this until I get one more Simple Whatnots mini quilt finished. And I'm still working on that. If you are interested in the mystery quilt, here is the link to Bonnie's blog page where she will post everything. Once the last clue has been released, then she takes down the access to the free pattern and puts it into her online store for a price. But for now, it's FREE!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lucky gal

Last Saturday our guild held its annual Christmas Party. We met at a local restaurant for lunch and games and prizes. It was great fun.
The committee members made the snowman mug rugs for each of us. So very cute!!  And I won a pile of 18 fat quarters in a game of Right-Left-Center.  I'm a lucky gal. One aqua one went directly into my stack for the newest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, which I hope to work on over the next few weeks. I've been collecting coral, aqua, and neutrals from my stash and from shopping. Oops! And a dark brown, which I'm sure I have in my stash. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


I've been missing from my blog for a week, and it was a good week.  On Sunday morning I left with a friend to drive 7 hours east to Iowa to visit a dear friend who moved there this past summer. Another girlfriend had planned to go too but was sick and couldn't go. We missed having her with us.

We went to a couple of quilt shops and some other interesting places in Marion and Cedar Rapids. Had lunch on Tuesday at Ramsey's Bistro - YUM! Went to the Amana Colonies. Attended a Lindsey Stirling concert. And relaxed with our feet up and a glass of wine in her living room. It was wonderful to just have time to talk and catch up.  Another road trip needs to happen in the spring.