Wednesday, January 28, 2009

fleeting glimpse

I am spending about 35 minutes in the sewing/computer room- and that would be in the mornings while I drink my coffee of the day and wake up. It's been a most hectic January and this last week is more of the same. Evening meetings, morning gym dates-life is on the go with either zero time or zero energy to turn on the sewing machine.

My current challenge piece is half finished. I have cut the next part, but, I measured wrong so I am fiddling with making what I did cut work. The deadline is to mail it on Monday-which I may delay-the idea is to have fun doing this- no stress-in my case, I did not realize I would have no time!

Got to run, time to go head the gym-


Monday, January 19, 2009

2008 leftovers

while I work on a new 2009 project (from a 2008 challenge) I finished up what I call Leftovers, a 15 inch by 15.5 inch small quilt. I used the same color perle cotton thread to hand quilt it -pieced from the leftover scraps bag from the two bed size jigsaw puzzle quilts I made a few years ago now, I also used these scraps in the K is 4 kindness wall hanging as well. And, there is still lots more left to play with and create new quilts or small art pieces.

It needs a label-the backing is the same fabric as the binding and too dark for any of the marking pens I have to write directly on the fabric and be legible. No sleeve until I decide on orientation or I may add two sleeves -one for hanging the way it looks in this photo, and the another as square.

I often keep leftover scraps from a favorite project in a bag of their own. I especially like how I used a checkered fabric to end up with a mini "four patch" square. I was too lazy to miter the border-I really need to prod myself and do that technique.

Other than this small finish, I have been immersed in - cleaning and rearranging parts of our home and making soup for my hosting on Tuesday night of my guild quilt show committee.

We went over Saturday night and had a game night with my son and his wife. He is an excellent game host. We learned a few new fun games and were treated to fresh from the oven warm oatmeal raisin cookies as a delightful food treat.

Yesterday Alice was dropped off while the kids went over and bought a new fridge-very similar to ours. It was close to supper time, so I made Alice's favorite "moodles" and lattes for M and I.

I bought Alice new "toddler" friendly metal silverware and taught her how to hold and use a fork so it actually pokes and holds a noodle all the way to her mouth. We had a delightful time practicing that until she could do a whole dish full by herself. I have a very small special dish just for Alice with a smiling sun and smiling octopus painted on the bottom-motivation to eat it all up to see them. Her parents arrived just as she was finishing her third bowl full and we all gave her lots of applause for handling a fork so expertly. I had cooked up penne pasta and cut the noodles in half so they were toddler size friendly. I love my new kitchen shears. A simple red sauce over the noodles and supper is ready in a flash.
There is nothing like a two year old for reminding you of simple joys.

It was a another wonderful weekend of balance-some practical stuff, some play stuff, and family time too.


Friday, January 16, 2009

wrapping up Christmas

Our Portland snow event closed roads, made traveling a nightmare for many, many folks and canceled holiday plans in our family. We moved our get together to the weekend after the New Year but that did not work out either.

The stack of gifts we were taking sat on the kitchen table.

I had planned on making sets of coasters as stocking stuffers but never got around to doing them as we never went anywhere after all. Wednesday was a bonus day off-perfect for whipping them out and mailing off everything, thus literally wrapping up Christmas at long last in our home.

First I whipped together a few gift bags. As you can see, they turned out acceptable. I used perle cotton to baste and close the small bags...worked like a charm.

Next-the coasters. I pulled up the tutorial from here, and made one perfect coaster. The next three went together and then I noticed something the same about those three, can you see what I mean? Yep, a fatal flaw. So, I made another three and took a photo to share.

I will use the rejects here at my desk and at my office. I put the special heat reflective batting stuff in them and a nice green batik on the back-the green side works great. Making something that you end up turning right side in really challenged my brain in a different direction.

So, the box was sent off along with a few others I needed to get out as well and Christmas around here is over. As the day was a sunny, albeit cool 45 degrees I also took down the outside lights.
I am always sorry to take them down-twinkling fairy lights are just so magical in the dark, dark night. When I turn the corner at the top of the street and see them at the bottom winking at me, it always makes me smile and ever so glad to be arriving home.

Christmas may be gone for another year, but, Valentine's Day will be here in no time..I think this year I may decorate for it. After all, wouldn't red twinkling lights be romantic?


Monday, January 12, 2009

2nd word house

I made this while working on the FABS challenge, sort of as a leader/ender type approach. Which is probably why I used that strip of green at the bottom-it's part of what I am working with creating the FABS challenge. The second block of Tonya's class - see sidebar link of House etc and I already threw in some print.

My challenge to myself may be making something using ONLY solids this year. I sent in my Sisters workshop and programs form the day after it arrived at my house.
One of the classes being offered is by Gwen Marston (see sidebar for link) and is all about solid log cabin liberated blocks. And, I could not resist and jumped in on the Project Improv group going on as well. It's the quilting direction I have been moving along and this will just be more of the same joy to do.

January so far has not seen as much stitching as I planned-however, once some of this 2008 overlapping paperwork is dealt with-watch out! my machine should be smoking as I put the petal to the medal. Ok, so I am not all that fast when it comes to piecing letters..! however, I have been playing with new ones and the learning curve is too funny. I made several attempts at a small "m" and kept doing my slants backwards...however...I just kept at it until it came together in my brain and with the fabric.

I am limiting my computer time to morning only-before leaving for work that is. I can read yahoo emails at work (thank goodness!) but there is a firewall to anything else-like blog reading!

I am content to pop in and catch up with various blogs as time allows. So, if you receive a very late's just me...catching up with you...and wanting you to know what I thought.

And, thanks to the fabulous blog links and/or other cool links-I seem to be traveling all over the internet lately!

Here is a recent book I just could not resist buying-oh my! the most fabulous, wonderful, and inspiring quilts in one book.

This week has only one evening commitment-visiting the Alice on Tuesday night. woohoo!
And, I have Wednesday off as my bonus day off. The square for that day in my planner says, day off.....period. Which means- I can do exactly as I please that day. Apart from if I stay home, I am the dog door person that is.

Balance means this week - a bit of working hard, more time playing, and a few want to do tasks thrown in.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

all about kindness

I have been on the run lately and spending little time at home, less on the computer. This morning I uploaded kindness photos.

I was going to put up photos of how I do my sleeves on the back of my quilts for hanging. This does show a finished sleeve tube -the trick is to pick a width that gives you either the measurement required by the quilt show it's being shown in and/or a width that will allow whatever holder you want to put through to hang it by. I forgot to measure and made an overlong sleeve. No problem, I cut it off and just stitched a new end -I turn the ends under twice stitching down by machine as a tube. I chose to not stitch the sleeve at the top so it would be part of the binding stitching by machine part. That came about because I failed to make my
sleeve wide enough and it would not work out. After getting this sleeve on, I decided next time I am returning to my habit of putting on the sleeve after the binding-I just get it on more evenly when I have the binding done first. This sleeve is probably too narrow for the quilt show it's going in later this Spring-so I probably will stitch another sleeve over this one-d'oh! However, a four inch sleeve just seems an absurd proportion on this small-ish wall hanging and I would not want that large of sleeve personally.

Also a photo of my label where I used a rejected K letter. The hunt for that letter took an hour-as I had taken everything off the design wall at some point and stacked them in different groups in different places. I was determined to find it and use -and clearly I was successful.

Then, a nice close up and a less close up-I placed it over the chair I use most for sitting in during the evening and doing handwork. There is a standing ott light to the side of this chair - I can all the light I need exactly where I am working. Thus concludes my Summer Class project.

The house etc class project has yielded another house block - I will show a photo of that another day.

We are back to rain around here and it is so much easier to drive in than ice and snow!


Saturday, January 03, 2009

some of what I am currently doing in the creative room

the room where I keep my sewing table and some of my related supplies is also the computer room. It's really not a "studio"- but it is a creative room! after all, we create using a computer, often more times than with other tools/machines. Whether I am creating a blog post, a spreadsheet, or photos-I am being creative.

I was able to get a great photo of Zoe keeping me company in here one day when I was in the sewing groove. I do not often take photos of her like many bloggers do of their cats-but-she is an important member of my family and as I do seem to share many photos of Alice my granddaughter, well, Zoe should have her fame too.

I am starting on a FAB challenge-I have had the fabric for months..and the deadline is January 31st. Please note the date: January 3rd- NOT at the last minute, thank you very much.

I am doing my word houses as the leader/ender to go with the challenge. I mean, brights work together right? And our challenge is Summer in Winter... to me, Summer equals Bright.

What great projects to be playing with on a gray and threatening to rain sort of day.
As the challenge is a surprise reveal, you won't get to see more than photos of the fabrics I will be using...these two are a major part however. The yellow/orange is the challenge fabric- to be used in a major way on the front. Out of 41 inches, 18 inches must be used on the front. Plenty to work with I think. Isn't that a great green? I stocked up on greens when a local quilt shop went out of business a few months ago. It is going to be such a pleasure to work on this challenge.

I warmed up this morning by making a small yellow flannel pillowcase for my sweetie. I had promised a new case long ago- off my mental list of things needing to be done.

2009 won't see any "lists" of projects from me. I have ideas in my head, of course, but, I am not treating them as must-dos. It's a year to see where my creative spirit leads me.

This challenge is the only holdover from 2008 that is technically a must do. However, as I was one of the challenge creators...I feel less of the mindset of it being a must do, but, a fun do !!! And, as we are sending our challenge to another's a chance to share my creative result with a dear friend. In my opinion, a gift is really not a MUST's just too much fun making something and giving it to someone you care for.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009-a new word for a new year

Last year I came across the concept of choosing a word for the year, rather than making any resolutions or goals for the new year. Here is the link to Christine Kane's blog if you want to learn more of the why of choosing a word rather than a resolution.

In her December posts she featured a different person and their word. I was pleased to be included. My word was Kindness and I am at the binding stage of the wallhanging with that title.

I considered many words before settling on Balance for my word for 2009. I wanted something more self directed than Organize, or Order, or the like. A friend with a similar sense is going with Self Care-at least I think that she settled on that word...but it embodies the same feeling/idea.
Here is part of why I feel Balance is the word for me: I want to step back and use clarity to honor my inner self and feel at one in the here and now. To be fully present to myself. Rather than flit from one task to another and feeling there is never enough time, enough energy, enough- to do for myself-I am stopping. I am taking the time to chose what is best for me to do next. To listen to my heart, rather than the inner voice telling me I must do "whatever" first. I am the Queen of delayed gratification. I have been known to wait years to allow myself to have or do something. And, I know there really is Enough for me to do whatever it is I need to do for myself. I look forward to seeing my intent unfold through this new year. Today I am enjoying each moment with nothing I must do, just whatever I chose to spend my energy and time on.

I hope you enjoy your day!