Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ponderings revisited

As we are here in the last weekend of the year, I was pondering a bit about my goals that I had set for myself seems a tad Lofty and I felt that I might have to rethink the whole thing.   But first I had decided that I would be the breakfast maker today with visions of biscuits and sausage gravy wetting my palette.  I also topped them with fried eggs and everyone made short work of their plates.  It's a real treat since the last time I made them was when my boy was here for the summer.  He is currently here for his winter break and it was a good reason to make it again.

I know that a couple of weeks ago I had posted my goals for the new year but I feel that as I looked at them again, I'm setting myself up for possible failure by thinking I can work at such an almost grueling pace. I believe that would be unreasonable and would take the joy out of the process. Making them more a "JOB" then anything else. And in my eyes, that is just not acceptable by any means at all! 

I mean there are those two larger UFO's that are on my list that I wanted to finish as in complete with quilting and binding. They both are queen/king size pieces which will be a challenge in it's self.  We all know I'm more for making smaller pieces like table runners and wall hangings. I'm at the point with these that the majority of the work now requires me doing hand work on them.  So I'm thinking that if I got one of the tops done and in the floor hoop for the hand quilting I would be most happy with that so this would be a long term project.  And this would still allow me to still take part in a few small swaps or other small UFO's  through out the new year have when I need a change without getting stale.  

I currently have "Sunflowers & Crows" in the hoop and yes - even though it is of lap quilt size, I'm hand quilting an one inch grid design on it. It's a time consuming design but I think it was the best type of quilting for this piece.  I know I would possibly make the Amish Quilters, that had kind of taught me how to hand quilt; proud as I'm getting on average 8 to 10 top stitches for inch.  I feel a sense of pride in this accomplishment as it makes me slow down and enjoy the whole process.
Do you ever find yourself doodling aimlessly and later think that it might make for an interesting quilt pattern?  Do ever want to do something completely out of you "normal"? For those of you who design - how do you find your inspirations?   

Today I'm doing some transferring of a pattern to muslin to prep it for stitching.  This is going to be one of my own designs and unlike anything that I have done before. I have been working on said design for much of the past week.  Although I might use only half of the pattern for the first making, I'll do the whole piece a bit later.

hen I must try to finish this last snowflake that I'm appliqueing. From there, I have to make a few snowball blocks for this runner.  For some reason this thing is taking me longer than I projected.  I'm sure that it will come out quite nicely but I'm going to enjoy putting this one in the mail when the day comes.  

Sewing this week will actually not be the main focus this week - as I'm going to be taking time to spend time with my boy.  We are going to make home made cookies at some point. And I think we are going to go see the Hobbit movie as part of his Christmas present along with a dinner out.  I'm sure that in the evenings when have our down time I'm going to be doing some of my hand work. 

I was really surprised that I didn't have ANY comments on last weeks post.  I was so looking forward to reading some of your stories.  Well I guess maybe everyone was busy with all their holiday plans.  Maybe I'll revisit the PIF subject at another time.  I'm actually thinking of doing something with my boy on this.  He is in Cub Scouts this year and think making pillowcases and/or small scrappy doll blankets throughout this new year to give to our village kids as gifts during Holiday party and Santa Claus visit. 

So what you up to? Are you sewing the new year in? Taking part in a New Years Day mystery?  Or did you decide to take some time off following the Holiday Gift making marathon? 

Right Y'all - I'm off & running.... so toodles,

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The "girls", Old Man Winter and "PIF"

Whewwwie!!! We made past the pitfall of the Mayan Calendar and the world didn't seem to come to an end per say.   So Yeah US!!!  Aren't we the lucky ones! 

The "girls" are settling in to our little home rather nicely.  We have renamed the the girls and they seem to be taking to the names better we had expected.  The darker one of the two sisters, has been given the name "Nosy Rosy". Yes folks Rosy is really living up to her name. I believe in her way of thinking, her humans MUST be available for her inspection at any given moment.  That closed doors really shouldn't be closed to her at all -- especially if one of the members of her "staff" is behind it. She seems to enjoy Steve's company and if given the chance will sit on my side of the love seat and cuddle up with him so that they may nap together.  She definitely is the stronger personality of the two. 

Now her sister, on the other hand; seems to have aligned herself to me.  She is a bit timid at times, but her more playful quirks are coming out and showing that she is no wall flower in any means.  The whole time since their arrival, I have made it a point to talk to them both and during which little ms. timid has taken to the name of Honey. So Honey it is.... although Steve still refers to her as "Paranoid".  But I'm sure he will come around to Honey as she comes when called. It's funny that Honey get be VERY persuasive as to having my attention ESPECIALLY in the mornings as I try to do my computer stuff along with my 1st cup of coffee. Nothing like someone sitting on your hands and lower arms as you try to type.  LOL.

We are very happy to have these girls become a part of our little family.  We love how they greet us in the mornings as we make our way to the coffeepot.  They seem to enjoy being talked to and will flop over their sides for scratching. We look forward to many years of cuddling and silly antics.  Oh guess what!! I'm happy to report that according to what I saw on the Humane Societies page, there was 5 other adult kitties around the same age as our girls that was sprung from their Kittie prisons to their very own "forever home" too!!  Way to go Kitties!!!!

"Ohhhh .... the weather outside is Frightful .... "  Those of us in the Mid-West was visited by Old Man Winter. He decided to showed us who the boss was for the last few days.  He sure did show up with a grand bluster to let us know it ain't no puny humans!  We had ended our week with power outages, winds up to 65 mph at times, drifting snows, bitter cold temps and yet again another van issue that involved another tow bill & the alternator.  Ain't Life a kick in the head sometimes?

So this week, I managed to get a nice present for Steve done for his birthday/Christmas on Monday.  I made this nice long lap quilt for him for the couch that is the prefect width for across his chest and give him the ability to tuck it under his feet with his 6'1" frame.  I have to say that this was the most inexpensive quilt that I have made and He certain can't be any happier with it  Why you might ask?  Well good question, as it leads into one of the topics of the week. 

I was a recipient of the "pay it forward" movement that is know widely throughout the quilting world. I was give this red, white & blue Homespun Patch panel that was a couple yards with this other fabric that is a dark tan blender type fabric for the back by a friend from my Wednesday morning quilting circle. She told me that she has had these fabrics for years and years and never got around to doing anything with them. She figured that she would clean out her stash and past it on to me. Then I was give a really thin poly batting that was queen-size from another friend that didn't work for her current project and it had a slash in the package & batting... so it was nonreturnable.  So now, I have the main components for the quilt, I spent several Wednesdays prepping, & putting it together so that I could tie it.  I "happen" to know that I had a skein of red, white, and blue variegated yarn that I wanted to use.  So then my friend handed me some red star Hoffman print to use as the binding that worked perfectly.  So what did I contribute besides the yarn and the time? I was luck to receive such generous offers in order to make the one of 2 gifts that he will receive for the holidays. And everyone knows that a homemade item is just the best thing to receive!!! Right?

A few months back you might remember me talking about "Pay It Forward" at the end of Sept.?  About the movie with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment? Or you might be familiar the book of the same title by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  But either way in some form or another we all seem to know the thought process behind it all. I know to have been on both sides of the "PIF" coin so to speak at different times in my life on more than one occasion.

We all know that quilters are a wonderful community who love to "Pay it Forward" to all those around them.  Be it in quilts & pillowcases for Charity, for the Victims of Disasters of all kinds - like those of Hurricane Sandy or the families & community of the Newtown, CT. shooting that has recently become part of the most recent news. Another fine example of PIF was the New York Officer who bought a pair of boots and socks for the homeless man in mid November.  That was a wonderful show of PIF or as some would know it as Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) in a world today that most would turn a blind eye to anothers plight and violence is getting to be almost blase anymore.   

I can almost bet that you or someone you know has been a receiver of a PIF/RAK in the past. Think about it for a moment ... I'm almost sure you have seen those commercials on TV that touch on this very thought process. So take a minute and Really think about it.....

Okay now ... did someone in line at a store have a cart full of things, turn around to see you had one or two items or a young child with you who was staring to fuss and allowed you to go ahead of them with "please" and a smile;  instead of making some snide remark out loud to themselves about bringing cranky kids to the stores?  Maybe someone driving in front of you along the turnpike paid your toll fee or paid for your coffee that day and wanted something so small, that a smile & a "Thank You" has us wondering what that person's hidden agenda is?  Have you been in traffic at a light during heavy rush hour and here you are trying to pull out into traffic only to have everyone so wrapped up in their own lives, that they not willing to give up that few feet of space to allow your vehicle in ahead of them because your car might prevent them getting someplace a whole 30 seconds faster - when some kind person waves you in in front of them?  It is interesting to watch the dynamics of how we - as a whole - look at things ... myself included. 

In 1916, Lily Hardy Hammond wrote, "You don't pay love back; you pay it forward."

The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking the beneficiary of a good deed to repay it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

Well the reason I'm trying to get to is I once again came across the "Paying It Foward"  thread today, as I learned about a month ago now; I was chosen by Sara (of ) that I was one of her "winners"of her PIF.  She is taking part in this and I thought I would too.  It is a type of "gifting" where the "poster" will pick three winners and make them a homemade gift sometime during the following 365 days. Then each of the three winners will do the same. Basically 1 person reaches 3 people and those 3 people reaches 9 reaches 24... et cetera et cetera. I know there probably is most likely some big fancy term or name of some sort algorithm that uses the concept of algorithm is also used to define the notion of decidability that escapes me at the moment to explain it. But once again I'm going to try my own PIF with homemade items. I'm going to  ask you to tell me about your own PIF experience.  Was you the receiver or the giver or even a witness to such an act that touched you in some way? 

Once you have perused the few little rules, tell me your story in the comment section below. I know with the holidays upon us we all are a bunch of busy bees, so I'm leaving this open for a while before choosing my "winners" so to speak.  But maybe this will have you thinking and looking about you for those little chances for "PIF" that cross you path any given day. Now if you don't have a blog or other social media item to take part in the "PIF" drawing, but still want to share a story with me .... I'll be glad to read all about it.  Just let me know some how that your comment is just for a chance to share the story.  I'm hoping to read lots of wonderful stories that it will be hard for me to make a decision for my winners!!

I will also share how I progress in my own PIF journey in the items that I will be making and how I plan to work on this in the new year to come.  I have some ideas that I'm kicking around and want to discuss with a few people before I make any kind of announcement as of right now. 

The rules are few but simple and are as follows:

1. I will create a crafty gift for  three people who will be randomly picked  that leave a comment to this post. This is a surprise, and will arrive to you anytime within the next 365 days.

2. Upon signing up for Pay it Forward (PIF), you are committing yourself to the project...someone pays it forward to you, so you pay it forward to others! Even if you didn't win here ~~ please feel free to start your own PIF chain!!  Just post this, or something similar so others can get involved. Basically you will create your own post where you create gifts for 3 people as well.

3. You need to have an active blog of your own...{or some way to post up your PIF info like a flickr, pinterest, or Facebook account. Basically you'll need a place to announce your own PIF and to post some pics of the process.} 

4. After winning persons are announced on this post, post something similar on your you can spread the "Pay It Forward" love. I will email you asking for your mailing address {and the online address where you are posting your PIF info} so I can get your crafty treat in the mail. Please make sure your email address is visible on your profile or leave it in the comment.

Well now that I have become long-winded in today's entry, I'll give my farewells to thee. Please know I love any comments or thoughts that my posting might have inspired you to leave.  Y'all come back again... you hear.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Accountablity, Insight, WIP's progress, Resolutions w/flashbacks,

It's the weekend and it's time to sew!  Yeah!!

I'm know I'm still a little slow with the whole blogging and sewing thing right now,  but I'm feel like it's slowly coming back to me. Some of the problem is the time of year for me and the other part is we are still dealing with the family issues from the end of Oct.

But I have been making myself do something "quilty" every day as I still try to hold myself accountable in my sewing journals.  At the beginning of the year I have started my "quilt journal writing" process and I think I have only missed one,  maybe 2 days thought out the whole year.  I have made it part of my routine to write in it just before bed as to what I did for the day.  I even came up with an UFO list in it and managed to knock 10 out of 14 items off the list so far and number 11 is the hoop being hand quilted as we speak.  Now I know that for the most part they were smaller items and not full size quilts but I figure it was a start.  I have only really been truly quilting for about 3 years since I moved back to Michigan, but even I managed to acquire quite the UFO list. 

Ever since I started this, I'm really amazed on just how much time I have found for my "self-preservation therapy" as I like to refer to it.  I have discovered that I really enjoy doing several forms of hand work in the evenings as I "listen" to the TV.  I have found that it has had some other positive effects as well.  It has helped me to quit smoking for the last 20 months, help build my confidence in my skills, it has allowed me to get some instant gratification as I finish something even as simple as some mug rugs or wall hangings, it keeps me busy and in the last couple months, I have been going to the library to be a part of the little quilter's circle. By doing that, it has me out & about seeing people at least once a week. Which in a way has broken some of my reclusive and introverted behaviors. I was, at one point; only going out of the house once month on grocery day. I now spend quite a bit of time on the computer actually taking part in groups, heading up a few swaps, taking part in challenges ... basically being a part of the Computer society as I refer to it.  I'm not just lurking unseen, I have become a part of something. I'm making friends, chatting online and I even have one friend that I have been talking to on the phone close to once a week.  Talk about Progress!!! 

This week I'm proud to announce the I finally finished the Bright Baby quilt for Sue (you might remember it from my postings in May). Any hows.... it's currently winging it's way over to Scotland as we speak.  I did argue with myself about the binding as I looked at it again during the packing process, but with my OCD, I has to force myself to let it go!  I am quite happy to have meet my self imposed deadline that the grand baby it was made for would receive it in time for Christmas.  I did take some pictures of it but will wait to post them once it has been received as it sort of a surprise.  So please hang in there a little longer to see the end results.

What I'm a working on right now you might be wondering?  While it's quite the list and things are in a variety of stages.  I got an apron done for Steve.  I have it wrapped with a can of cashews and it sits under the tree waiting for him.  I been working on a extra long lap quilt for him on Wednesdays when I go to the library. I have it all tied, the binding fabric has been soaking to let loose any extra dye before I start cutting it and I just need to cut off the extra batting.  I should have that ready to under the tree just in time. 

I am currently in a holding pattern on my boy's "Boo" quilt that I was making. It needs some batting, but I have a pillowcase ready to be rocked out for him.  I have a couple extra days since he won't be here 'til the 28th.  I also have two wall hangings in the works and a table runner that I'm hand appliqueing the snowflakes on. Along with these swap items, I have a couple of mug rugs and a few pincushions to make.  But those shouldn't take too long as I'm pulling from my scrappy squares that I have really cut out for some 9-patch blocks. 

I'm also working on hand quilting an UFO (#11) that I started about this time last year.  I thought the piece that I designed up would have been a gift, but it ended up being much larger than I had anticipated so it was put aside and placed on my UFO list.  Well since I finished the baby quilt, I wanted to have something in the hoop and this piece really fit the bill as it was already sandwiched with a little of the cross hatch quilted.  This piece is a bit of everything with it's machine piecing, hand applique. It has cotton and crafter's felt on it, with a bit of primitive running stitch along with tiny blanket stitches on it's applique work.  There is nice bright prints combined with a version of my tea dyed muslin.  It seems to be a piece that I have mashed quite a few techniques on and I let them fall where they may. 

Lately I have been thinking about what I wanted to do in the New Year seeing how the commissioned piece has falling through.  I think I'm going to trying a work on some of my larger pieces this next year. I still have a couple "Slooooowwwww WIP's" (as I fondly refer to them) that I want to work on finishing up and maybe one or two of my Kits that I have.  I'm setting a goal of 3 with a possible 4th WIP's and a New Project with a pobbile 2nd.  I'm going to list them here so that everyone will know what I'm working on.

             My 2013 Resolution  List

The SLOOOWWW WIP's -- in no particular order:
  1. Feedsack Commons by Windham Fabrics  This was pattern for the top that I made for the Q & N Challenge.  I had pulled this one back out and have been making some additional progress on it. I have been trading this one off with 2 other applique projects that are in the works.  I have started to applique the vines/stems onto this sashing to begin the process of adding the period appliqued flowers.  This was the one where me & my partner Debbieann had decided to push that challenge even further by adding on to it.  Here is what my top looked like at the end of the challenge and how we planned to add on to it.  ( I believe this one might be queen/king once I complete the added sashings & borders.
  2. "Tulips from a Friend"  as it's referred to for now. This was the tulip pre-cut kit that was gifted to me by my friend in Wisconsin.  Progress is slow but there's progress none the less.  This one of the Hand Applique projects that I have going on right now. I think this one will be queen/king size when finished.
  3. "Sunflowers & Crows"  This is the one currently in the floor hoop and I talked about earlier. This is one of my "Frankenstein" designs. It just needs it's hand quilting done and binding put on. This one is a lap quilt size.
If I get the above done, I'm adding this one to the list:
  1. "Summertime Nine"  This is coming from a swap that I took part in on my homesteading group and need to make additional nine-patches to bring it up to twin size for the guest/son's bed. This is one of the those projects that I can do to tame some of my scraps as I turn them into "workable" squares.
The New Kits On the Broad:
  1. "Hearts Are All Around" This is a BOM from the UK Magazine "Popular Patchwork"  that my friend from Scotland  sent to me last year for Christmas.  I have most of the fabrics picked out. I will be starting the Red work/ Embroidery as soon I find my chosen flosses as I have decided on a different color way that will challenge me to reach beyond on my "normal" palette.
If I get all of the above quilts completed I'm going to get this one started once those are all done.
  1. "Quilt Barn Quilts" (by Wellington House Designs) This was just given to me a couple of weeks ago for my birthday from one my library quilty friends.  She was generous that day and introduced me to a LQS named Elm Creek Ltd.  (no .. not related to the books lol). We was out for the day and was in awe in this little shop. It is one of those has a bit of everything but the quilting section was to die for.  My was walking around it with my jaw hanging and resembled a kid let loose in the candy shop with a unlimited budget!!! It was a site to see  I'm sure.  So not only did I get the pattern, I got all the fixings to make this wonderful top.  Here is what the pattern looks like if you're wondering ... 1613.gif
So that is my list of goals.  I'm sure I will still take part in some swaps but this next year I'm going for more of  the "me & mine" projects.  I found that I get so wrapped up in the swapping that I tend to forget that I have my own personal projects that I want to work on. I know that I have several other WIP's/UFO projects that are mentally on this list and if I actually get to those that's GREAT!! But this is my "okay now I've made it public I HAVE to work on these" list.  It should prove interesting to see if I can get theses done.  Some are  bigger than others and there will be lots of hand stitching in one form or another but it's more of making the commitment more then anything else.

So what you think?  Are you looking for ways to hold yourself accountable to yourself with your quilting?  Have you started to think about what you want to accomplish in this next year? Feel free to share your goals with me & others.

I highly recommend starting that Quilt Journal Keeping process. It's been very helpful to me.  I have worked out a way that I work on my sewing machine during the day but I really do most of my work in the evenings after supper and settling in for that TV Time and feel quite productive.

As always, I love comments, hearing your thoughts on things that I write about. So come share with me. I do read them all and try to respond to them.  But for now I'll leave you thinking about next weeks topic of "Pay it Forward"  I have touched on this before and want to revisit the subject. It's time to put this edition to bed as they use to say in the printed newspaper days.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Bah Hambug Train! Current project news and New Housemates

What a week it has been! More Down's than Up's.  That's it ... I'm on the Bah Hamburg!! train. It never fails that at this time of year to have everything to blows up and destroy the Holidays for us.  

But anyways, I should be working on a few smaller things that I need to get down to be sent out.  But all those are now on hold since I can't mail them out now. And the Wedding Quilt that the client wanted..... well it appears she thought that we would work for free. So it looks like that fell through.  Go figures, here I think I might have a few dollars for Christmas only to have it blow up in my face. Then on the way home yesterday, the van just up & quits.  This am we find out that the fuel pump modulator or or something like that went & we are looking at close to a 4 figure repair bill.  Oh great!!  No Christmas again this year.  Sometime life just sucks!!!!

I did pull out my Q& N Challenge quilt from earlier in the year and started to applique the stem down on one of the sashes.  And I'm currently working on hand quilting on the "Sunflowers and Crows" piece. I'm doing an inch cross-hatch pattern on it. It was an UFO that I had put away about this time last year. Well ... it looks like I'll have plenty of time to work on it.  So now it's in the hoop in the front room.  Should be interesting to see what the new housemates think of it.  They are my Christmas present.  and
Description:  "DORI AND MAIZI" BOTH FRONT DECLAWED.  This pretty duo had to be surrendered when the new baby came.  They are sisters from the same litter and we would love for them to go together if possible. SPAYED FEMALES. Age:  1-2 YEARS ONLY $5.00 TO ADOPT Each! 

We aren't really feeling like they like their names. So we will be changing them. I believe they are referred to as "diluted" torties and so did the shelter.  Their colors are softer and muted compared to lots of torties that you might see. The Darker One is a real "Nosey Rosey" and seems a lot braver then her sister with a dark Smokey coloring. Lighter one has this "Eye Mask" that reminds me of Honey. To me she has this almost lilac coloring to her. They ventured out of hiding last night and did some serious lap cuddling.  They were following us around like little dogs whenever we moved about the house.  Too Funny!!!  They are currently hiding under - well okay - more like inside the couch taking an all day nap. But I'm sure we'll see more of them once they get use to how things will work around here.  Though I know they was Not happy about being shut out of the bedroom last night.

Before I forget -- I want to say Thank You to those of you out there that have been your blessings, prayers and hugs again.  It's nice to feel such support. 

Well I really go and try to become some sort of productive today.  I think pork chops and mashed 'taters for dinner tonight.  And I suppose that my hand quilting and CD book is waiting for me. I could place a row or two into the grid before supper, so I'll be running along now.