Thursday, November 30, 2017

PO Fail

One of the worst nightmares is when a package goes missing. Once again, one of mine is gone. The carrier says it was delivered but the recipient never got it. Nothing to be done. Missing doesn't mean missing when the carrier says it was delivered. Its a done deal. The only way around it is to pay extra to have them sign for it.

I am machine quilting today so just trying to not think about it. The package is non-retrievable. And if a person gets something delivered to them, they are on an honor system to turn it back in. If they opened it, it is gone. This was a holiday present to the Granddaughter who is on her own this first year. It was meant to be special and its gone. I am deeply disappointed.

Thing is, another package might be missing too. It is also listed as being delivered. Sigh. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Basting Day

I really love this quilt. I say that with many of them, yet this one holds my heart right now. Things change, but usually by the time the quilt comes to the clubhouse and gets pin basted, I have found a passion with it.

Usually during the basting session, I make a choice for how to machine quilt it. At first my plan was to vertically channel stitch it. However, it is 3 blocks wide by 5 blocks long, so it needs the optical illusion that adds more to it side to side. I will machine quilt it horizontally.

The next challenge is which thread to use. The back is the same orange as the borders seen on the top. So I am going back and forth on using either orange or black. The 5 panels, obviously are black and would look better with the same color of quilting. However, any wobbling or errant stitches would show the black on orange in the back. I could have one of each, but sometimes the needle will lift the color from the back and show it and little tracks. 

Still thinking.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Comfort Quilt

One of the things I want to do more is make comfort quilts. It seems like I've had so many 'planned' quilts that I haven't taken the time to do them. Well, I have been making what I call quilt backs by piecing the scrap squares. 

Here's the story: A quilt was requested to give comfort. As luck would have it, all my quilts and projects were completed for this year so I agree to it. The guy wanted some tee shirts that belonged to his Step-Father before he passed to be the foundation of the quilt.
Well, he sent me three and they are all Harley-Davidson themed in black, white and orange. I went through all my scraps not knowing what I was going to do. Usually it takes 12 or more of the tee shirts to make a lap quilt.

Luckily, there were enough finished blocks in orange, black and white that I traded in a block swap group I was in years ago.

It took me all morning to piece those blocks with the tee shirt panels, while adding more fabric pieces to make 5 rows. I found an orange batik to make borders (with measuring about 52" x 72") and have enough to do the back as well. I absolutely love it. It needs to be basted, and then be machine quilted and bound. It is the perfect size for a personal lap quilt.

One of my friends commented that she hoped they appreciate the quilt. I have learned over the years not to DO it for anyone else. I take my own joy in creating it from something sitting in my closet. This one is stunning. I hesitate to post it as a commissioned piece because I would not want to get into that. Tee shirt quilts are a lot of work. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Shopping From My Closet

I have an exchange for Swapbot where we make something seasonal for our partner. I thought about the block I am to host of the Guest Designer quilt and realized one of the blocks would work perfectly!

It is a centerpiece table topper. The extra gift is this darling creamer & sugar bowl. I machine quilted a small grid over it and used the same holly fabric for the binding. 

What I like is make these reversible so here is the other side, which I would use more myself if it were mine to keep. 

I was able to iron on the stabilizer for the tee shirt quilt and cut them to size. I found a lot of the orange, white and black 12" blocks that will go perfectly. I plan to spend time playing with layouts before stitching up the top. I found other scraps for the back but need to finish the top before starting on it. I also found a bag of unopened batting AND located everything else that had gone 'missing'.

It was a good day. Lights are hung on the windows, floors dusted and vacuumed, and leaves raked in back (with only a few more to come down). I've set out ingredients to the dolci (sweets) I plan to make and ship on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanks giving Sunday

I've spent the last couple of days working in my gardens, raking & mulching. I've also put away the harvest decor and started bringing in the Winter Solstice things. Right now, I want to string inside lights around the windows and make sure the timers work.

Meanwhile, in the studio, I found the applique fabrics for the last block I am working on, and sorted through everything so I could make a in memory quilt for a woman in MN who will be spending this holiday season alone.

It is my turn to keep the candle & hold energy for a group of Strega Sisters I have belonged to for decades. I try to do something special each day of my week's service. This week, I am using things  I find online and putting in my own prayers: May you be well. May you be happy. May you be loved. May your deep needs be met. May you be brave. 

And for you as well.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gratitude Wednesday

I came home pretty exhausted from my trip to Palmdale. I was able to buy some fusible for the tee-shirt quilt.

The label is embroidered & ready to go on the back. It is such a nice thought of her Son & Daughter to have this quilt made for her from her husband's tee-shirts. I am thinking I will cut a heart-shape for it, stabilize it with some iron-on and hand stitch it to the back. As I look at the pic, I may do something more fancy with the K, or at least extend the 'legs'.

They told me the shirts should be in my PO box on Monday. The back is done. If it goes together easily, with luck, and blessings of the old gods & new, it may be back in the mail to them on December 5. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

There is a Time for Everything

It was almost 3 hours to Ventura, an hour on the Ocean beach, dinner and then 2 hours being inked, and almost 3 hours home. No quilting. Part of my skin wouldn't take the ink so I may need to go for touchups. He wants a pic taken and sent back in 2 weeks. I am ok with that because it means another trip to the ocean.

Today, I put wrapped gifts in family boxes, taped them, labeled them for shipping. No quilting.

I have 3 boxes of holiday cards. First, I'll address and stamp the envelopes. Then I write letters. Maybe I will type them and glue them inside. My hand writing is so bad. All I would need to do after that is sign each one. Stages. No quilting.

Cookie baking comes next. The plan is to bake on Mondays and ship on Tuesdays. No quilting.

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.