Sunday, November 19, 2017

Being Gentle With Myself

I've been feeling almost shamed that I haven't been quilting. Not sure where that feeling comes from because when I look at my sidebar list of things to do, items for November are on it and it is still November!

Today is the day I travel to Ventura, in part to be on one of the Pacific beaches there & primarily to get the trinacria tattoo done by my left ear. From what I read, this is supposed to be a painful experience, & the after-care takes 2 weeks. That means getting my head right about it. 

Jack, the tat artist is someone I trust to place it and have it turned the way that will look best behind my ear. I released the need to be as directive about it as I was with the one on my right shoulder. He takes pride in his work.

I've been wanting a tat under this left ear for some time. The left-hand path is about elevation and centrality of the self as well as rejection of religious authority & societal taboos. Clearly, I am at this stage of spirituality. It is said that Dragon magick is not for everyone. It is a hard path, and I know I have been on it for some time. One must be self-disciplined and serious about changing things in their lives and the world around them. I am. 

It is the combination of the left side and the dragon as well as having it be so visible that brings on the power. It makes a statement that I am ready to make the changes.
(I don't know why the background is white on some lines.)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Making Winter Solstice

I haven't posted for most of the week because I was getting all the family gifts sorted and wrapped. All the planned quilting projects are shipped already, so I don't do much in this area.

I need to ship gifts out the Saturday after T-day to get to them in a timely manner so they are not part of the big push. 

There is less danger of things getting lost if they go one week early. I know my Grandkids rip open whatever I send and that their parents do not believe in delayed gratification.

Also, I plan to bake cookies and ship them out on Tuesdays all through December. I will bake a batch of however many it makes, wrapping them by a dozen to a box and alternate who gets them. Once the gifts are sent, I am less concerned about the baked goods. I do know that the best time to ship is on Tuesdays and that gets them to MN/WI before the weekend. (Usually).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

DIY Mat for Puzzles

Went shopping in the big city yesterday and while I did select a small puzzle for a gift, I wanted something more for this 10-year-old girl. I bought a copy of A WRINKLE IN TIME for her which is about an 11-year-old girl and has changed many a pre-teen's life.

There was a young girl in the store and I asked her opinion about both items. The adult with her said the book was a perfect reading challenge and the girl said she was working with 200 pieces. I put the 500 piece box back. 

As I thought about my child in question, I know she goes between the houses of her parents and thought about how I used to hate having to pick up my things and started an online search for a solution. I know that many inventors make things they never had. Sure enough, there were commercial puzzle mats to roll unfinished puzzles and save them, as well as sorting trays for larger puzzles.

I looked at the products to see what they were, how they served and how they were made. I decided to shop my closet first and found a piece of flannel, a good size dowel (the chip in it doesn't show), and some ribbon. The doubled fabric finishes at about 20"x 24". You slowly roll the dowel-end towards the other flatter end allowing for the puzzle pieces to stay in place. Tie both sides so nothing shakes out. Then when you want to work on it again, it unrolls.

I did find two boxes, one with 100 pieces and one with 300 pieces. I will get her some lip balm and maybe a few age appropriate make up things. She will be delighted in the moment.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2nd Lady of the Lake 2

It seems that the holiday prints will work fine as a sampler. 

The second Block sample is done and looks just as formal as the first. It does have interest with the red berries in the HSTs. I wasn't sure how that would turn out and am glad I didn't have any in the smaller squares. I might like to make it one last time using something other than off white for the background. Not today. I am content with what is made for the quilt group. While I might make one quilt in the project, this second block will be an orphan.

I used a channel stitch for the machine quilting on FIRST SNOW with lines being about 1 1/4" apart going the length of the quilt. It is my new favorite look, so plan to do it again.

My oldest Granddaughter's beau asked me to make a quilt using teeshirt logos for a comfort quilt he wants to give his Mother. Hopefully it will work and that I can get it done in time for the holidays.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mystery Designer

I applied for one of 12 positions to present a BOM for a Sampler Mystery Quilt and was selected for June 2018. It is pretty low-key because we share the link to the pattern, and make a sample a couple of weeks earlier.

I spent the morning going through fabrics in my stash to determine my theme. The pattern is called LADY OF THE LAKE 2. It is smart looking, and I have not seen it in any samplers for the group to date. I plan to make a version in holiday greens for another option. 

The process is a little putzy, and by that I mean, there are a number of piecing steps. First, the tic-tac-toe square is made in strips, which are pieced, cut and pieced again. Then that square is partnered with a corner square. An aqua square is laid over a navy strip to make an HST, and then that is joined to the first 2 to make a square. Then 2 squares are joined, and form half the block. A final trip to the machine joins them to make the whole. Nine separate trips to the machine, back to press after each one. However, for one block, it is nice looking and will be a great addition to the mystery quilt.

Then it was time to baste the First Snow quilt. It only took 45 minutes so I am getting rather proficient at getting it done quickly. There was a bit of backing fabric left after trimming and will take the length times two to finish it off and integrate top with bottom.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

From the Closet

I did not buy the pattern for the quilt top I just made, and went ahead from the picture. AND, as luck would have it, I found a pieced section of batting that will work as well as some fabric for the back. These were major finds as this quilt is for a one-to-one exchange on Swap-bot. I didn't really want to spend money, nor was there time to order, get it here and finish the quilt on time. As for the binding, it will come from the stash as well.

My housekeeper comes today and I have an appointment with one of my Granddaughters to Facetime, so I will not have time to get to the clubhouse to baste the quilt. There is time.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

And Here We Go

I found a pattern online that made a quilt with 10" blocks, and so yesterday, I sorted, matched, stitched and cut blocks for the quilt. With the finished top measuring 55" x 70", it is the perfect size for a lap quilt.

Of course, I need batting & a back, plus the binding. There was a pattern for the top and it was $25. I wanted to use up my 10" squares so thought I'd give it a try. The hardest part was the snowball in the corner. And once I figured that out by trial and error, it came together nicely. 

There are a number of 10" squares left and so I saved the orphan blocks from this one and will make another from the pattern.

It felt good to quilt again, but what I did was to start another project, while not returning to the one that is on the top of my list. Its a start.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Being a Perfectionist

One of my friends suggested I might be burned out. Clearly, I am avoiding my studio. The next project I am working on is so close to done. All it needs is the magnetic pieces made as a clasp, and then sewing the sides to the body with binding. Everything is cut and ready, but I cannot move forward.

Its not burnout. It is having the illusion of perfectionism. I found this illustration someone made for one of Brene Brown's books. Self-compassion is how you cultivate something positive in your mind or life, rather than staying in the illusion of perfectionism. Clearly, I am also experiencing numbing powerlessness, wanting that need for certainty, and having self-doubt and wanting some sense of control over the project.

For many years now, I would quilt every day for hours. I didn't come into my studio all weekend. I honestly believe what blocks me is the illusion of perfectionism rather than burnout. Burnout is a cop out not really what is stopping me from working. I am simply afraid that I will screw up the Weekender Tote so rather than screw it up, I won't work on it. I know it is silly, but it is honestly how I feel.

Friday, November 3, 2017


This is the 11th block of the month. It is nice to lay them out so selecting fabrics gets to be even more a coordinated effort.

I got them cut and laid out for piecing. Of course, its all in steps, so I am going slow to do it correctly. This block has a white background with three other colors.

There are 4 fabrics, and the design is quite interesting. The author used fabrics that were almost the same value and blended more, just having different sized prints on them. I like how this one turned out, and admittedly, had no idea how it would work when I selected fabrics. I am pleased.

The other quilt-along will be released on Monday, so I need to continue working on other items. My side-bar has a list.

I spent more time running errands this morning, which is dangerous because the holiday stuff is out and the music is on. My Grandkids all want money, yet, personally I want to tuck a small gift in with it too. They can say what they want, when it comes to getting a gift, everyone is there!!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Comfort Quilt

The administration for one of the Swap Bot groups fell to me when the originator for the group decided to leave and is enrolled full time in college. Not sure if it is undergrad or grad work.

So one of the swaps I organized for the holiday season is a Sender's Choice and is for a seasonal object involving your art. Well, mine is quilting. Then, I realized the swap assigns partners too late for this to work, and decided to send it as a comfort quilt to a single friend who is recovering from surgery.

This is a double-sided quilt, with two very different looks. When I send it, I will be sure to include laundry instructions and tell the participant that it is a utility quilt, meant to be used and worn out by the person, perhaps going in the trunk of her car for emergencies or even in a kennel or as a pet bed.

My machine was acting up and acting out. I was really glad this quilt would be leaving in Saturday's mail. This friend is expecting some Lemongrass from my garden and hopefully will be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

MQ #3 & One to Ship

I finished this BOM some time ago and its been waiting to go out. Saturday is the day. It is gift wrapped, a letter to go with it for washing / drying instructions, and why I made it. 

Then out the door it goes on Saturday. It is meant as a personal lap quilt, but this is what it looks like laid out over my queen sized bed, going side to side & top to bottom.

The other holiday scrappy quilt is ready for binding. The machine sounds strange. I've had to change needles twice, and it wants to use a more free motion stitch, so its been a struggle. If I wanted to free motion, sure as anything, it would resist. Hah!

Rico coughed a lot today but just a bit of flem. I thought about taking him into the vet, but have decided that he just has a cold. He is eating and drinking water, and not really hiding out. I will baby him a bit and see how it goes.

Three Good Things / Day 45:
  1. The last of the 2017 is ready to ship out
  2. I decided to read detective mystery books in November
  3. This is the last day for 3GT. I got it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Machine Quilting / Day 2

I got about halfway done with the simple grid stitches. By grid, I mean this quilt will have diagonal stitches starting in one corner and going to each side. I still struggle with the stitches because I put the quilting foot on for the measuring tool and then the machine gives it the opportunity to waver. And it does.

Anyway, it is getting done and so might be finished today. There is a chill in the house because it is only 42 degrees outside. I feel mighty lucky to have worked in the gardens yesterday with warmer temps. 

Three Good Things / Day 44:

  1. Rico seems to be getting better. He is still sneezing but not as harsh as to wrack his little body
  2. It is "Trunk or Treat" in town tonight. Always fun to attend
  3. Didn't make soup last night, however it is good soup weather for White Beans and Kale.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Machine Quilting

Because it is Autumn where leaves fall, vines dry up and even the house needs cleaning, I haven't been quilting. My Rico-Cat got sick with a cold, congestion, runny nose and sneezing, so a LOT of my time was cleaning up after him. He's better now, but the gardens are in need of tending.

Primarily what needs tending are vines. I filled the trash container with them and need to vacuum up dried leaves for composting next week. I can only do as much as one trash container per week but will toss mulch into a bag & save it. In truth, I will most likely pull more of the vines and press them down in the container. Once I get going with a task, I want it done. The back wall looks bare now as it should for Winter.

I started machine quilting the holiday lap quilt, and plan to take my time running the simple grid stitching. I say that, and will most likely push myself to get it done too. 

Day 43:

  1. I have energy, stamina and flexibility to do yard work
  2. I love working in the gardens
  3. I am making white bean and kale soup for dinner.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pillow Top

It would have been easier to have more ties for this pillow, but this works. l appliqued around the points to make it more secure, and it looks nice.

Its interesting how it turned out, a bit random and yet coordinated. I suppose that if a person made more of these, they could figure out a way to make it less random, but it is fine for a pre-teen boy as a memento of his Father lineage. I want to add another layer of batting and then will applique stitch the borders on too. 

And then I made an apron for an exchange on Swapbot. I used my holiday apron as a pattern. It hangs on a knob all year long and every once in awhile I remember to use it. This one is more for baking than it is for entertaining so I hope she can use it. I tried a different method for straps, which are the parts to aprons that crump up the most.

Three Good Things / Day 42:
  1. My Grandson got 5 A's and 2 B's, so it seems he is well-adjusted
  2. Rico is sneezing less, but it really does seem like a cold, so if he is not better by Monday will see a Vet
  3. I am quilting again! 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tie Pillow

My FatherInLaw passed some years ago now, and when he did I took what was left of his business ties. There weren't many left so my guess is that these half dozen are the ones he wore in later years. He always dressed quite professionally. Well, they have been kicking around in my closet, and I found a way to use them even though I have long since abandoned the pattern.

I cut off the ends to get a prairie point look, and I took a square of batting for foundation, then sewed some tie pieces to give it a better look in case the tips flip up, and have been doing my best to make them look random. I've run out of the ends and am now at the place of making my own. The ties are all in browns, blues and grays with one red, so will look nice together.

I have a pillow form with a gold cover that I will use as the foundation for this, and will keep working on it til its done.

This man was good friends with my Daddy and while both were alive, they met for breakfast almost every day to talk about their Grandsons. At the memorial for my Father, I saw his friend standing at the back of the room, and of course waved him and my former Husband to sit with family in front.

The longer one lives, the less able they become in body, mind and spirit, and so it was for him. It is a joy to make this pillow.

I believe that women follow their Mother-line and men follow their Father-line. My younger Son has a Son, so they have this lineage. I'll send it to them and they can decide whether to use it, save it or give it away.

And then, I basted a Holiday scrap quilt. This one goes in a Sender's Choice swap for the holiday and will be sent in a few weeks. It's small and I'll do a simple machine quilting over it, then trim and bind it. This one gave me a chance to use up holiday scraps. They always say to send something you would like to have and if I wasn't a quilter, this would be a cozy wrap for in front of the video screen.

Three Good Things / Day 41:
  1. More of the vines out back are turning crispy
  2. Thrash pick up will give me space to pull more vines and even do some leaf blowing
  3. I love Autumn Days!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Washing Windows

My housekeeper worked her fingers to the bone (so to speak) yesterday and while she got all the inside tasks on the list I made, she didn't have time to do windows. So I hauled the ladder outside and washed three of them myself. What a chore!

I didn't get any quilting done yesterday either and chose to run errands instead. Weather was quite lovely here and it was so nice to be out in it.
Three Good Things / Day 40:

  1. I am amazed that I have been thinking like this for 40 days. Life is good
  2. Had a very long chat with Mother in a MN Nursing Home. She is quite content with her life there, which is surprising. The fall she had years ago was indeed life-changing for her. As it brought on dementia, it took away her aggressive / assertive personality. She is easy to talk with now, which had not been the case for me
  3. Prayer flags on the arbor are starting to show up again now that the leaves are falling.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mug Rug for Befana

I am presenting a series of exchanges on Swap Bot as I introduce a Goddess of the month. The most recent one is in honor of LaBefana whose feasta is on January 6. She is the Italian gift bringer who goes down the chimney to leave her presents for children, and uses her broom to clean their rooms.

The suggestion is to make a house of any style or medium. Sender's choice. I made a mug rug with the 6" house block pattern. The back is a winter blue with batik snowflakes, so it is perfect for a January piece.

The house block was one of many given to me in that color scheme though all of them are different fabrics. It didn't take me long to cut batting and machine quilt around the beige fabric. Now that the primary part of the swaps are finished, I can add other things from my stash to clean it out.

Three Good Things / Day 39:
  1. Glad to have found materials for this project that made it easy to start quilting again
  2. My cold is almost gone after 11 days
  3. Prayer flags are starting to show through on the arbor as the leaves fall off.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ready to Begin Again

I finished almost all the cleaning and organizing work in my studio, & of course the housekeeper comes on Wednesday to do mirrors, windows, the ceiling fan and light fixtures. There is one more bin of papers I plan to sort later today. 

It really feels good in here and looks organized. My project table is as clear as it was the day I put it in here. It took me awhile to straighten wires for the computer parts. Three of them had one end unconnected. I want to go back and tag each one with its function so I don't need to spend so much time trying to figure out what they do or where they go.

This is the shelf/area I have for shipping resources. The door opens to hide it, but it also is organized. I plan to make and send cookies to Family before the holidays and bought tins and have some boxes to put them in. Also, some of this is for Swap-bot exchanges. Having everything in one place makes it easier to remember what is there as well as putting more into each package. This all represents things that can be passed along that served me well at one time, and no longer spark joy.

My last quilt (finished a couple of months ago) is ready to ship in a few weeks, as is the 12 Days of Christmas swap, both of which can go out on the same day.

As soon as the bins near the shelf unit are empty, they will go into the closet and hold quilt projects. I can tell I feel better about getting back into the past time. 

Three Good Things / Day 38:

  1. I feel a sense of hopefulness about quilting again, which is different from what I felt when I first started
  2. What I did here in the studio created a more healthy space to continue quilting
  3. Lord of the Rings audiobook playing in the background.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

What Happens Next

As I organized again today, I found things in containers & on shelves that are actually UFOs. I don't know how many years ago I started some tree skirts. I saw the pattern with the foundation fabric in the bag (yes it was a project in a grocerybag - PIG), and just shifted it into a different container, and put it away. I have no intention to even go forward, however, Its not getting tossed or passed along. I need a new UFO list. It is a UFO now. Officially.
One of the things discussed on the Jungian Webnar today is how we fall in love and how that cycles from passion to death of the relationship, and back again. It was meant to examine people relationships, and I could relate to it. However, as the day progressed, I thought how it relates to my quilting. There is this sort of attraction and passion when a person first starts... a relationship or a past time. 

It ferments and grows. But then there is this death to the illusion of what we think it is or who the person is to us. That is the time we start seeing flaws. And then the cycle continues with the vapor of the dying essence where you either run from it or stay for a rebirth. This is the third stage and time for the FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE syndrome to kick in. If one is healthy, this is the stage that they leave a dysfunctional relationship. 

But what about a past time like quilting? I mean there are no angry arguments, nothing to push your buttons. Its all about you and what you do and how you do it. Oh sure, I could find all sorts of reasons to bail on quilting, but no one would be pushing me away.

Now, rebirth, whether it describes a relationship or this love of quilting is never the same as it was the first time around. It cannot be. When one thing changes, everything changes.

I have been having a very hard time getting on with my quilting projects these last few weeks, and have been doing all sorts of different things as a distraction. Maybe I do that every year after finishing up the quilts I want to send out for the holidays. This year was particularly difficult.

There is one more quilt that needs to go out, but not for a couple of weeks. Soon.

And then my sidebar here on the blog shows me the way to go on. 

Questions the instructor asked about why we stay in relationships included what the benefits were to staying. For some of us, its financial. Secure. But then we might stay and the partner could leave after all we did to negotiate. You never know.

The big message he had for us is to be fiercely real. To recognize that we often have lied to ourselves and others to stay in the relationship, but there comes a day when telling our truth is the only way.

So to my quilting.

I have learned my limitations in what I can do. I see my shortcomings, for instance reading patterns. Its not about beating myself up for the negatives I have come to see in myself. It IS about figuring out the raw truth. I like making lists so I can see what I think...

Pro side:

  • I have quilts planned to finish and to start
  • There is a lot of fabric still good enough to make beautiful quilts
  • I do see an end to it
  • Using the fabric I have and shopping from my closet first is good for the environment
  • I have an entire bin of projects ready to go
Con Side:
  • I hate how the machine quilting turns out
  • I feel driven as a perfectionist
  • Quilting stops me from writing because I run out of steam
  • Scrap quilting doesn't always turn out to be as lovely as when a person buys everything new from the fabric store
  • I may never finish what I have in my life time

Three Good Things / Day 37:
  1. Life is getting more clear
  2. I attended a Webnar for my Jungian Psych course
  3. I am keeping the candle this week.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Clean Up, Clean Up

I thought about moving into the great room of my home. I was able to do that with the IMac, but now, everything is connected to the router. My studio is painted a light blue for walls and a darker blue ceiling. It faces west, and I have a large wall in back so it doesn't get as much sun as the rooms in the east. 

So, oh well. 

For the goal of making this room 'winter-worthy', I am dusting what I can reach with the ladder and from standing on the floor. I rearranged what was on the shelves so I could get layers of dust. It surprised me how much dust there was. Some items went into the thrift store box.

How is this quilting? Even better, how is it spiritual? When I move things, from my body to my stuff, my awareness goes with me. When I focus my awareness on something, I see that thing, whether it is my body or my environment with a lot more awareness.

For me, order is important. It helps clear my thoughts if I don't have to focus on dust or something that no longer sparks joy for me.

Lately, this cold & cough have taken my energy. How much of that is dust related, who knows? I haven't felt like doing anything. Yet, this morning, I felt like my own inner tornado wanting to get this studio clean. I know I am not as flexible on the ladder as I used to be. I know that my energy is not as strong. Maybe this will be one of the last times I get up on that ladder. Maybe next time, my housekeeper will handle the task. 

Three Good Things / Day 36:

  1. The studio is dusted, re-organized with clear energy
  2. Studio windows were washed down from the outside
  3. I am keeping my Elliptical Trainer, after considering its sale.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Making Backs

One of my goals in cutting and saving various sized squares is to make quilt backs. It takes a bit more time than if I were to go to the fabric store and buy either a 108" piece to fit, or to join two lengths to fit. We are not owed conveniences as much as we take them without a lot of thought about how our actions might impact the greater good.
When I realized how much waste the average person on Earth was generating, especially here in the USA, I decided to incorporate practices that were ecologically better. I don't always do as good as some might, but do as good as I can.

These 8" squares come from projects I did or from fabrics given to me from others.  I've joined 7 blocks across and down to make the start of a back that will work on a future quilt. The way it works is that either squares will be added or removed to fit the top. I am going to start a bin with these backs, with sizes noted for easy matching. Also, if enough of them are made, it is possible for two of them to make a quick quilt.

Three Good Things / Day 35:

  1. I am making quilt backs again as a way to conserve resources
  2. My Older Son (a plumber in MN) told me that it is wind from above that might blow out pilot light
  3. Leaves are turning colors.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Weekender Tote

The Project was pinned to attach straps and I remembered, so that is what part of it I did today. I've bought magnetic clasps but am not sure how to proceed with that part and may go back to the store for help.

I double-stitched the strap at the pockets for my own peace of mind. I like how it looks and decided to give it to my younger Son for his birthday in Februrary rather than to send it for Winter Solstice. Two things. First, by delaying it, I won't feel pressured to finish it. By delaying it for a birthday gift, I can take my time to make the Outhouses quilt for my older Son's birthday.

Meanwhile, I made Crock Pot VEGAN Split Pea Soup. I started enough for two pots so let it cook on the stove awhile and then divided it. One half is in jars and will go to the pot when this part is eaten. A taste test surprised me at how much it is like one made with a ham hock.

Three Good Things / Day 34:
  1. I am here
  2. October Birthday quilt boxed and ready to ship
  3. I got a good night's sleep and feel refreshed today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Block #3

I kept going with the Appliqued blocks and am now caught up with the blockpattern releases. This one was easier to do because I was in the space it takes. The way the pattern maker had the work portioned was to cut all the pieces in advance so it was more assembly when you got to this stage. 

The applique work meant that you traced the pattern onto iron-on paper, select fabrics & press pieces in place. Then the pieces get cut and laid out on the white square. The trick is to put bigger house parts on first and then simply layer roof, door, windows, trees or flowers and finally add grass.

Three Good Things / Day 33:

  1. Made another crock pot soup, which was quite yummy & was a corn chowder, more to be made as needed
  2. Leaves in the gardens have begun to turn from green into reds, and then go brown
  3. It seems that Boo, the Cat from next door, is keeping ground critters away.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Applique Quilt-Along

Ernest Hemingway said that 'Courage is grace under pressure'. I am not sure I feel at all pressured by my quilting projects for the remaining part of the year. There is one left to ship and it is ready to go. Yet, in truth, pressure is felt in more than the obvious ways. Sometimes there is pressure when I avoid my work.

This applique project has four blocks and three of them have been released. Also, I want to do one with Outhouses on it for my older Son. This one will help me see how colors blend according to the pattern.

This was my beginning work on block #2. I drew and cut out the applique iron-ons. The HSTs were ready to cut as were strips for the border blocks. There is a lot to do on these blocks and luckily, I am not too far behind. 

I dealt with my nonsensical resistance to the project. The applique part of the block took a couple hours to finish. It actually was fun. All the other parts were just assembly from that point forward. I like this one better than the first and learned how to lay the iron-on onto the back side of the fabric so it follows the pattern.

This is a quilt made with scraps. And I think it is going to be really nice when it is finished.

I am not sure what the issue was to getting back to quilting. I've been guessing. For instance, nothing I have going has an immediate deadline. Another was just feeling inept. All my reasons or excuses were silly. No one to jump start me. I had to decide if I wanted to keep at it or stop. I am back.

Three Good Things / Day 32:
  1. Plants are just leaping with growth now that the drought lifted
  2. I learned that one of the differences a person can tell is that the tail of the Crow looks like a fan, and the tail of a Raven looks like a wedge
  3. Only Ravens live here in the Valley.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Prep Work

I have a basket that I toss project leftovers into so that I can cut them into the standard scrap sizes. It takes awhile to do this, which is why I let them collect. Then I put on a TV show & cut. 

Its caught up now. The basket is empty again and there are more squares filling that one collection bin. The first stack to the left is for fabrics that are more than 1/8 of a yard at WOF and some may measure out to be as much as a yard long. I colorized them and will put them in a bin of their own. That bin is where I draw larger pieces from to go with patterns. The middle pile contains everything from 10" to 2.5" squares and will go in the scrappy bin. The strips on the far end are 2.5" and have a few uses from strip quilting to the carnival look for binding.

I like to do this every once in awhile because it reduces the volume of fabric, cutting away what isn't really going to be used in what I do. Also, having pre-cuts is of value in so many ways, including speedy retrieval for what I do want to use in a project. I know exactly what I have.

Three Good Things / Day 31:
  1. Donated 3 full bags of household and clothing items to the thrift store
  2. Bought simple gifts online for the holiday, relieving myself of the usual stress I feel trying to come up with ideas for everyone
  3. Will be able to give-away a bedspread set that I have held onto for over 2 decades. This is sort of a silly thing and yet is a huge event.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Finish

Non-quilting projects are a challenge to me, however, I have learned that they are good practice.

After many stops and starts, I finished the Day 12 gift for the swap. This is a pincushion organizer with a thread catcher. It didn't turn out the way I would have liked it. Again, the pattern was so difficult for me. The directions were less clear. For instance, it did not say to put right sides together, and the pics were not clear to show right sides because there was not enough contrast. Whine. It is a pincushion that sits on the edge of a table, and the thread catcher is removable. There are pockets to tuck in rippers or scissors for easy holding.

Anyway, its done, in a box, wrapped and tagged. That project is finished.

Three Good Things / Day 30:
  1. Warm enough outside to open windows
  2. Breezes have carried smoke from fires north of us out of the valley
  3. I enjoyed watching DR. STRANGE yesterday and plan to watch it again today.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Auntie Mary's Towels

So many decades ago, my Auntie Mary (Daddy's Sister) would crochet hangers for kitchen towels for me. I had them for every season and holiday. Well, they last because I switch them out, but last year, I could see how really bad they were looking. 
Thing is newer towels are not made as well. So what I did for the Fall versions was to cut off the tops of her towels by an inch, cut the new towels in half and do 2 stitches across to join the old top with new ones. My calculations say I pulled 6 old towels out and put 3 new ones (cut in half).  These are service towels that I hang so I can wipe wet hands. I am going to do this for all the old towels as I am able.

Three Good Things / Day 29:

  1. Watched NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS as well as the extras and can hardly wait to go back to Disneyland to ride the ride again. So much went into the ride that I have missed
  2. Got my errands run & am home to continue recovering from my cold
  3. Leaves are turning color in the Western garden.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Black Cat Border

In an effort to quilt again, I started with a simple project that put two borders on a  scrappy 12-block Log Cabin. Scrappy, for me, means shopping from my closet first. I used a lot of Halloween fabric and have learned that I can join pieces if one of them is not the exact size. Quilting is always easy on a Log Cabin. I just need backing and batting.

The first border (black) frames the center Log Cabins, and the second border (orange with black cats) makes the focus. I used more of the black on each of the corners so I could make the 2nd border 4.5" wide. Its just a little border treatment trick I learned when you don't have enough fabric. It needs threads clipped and pressing, but is enough for now and will be finished as a 2018 quilt for my Granddaughter who just got a little black kitty.

Three Good Things / Day 28

  1. I am quilting again in spite of the cold dragging me down
  2. My housekeeper came yesterday and cleaned the corner bookshelf in my studio, and dusted off all my dolls on the top shelf
  3. I packaged another quilt to go out on Saturday.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

All I Can Do is Laugh

I started piecing the 12th Day for that Christmas swap gift, having labeled all the pieces cut earlier this month. And of course, I could blame my vision, and while that is true, I have had trouble reading patterns from time to time. 

Okay, I admit that following instructions for anything is hard for me. It was endearing when I was younger. Now, it is an irritant.

First of all, one of the pieces was cut 1/2" too short. THEN I read the pattern to make the bag section of it by sewing the corners on the short side of the bag. It wasn't until I got to the facing part that goes over the top of the bag that I discovered I pieced it the long way rather than the short way. Long / short. Words too easily misunderstood. How about horizontal / vertical? Or put an arrow? Sigh.

This is the first try. Then, I found fabric & re-cut 3 pieces to correct it so it works as a thread catcher. I've got the bag made (see below) with facing with batting on, pressed and pieced on the bag itself. Luckily, it doesn't get shipped until mid-November, so there is lots of time. Its hard to tell by the photos, but the one above is long and shallow.

The thread catcher bag is done according to the pattern now, round & deep. I like how large this bag is because I can get my hand in it to take out the thread. Mine works to catch but not retrieve so I may make one of myself some time, or use the ill chosen parts and adapt them so they work.

The loop for the button is done & the button attached. 

I am not sure how it is supposed to look with the fabric choices I made. Once again, I think I read the pattern and didn't understand it. Thing is, I am getting a cold, so now is not the time to try and think logically. I selected a blue solid for the pocket panel (and believe I might have chosen unwisely). All the other gifts for the swap are done & wrapped, so there is time to make adjustments on this final project. 

If the blue solid fabric doesn't work, it will be my sample, and I can cut another piece.

I need to be a bit more gentle with myself because for the few times I do mis-read a pattern, there have been many, many more where I was successful.

Three Good Things / Day 27:
  1. Coffee
  2. Coffee made with filtered water
  3. Coffee with Italian Sweet Cream. Yes coffee.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Its getting colder here in the mountains and so the heat is on in the house. I am not sure if I need another day to do nothing at all or if I will find some craft to fill my day. Either way, I am being gentle with myself.
Three Good Things / Day 26

  1. Made a Thai Carrot Soup yesterday that was so yummy!
  2. A book lists came in the mail with pages of suggestions for audiobook listening. I like having them on while I work and am able to multi-task
  3. Our water is pretty close to perfect here in the valley, yet I filter one more time and get great coffee each morning.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


This Jungian Psych course I've been taking for 3 quarters has gotten really difficult. The Instructor posted a response to the questions most of us have about why the course is so difficult and if there is light at the end of the tunnel. No he said, it is never easy to do depth psychology. There is no quick and easy answer to your personal mystery, no happily ever after. All that is an illusion. 'So why?' we whine. And he laughs.

I have compulsions, complexes, crazy behavior. Some times I realize my origin stories, sometimes I keep searching.

And so I quilt. Just when I have a little time, I start thinking I will join this swap or that quilt-along, or maybe even buy into a BOM club for $10 to register and $29.99 each month for the next year to 14 months.

And then I stop myself.
Thing is, when I stop, I really stop. Right now, my stopping is so still that I can't get started again. One of my friends asked me if I was burned out and maybe is a good answer. Honestly, I don't know. There is always tomorrow. I have a list of things I plan to do and know I will get to them soon enough.

Three Good Things / Day 25:
  1. Shopping in the big city (Palmdale) reminds me to take a list or plan to over-spend. Yes, why yes I did.
  2. I bought Mother candy for her birthday. It is the least I can do from long distance. She is in a nursing home with advancing dementia so has few things she can receive or remembers she likes
  3. I have everything I need for several projects.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Everyone Has Their Own Pace

I finished the October BOM. Over the years I have tried not to compare my pace with others. Although I have been quite arrogant and used to say that I could dance circles around people half my age, I probably still can. My arrogance still shows up. Yet, now honestly, I pace myself to my own rhythms. 

Actually that is the challenge for me. I put pressure on myself to finish what I start & always seem to give myself deadlines. My pace was getting to be too much to keep at it so hard without getting burned out. I fell behind with the BOMs simply because of that. I rather like this block with its brighter colors. September is so pastel.

Three Good Things / Day 24:
  1. My older Son asked for a new quilt (his middle Daughter moved out on her own & took all of hers). He gets it that Winter is Coming
  2. The melodrama, DRACULA'S GREAT ADVENTURE was so fun
  3. Shopped at Cost Plus Market before any sort of holiday rush and found candy to ship to Mother.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sept & Oct BOM

Although this isn't pressed, here is the corrected block for September.
I am not really liking my fabric choices, yet think they will balance out with the other blocks when the quilt is completed. Pressing helps with the look of it all. And this one goes in the box awaiting the remaining three blocks to finish out the year.

I did work on the October block and have part of it completed. I am being gentle with myself and getting back to quilting a little at a time. I looked at some of the links for the Rail Fence quilts to get ideas for the back. I think it will be the classic version so it doesn't detract from the top.

Three Good Things / Day 23:

  1. The Cemetery Club play at the local theater was funny and heartbreaking. Such good performances, well worth the money
  2. In the light of all the minimizing I have been trying to do, I mailed a small box of Hallows stuff to my oldest Granddaughter whose birthday is on the high holy day. She will love the banner, the apothecary jars, a DVD of PRACTICAL MAGIC, and the other small goodies
  3. I donated all the change I could find in the car when I saw a fundraiser for a local woman shot twice at the concert in the Las Vegas.