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

Gentleness

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

Crazy-making

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. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Day 21

Yesterday of 3 Good Things passed into history with me feeling really crapped out, being on the loveseat, and listening to audiobooks. It was a flair day of Gastroparesis, which have been more rare. Luckily, I had no pressing plans and could just hang.
3GT/ Day 22:

  1. I am feeling back to normal and have plans the remaining part of the weekend which include a play in Bakersfield for Sunday, and one here in town on Saturday night, & a shopping trip to Palmdale 
  2. I saw the mistake in September's BOM, ripped out the square and pinned the correct one in (pics tomorrow)
  3. The 2017 quilts are complete and the 2 remaining quilts are ready to ship, leaving the rest of the year for UFO's and other small projects.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BOM September Block

I worked on the BOM quilt and had a horrific time with the pattern. I contacted the designer for help reading it and while it finally did make sense, she had to change one thing on the pattern. I just couldn't get it. 


Unfortunately, the color choices don't really work for me and I may end up re-making it. It is raw & unpressed. I will lay it out with the other blocks and see if I want to keep it or re-do it. It is correct, but not appealing to me.

It was a little warmer out, however, the bug spray guy came & cautioned me to stay inside for a few hours to let the chemicals settle. We get fierce winds here, though today seemed calm.

Three Good Things / Day 20:

  1. The Kale soup is wonderful, with enough for another day. It had an onion, a can of tomatoes, and a potato so it was really yum.
  2. Jane loves her quilt. They have enough for this year, so are not on my list again until 2019
  3. Rico is feeling good again, yet will stay in his bed high upon a shelf unit in the hall bathroom. He likes having boundaries. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Quilt-alongs

A black fabric I purchased for the first border in a 2018 Halloween quilt reads more brown compared to the blacks on the quilt top. It will work perfectly on the Outhouses quilt so has been re-purposed. There is a sale in town til Saturday where I can buy more of a true black and finish the top. 

I am excited to return to my daily quilting projects. I've cut out both months for the BOM, and the pin cushion table mat, so those projects are ready to piece. The machine is clean and bobbins loaded.
Three Good Things / Day 19:
  1. Sorted & cut Fabrics for 2 of the BOM blocks. It had been easy to set these projects aside at this time of the year as I finished quilts with deadlines rather than to just do them each month. I dislike procrastinating & yet find that I am less obsessed with getting things done on time
  2. I am stretching my comfort zones when it comes to paper crafting and have found a way to use old calendars. Now if I could cut up some of my favorite magazines
  3. The trash haulers gave us a huge re-cycling bin.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Gathering More Fabrics

I printed off more of the directions for the Outhouses quilt, and looked at the varieties others are making. I haven't really caught up with what I want to be doing the remaining part of the year. The last 2 quilts for this year are complete, so everything else is extra. My next project is the last needed for this year with a shipping deadline for mid-November.

As I look at how the Outhouses quilt blocks are drawn, the first thing I did was to find fabric for the ground because it is in all 4 blocks. Then I tried to coordinate borders and blocks with the scraps that make up the Outhouses. I don't have the focus fabric for top and bottom borders as of yet, and may wait until the top is ready for it.

Sigh, this was a simple task, and nothing really for piecing or using the machine. I am being gentle with myself. This is only the 2nd day after my trip to Vegas.


Three Good Things/Day 18:
  1. I started cutting back vines on the garden wall. The challenge is not stepping on the strings of lights; they are ok & lighting up the night
  2. Rico seems better today and is not yakking or releasing his bowels outside his box
  3. Both Sons, DIL, & Granddaughters texted or called to learn the story of how it was in Vegas & to say how glad they were we were all safe.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Vegas Aftermath

My younger Son contacted me right away before I heard the news (I don't have a TV but FB reports are frequent) to say they were in the chaos but he kept Jane from going into the crowd so they were safe. I didn't want to post anything because at that first time, no one really knew what was happening. The trip home on the 15 seemed odd for how slow traffic was until we got to the border where the Nevada / California police were checking each car. 


Then, this morning texts and calls came in on my phone because I had posted a pic of us in front of the glided MGM lion, which was all blurry but said where we were. Crowds from the concert ran past the MGM, fleeing for their lives.

I can get streaming on this computer hookup and so watched while I cleaned cat yak from the floor and carpet. Guess he got stressed I was gone. Anyway, such feelings from everyone in the news just left me sensing that I could clean and do laundry but to let the other stuff, like quilting go until another day.

Three Good Things / Day 17
  1. Vegas has changed a lot, with more buildings, a different way to play the slots (I won almost $150 on penny slots)
  2. I did cut down some vines off the back wall & put them in the trash
  3. The sun is shining

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Outhouse Quilt

My older Son is a plumber. In fact, he teaches new candidates for the Union he is in. He has most likely never seen an old style outhouse, but will love this one when I finish it for him next year.


Sometimes the hardest part of making a quilt is finding fabrics. I got the drawings of the 4 blocks and searched my stash for bits and pieces that would make wood, roofs, and stonework. Next I bought a piece of powder blue for the background of the blocks. 

The block designer suggested cutting pieces in different directions to make it look different in each block and yet coordinate. Now that all this part is assembled, I need to find the coordinating FQ's for borders and sashing. I got the 4 sketches of the outhouses and can applique them first & then find the remaining fabrics.

Three Good Things / Day 17:

  1. It was a great day in Las Vegas with my Son & Jane. While tragedy struck there later in the evening, my family is safe. (praying for those involved)
  2. She loved the Cat mug rug
  3. I won almost $150 on penny slots. Crazy!!!