Monday, June 18, 2018

And Now, The Back

Back of quilts that I make can be either another quilt made of scraps, which I am working hard to do, or it can be one piece made of 108" wide material, or like this one which is the look of a solid.

This pattern looks like chicken wire. It was selected for the quilt because the family raises chickens, though I think they let them have free range. It didn't really require any matching because of the pattern. Sometimes, the need is to match the repeats so that things line up. Personally, I like the back of the quilts against my body so that the top of the quilt can be top up and shows off the work. 

The back of the quilt is very important to finish things off. Earlier in my work, I tried some of the suggestions for backs using larger blocks and arranging them horizontally and vertically. While it worked to serve as a back, it didn't appeal to me as much. So now, I like joining smaller scraps into simple 9-patch blocks or just random rows.

Anyway, this back is done and both top & bottom are ready to sandwich and baste at the clubhouse. I need to finish the fabric bin and boxes, and get on with the BOMs.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cutting Scraps

Once a quilt is pieced and ready to sandwich for basting, it is time to cut scraps into usable squares or strips. Its another one of my practices to stay organized. 
First of all, I just have one room for my studio & use the closet to store bins. Then, its all about retrieving pre-cuts to use them for backs or in some cases, creating a top. It is fun for me to see change that comes from adding new squares. I try to keep it simple on the back and just do random layouts.

I love how this top turned out. The gray I bought is the same color value as the other ones and makes a great third border. Of course photos never do the quilt justice. It is always more attractive in person. This quilt measures 73" square now & will take almost 5 yards for the back & 2/3 of a yard for binding.

It took me some time to get back into the passion of this fabric art after almost 5 weeks of not quilting. I am trying to do the work with Essential Tremors.  Being steady-handed is a huge challenge, so I AM working at a slower pace. Slowing down is meant to be less stressful. However, it is hard for me. 


I used smaller, narrow shavings to fill two cat blankets. Cats seem to like sitting on their own fleece blankets, so it becomes a nice gift. Usually shavings go in the trash, so this is one way to quilt green. These fleece pillows can be washed, & tossed after comforting little kitties.

This new method of pacing myself means doing more dedicated quilting. My to-do list is always at the side bar on this blog, with months, to help remind me of projects. I am still behind on the BOM's and hope to tackle them next. From now on, when I finish a quilt, I will offer it as is, rather than to make another and stress myself out.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

First Two Borders

The first two borders are some of the lighter gray prints, both of which I had. The last border is fabric bought yesterday in the big city. While the 'old' me would have continued until this top was completed, I am content to get this far and relax. In fact, after shopping again, and plans to attend a play at the local theatre, I am done for the day. 

Usually I would fret about the top yet have learned, over the years, if the fabrics coordinate before being cut, they will coordinate on the quilt. The fabric almost has a chicken wire look to it, and so I did find a black with white for the back that looks more like chicken wire. It will be a nice balance. I also bought a dark gray thread to quilt with and think its going to be a lovely quilt when it is done. 

The lesson for this all is just to trust the process and that things have a way of working out.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Blue Not Gray

Sometimes when I select colors for a quilt, the quilt doesn't come out the way I planned. This one is still under construction, so the final look is yet to be determined. It looks blue and I really want it to look gray.

It is a 16-block Log Cabin. So the last couple of days have been spent constructing the blocks and piecing them. It measures 55.5" square before the light gray border. That border will only look like half an inch when the next one is attached, which will be the same fabric as the first light on the blocks. Then I have enough of other gray fabrics to make a second and perhaps another small third before adding the focus fabric for the last border and binding.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Little Boxes

With another fabric box done, it seems like I got on my way to quilting again!


This one is made 'traditionally' as I knew how with two 11" squares & batting, stitched, quilted, then corners sewn & hand stitched, finishing with buttons on all 4 sides.

Admittedly, the next style I am planning is something I haven't done before, so it is a bit intimidating. However, with two of them completed for the October birthday gift, I could fill them with odds & ends to demonstrate their usefulness, and call it a gift as they are. If I get the other one done, good, and if not, okay. They need to ship out mid-September to get there on time. 


I shifted focus to a Log Cabin quilt planned for an anniversary gift in August. I love the Log Cabin pattern and bought more than enough fabric for 16 blocks. However, I measured what I bought without the pattern to guide the purchase & did not really have enough for borders & the back. Some pieces were just too small and some were more than I needed. Oh well.

There is enough to get started and takes a thoughtful layout. Its going to be an interesting quilt because the blue is on one side and three shades of gray for the other. Two of the grays sort of blend but I am ok with that if they do. Every time I make one of the Log Cabins, they turn out so very different and are always appealing. The colors and layout really change it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What IS Going On?

I cut some of the stiffer lining/batting to use as sides for some fabric boxes.

It is a start. This lining material takes up a lot of space in the batting bin and will serve as a great stiffening agent. I haven't used this kind of batting for the fabric boxes before and will start with the smaller ones first. I laughed at my thought process because if it doesn't work, I will keep whatever I make, which is very unusual for me. Usually I give away everything.

The next thing I need to do is actually start sorting again. It seems like I do this all the time, however, my fabrics have gotten sort of jumbled as I went on searches for things that match. One of the halting moments comes when I think I have fabrics for a block only to discover there is not enough. What I need to do with THOSE pieces is to trim them down and put them in the pre-cut bins.

Maybe doing this behind the scenes work will help me get started quilting again.

Monday, June 11, 2018

BOM UFOs

I tried catching up to the BOMs without much luck. 

I sent off the mug rug for the swap without taking a photo.

It feels like all my quilt projects are UFOs right now. I could step into a real whine-pitty-pot. 

Every project, be it gardening or scrap booking. Its all the same. Hard to get back to any of them. And why? Am I burned out? Maybe. I think its a matter of just doing one thing and doing the next thing. It is a matter of figuring out what is blocking my progress, my process, my plan. I want to finish these quilting projects. I want to finish the two scrapbooks. I want to write the letters, write the book. I do.

So what am I doing? For one thing, working in my life is myfitnesspal.com. I changed the daily cal count to 900 and though that is low for most people, it is what works for me. I can record each meal, each exercise, the water I drink. With this program, I am able to lower my carb count and raise the proteins I eat. I can see other nutrients and am eating so much more than usual even at 900 cals. 

The IPad provides me a place to list out what I want to do and delete what is done. Maybe this is enough for now. It helps. The IPad also helps me nap during the day, getting more sleep, which I need so much. Maybe the food and sleep are a huge start. Also, I am playing games. Me. Games. The games help with memory and with language.

I need to give myself a time frame to get back to the quilting projects. Not so much a deadline. Well, maybe yes. I just don't know and am going with the process.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mug Rug

I am in a mug rug swap and tried something that didn't quite work for me to send. And, as a practice very new to me, I am keeping it.


I need one for now and this is fine. I like these colors and have it on my desk. Originally, I got 2 blocks from a woman in Italy which were finished too big for the quilt requirements, and so they were set aside. One of the blocks remains and could work as a mug rug later. 

Meanwhile, I need to spend time with the BOMs that are ready to cut. I find that I am becoming more gentle with myself as far as the projects I want to do. I've got them all in a pile and will tackle them one at a time to finish one at a time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

For All Those BOMs

Sorting colors to work with the sampler BOM quilts I am doing takes time. For one thing, each block must be different. I mixed up a couple of them and did two in a similar color way so one needs to go elsewhere and be re-done for the quilt.

It also meant finding colors to do the holiday pillows. I even found a gray 'frost' for the Befana hair figures. The center of the medallion quilt was folded into other fabrics, which made me search through all the bins. Yet, there it was, in the bin labeled for it. Hidden. If I learned anything, again, once more, it is to label and leave notes to self. Clearly, the simple notes work if I keep at the projects, but when I leave them for even 5 weeks, all bets are off.

My plan is to do one block at a time and cut those scraps down to add to the pre-cut bin. I need to find simple ways to minimize the confusion. Yes, the fabrics are getting down. What is happening is that I am consolidating sorted bags. Some bags are sorted by colors, some by potential projects. None of those have labels or notes. Gotta take time to do that step. So today, the colors for the blocks are sorted. Good.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Floral BOM

I got this one done correctly and can set it aside with the others. Of course there are more to catch up on, and this is a start. 

The block pattern is called Swing in the Center. What I actually did next was to label the patterns with the group names so I can keep them organized. I thought it belonged to the group called BOM Club. However, it was for a different BOM group with Mystery Designers, which is fine because it did need to be finished.

All these BOMs were meant to be scrappy samplers, so this one just slips into the correct quilt and I go on.

Taking off for so long cost me even with notes to self. Some of the notes are confusing and I have to compare blocks what I have with the printed patterns and get them set for the correct quilts.

I don't want to get ahead of myself by listing what I think needs doing, or start fretting over what isn't done. I joined, maybe, too many BOMs this year. 1. Floral Friendship (need Rosebud and Weathervane blocks); 2. Exclusive BOM Medallian (need rounds 4, 5, & 6); 3. Mystery Designer (need Darting Birds); 4. Secret Solids (hasn't started yet); 5. Stellar Elegance from TQC Mystery (which I bought 3 shades of yellow fabric / four clues have already been given with one of them being corrected many times already). Then I took on an anniversary Log Cabin gift, a Bargello pattern, fabric boxes and some holiday Befana pillows to make for my Grandkids. I might be forgetting something here and want to check and re-check what I am doing.

I went to the BOM sites, printed off the pages of patterns, made a note which group is sponsoring which BOM Mystery, and will just do what I can from that point. Luckily, I kept up with the Daily Blocks for the Mood quilt. Because of it, I feel so accomplished!!!

Continuing my research, because my life is changing so much, I looked up & calculated how many calories are burned for quilting. Now, I have seen quilters who never move from their chairs & set up ironing boards, & cutting mats so they don't have to move. Not me. I am in constant motion. Or at least I was. 

Anyway. It starts with your body at rest or doing no activity. Then add & multiply height, weight & age with the formula. That means sleeping, sitting still. All of that. What then? well, then, calculate motion by light activity, all the way to extra active. At light activity, multiply the formula result by 1.2 or 1.375. Be honest. Why else do this? Each pound of muscle burns 75-100 calories per day. So how much is muscle, how much fat?  Regardless of the numbers, I plan to enter in 98.6 calories burned per hour for quilting. I don't care if it is accurate. It is just a number. They are all just numbers. What I am using this program for is to see how many carbs & proteins I eat per day so I can reduce carbs & increase proteins, as well as record how much water I drink.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Beautiful Downtown Burbank.

That name came from some TV shows long ago. Yet, Burbank got on board, planted trees and made it lovely. Of course there is still freeway construction making it look junky, but the inside town part is nice. 

I stayed near one of the shopping centers so got to Target, Joann's, & Petco to buy items harder to get in my small town. I am not a shopper and am in the phase of life that is more minimizing rather than hunting/gathering.

Some of the research I did over the weekend included getting a better handle on this new phase of life. In the past, I think I operated with the sympathetic system of fight/flight/freeze. Well, my body slipped into the other system, which is called parasympathetic and revolves more around rest and recovery. I have been fighting with that and feeling like I was slacking. The more I read, the more I see that I didn't include that part in my life and so now that is my single solution / soul-ution to health.

The local pool started water aerobics in April that continue through the end of summer. While it is late, it is also a drop in class and after being in the hotel pool, I know I need to do this.

I caught up on the BOD for the Mood quilt back I am making and will finish this current row soon, and can add the rows. I plan to get outside and get another bucket of weeds pulled. The myfitnesspal.com site is working to help me see how many carbs and protein I get. I am making modifications. I can't eat the full day's allotment of calories but do what I can. Changes.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Getting Organized - AGAIN

Being organized is helpful on so many levels. First of all, removing clutter helps me think more clearly. I try not to be that squirrel who forgets where the nuts were hidden for safe keeping.


Stuff sitting around the studio actually stops the flow of my thinking and creativity, and I forget what I was doing or what was next. It takes time to put things away after working with it, and yet, the time is well spent.

Then, of course, there is the advantage of finding something without a lot of time spent looking. As the stash diminishes, this is an important aspect. If I make a plan to do a quilt, then finding the color or fabric means not having to shop. I can use up what I have.

I made the corrections to the squares for the BOM I worked on this morning. It all needs pressing before going onto the next step. Also, more of the BOD pieces were added finishing up May. The new monthly spreadsheet is printed and ready.

Part of the morning was spent filling out forms and getting ready for the trip. I've printed off the short stories, stapled pages and have index cards to plot out the story line. Good to be organized. Really good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Holi-ka

I will be gone this weekend and am taking a couple of maps as well as the printouts to my Befana book. 

The unfinished book has been sitting in the Cloud since the IMac died and honestly, for as much as I tried to get back to it, nothing worked. 

While it did print, there was no pagination nor chapter headings. I can align them when I am laying in the hotel room over the weekend. After all, there is only just so much time I want to spend in the pool and hot tub, right?

Here's the plan. I am making index cards to get a story board done with it, and need to learn a technical thing that gives the language codes so I can dictate on my IPad. And of course, I need to read the copy just printed off.

No quilting today though it was on my plan. I am working on one of the BOM's and realized that some of the small squares got assembled incorrectly. It was the pattern this time. I said to cut four 4" squares and meant five of them. I do have enough of the print to correct it. Just not today. I was able to rip three incorrectly pieced squares and next need to cut the triangles for them. Not today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Shopping for BOM

This one is for a graduation gift for my #4 Grandgrrrl. She wanted yellow when I asked. I asked if she wanted a quilt and if she did, what color. Yellow. I shopped at both fabric stores in town before settling on these. I am not using a scrappy look on this one.


Fabric requirements suggest a good contrast between the light, a medium and a dark. The lighter one has light gray leaves and stems with yellow flowers. It would have been the background except that the pattern said that a print might be too busy. I shifted it all and will use the darker yellow as the background. I am behind on this one as step 4 is being released soon. I am ok with that and will spend time, catching up on this and the other BOMs that are going strong. As yellows go, this grouping serves my idea for the quilt well. I know that she will like it and has been one of the grrrlie-grrrls who holds onto the ones she gets from me. 

My essential tremors are in full force in both hands now, so hand quilting is most likely not an option.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Erratic Blogging

I would like to honor my personal commitment to blog, and well heck, to quilt each day. However, life is changing for me and I am doing what I can while I can and when I can.

One more lap/nap size comfort quilt that was finished this week. This pattern "Blocks & Strips", was made from FQs I had on hand. Binding is a white print.

The back side is created from my stash collection of blocks that are randomly joined. It makes a nice 2-sided quilt for a guy. He had a stroke last year and is doing good.
I did two things differently on it. One is quilting with the wavy river stitch next to the ditches. The other is binding in white and machine stitching it rather than hand sewing. Usually binding is a darker fabric but there are no rules. And the double machine line to reinforce it is different for me but is used by many quilters who avoid hand work on their binding. Its done now and will ship out later this week.

As for my blog. Well, today, I worked to sort photos for my scrapbooks. I set a timer and worked for an hour and walked away from it. That walking away after an hour no matter the task is so new to me and hard on my formerly extreme methods of working myself to death.

I did blog.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Yah Right

Its going to be quite the challenge for me to devote only one hour to each of my past times...I quilted an hour on the machine, rested for, oh maybe 15 minutes and then went back to it. The current project is quilted, and I have started on the fabric boxes for the August 1 birthday gift. Then after trimming the quilt, I also cut 5" charms for the BOD Mood quilt from the leftovers and, have strips of fabric to trim smaller for the Pet Beds.
Plans change. We change. I KNOW that it is better for me to do a major shifting of how I go through my days. I am starting to feel better each day, but know in my heart that it is like experiencing a false thing. My health may improve, but there is no cure for aging. Changing my life style and the way I work IS ESSENTIAL to my complete well-being. 

Maybe change comes hard because the patterns I set for so many decades did work for me, or at least I thought they did. I do realize that 'the bill comes due' eventually. Lately I have been paying those bills. I used my body hard all through my life and am grateful for that. I was lucky. Resting is a HUGE challenge for me now, and almost becomes the only way I can exist when I hit the wall. This time it was a stomach virus. Other times my back went out of alignment. The clue here is whether or not it is rest of my choosing or rest because my unconscious chooses.

I'll cut the scraps and get them into the small fleece bags I made for 2 of my Grand-cats. No hurry. Just part of the way I quilt 'green'. They will go in the holiday box of gifts closer to the end of the year. What is nice is doing a few things here and there and not feeling pressured.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Basted & Ready

I basted the comfort quilt yesterday and today loaded bobbins and threaded the machine. These are small details for quilting projects. And because I choose to only dedicate one hour per day to quilting, time goes quickly. 

It is difficult for me to portion out tasks into hourly sections. The person I was could be called an extremist. This person worked on a project until falling into a state of exhaustion as well as one of high intensity stress. I am changing that habit. Oh sure. I could fall back into it. I spent a lifetime learning how to be an extremist, so change often brings with it resistance. I know it also would be easy to change the plan and get back into the old ways. I am going to give it a try.

Blogging here is also part of the quilting process. It has to happen during the hour portion for it to work. It would be easy to use it for other sections such as Writing or Computer. It belongs in Quilting. 

The quilt is set up to work on at the machine for the next hour block. Part of me wants to hurry it because of how crappy I felt last month, its like I am behind. I am not behind and need to give myself credit for setting up the plan, watching videos, purchasing fabric and deciding on the next steps.

After I finish this comfort quilt, I plan to finish the Bargello, work on the Cat Fabric Boxes, and start the Befana pillows. In each case, they are ready to start or work on. Its not going to be easy to stick to an hour slot. I am going to try. To do what I can and if plans change, then they do.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

YT Videos

I spent enough time in the South garden this morning that I was too exhausted to really quilt with full attention, so decided to watch some instructional videos on You Tube. I want to make my younger Son's partner some fabric boxes for her birthday. 

There are endless ideas and sizes, so before I start, I want to gather enough of the fabrics here in my closet & make a plan. I've made this one a number of times and its a cute, small box. I have a few cat prints that I want to use and do have just enough of one to make this version.

I've also made a larger sized bucket for a baby shower gift. The Mother says her little grrrlie still uses it to curl up in and store toys. 

The goal, if I made one this size again would be like a laundry basket. Its been awhile since I watched them so did learn a lot more about construction. In being practical, I need to measure what I do have and start thinking about what I can do. Last year, I made her a quilt and a mug rug, so this would be different. 

Part of the transformation I am feeling is in how I plan before acting. Lists. Schedules. Its different.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Changing Me

This new approach to transformation is both exciting and potentially exhausting. Quilting is on my schedule each morning from 9-10. Now I can start earlier if my first morning tasks are done...these are the computer tasks, some of which might dovetail into other topics, and include answering mail, checking my Facebook account, and following up with some printing or research. My goal is to set my new IPad up so I can write the historical fiction on it.

The first quilting task I set for myself, each day, is adding the BOD or block of the day to the Mood Quilt. The individual rows are a bit boring right now. My plan is to make 2 rows and then join them to the previous ones to make them easier to handle. The charts are quite clear and I have marked the dates on them so I don't loose my place. As is seen in this row, most are light beige which indicate how badly I was feeling with that stomach virus. Today starts the first square of the next row. 

Yesterday, when I set up the pressing board, I sprayed some WD40 on it to reduce the squeak when it is going up or down. This is the block for the blackwork, orange, black and white quilt. It is the last one needed and will fit on it nicely. It took me the full hour to get it cut, pieced, pressed and photographed. Done.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Another Row

I've begun a new plan for the rest of my life. First of all, no matter what stage or age a person is, when they start to think about who they are, where they came from and where they might want to go, they realize that life changes. 

Buddha taught that there are 4 Noble Truths: 1. Life is Suffering. Things change; 
2. The origin of suffering is attachment. It hurts when things change
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable. Accept that things change; 
4. There is a way out of of suffering. By changing yourself. 

I am not a Buddhist, but appreciate the concepts.

To this end of change and all its values, I spent time creating a weekly schedule for myself that is broken down by days and hours. Its not much different from my Franklin Planner days, except that the breakdown is hourly and gives me time to do various tasks I want to accomplish. In my past, I was quite the extremist. I would work on something until I was exhausted or it was finished. I cannot do that now. I only have energy for shorter time frames.

I plan to set a one-hour timer on each project and work until it goes off. Stop and move onto the next part. If I actually finish a project and there is time left, I will do fill-in tasks like laundry or meal prep. Its a work in progress to change. And it is a challenge.

Today, for my quilting project, I got caught up on the BOD for the Mood Quilt project. This row is done. Then I came here to write, to blog. I want to set up my other BOMs and catch up from what I could not get to when I had that awful Stomach Virus. I will set up the pressing board again, dig out the BOM's and get ready for tomorrow.

I am learning, as I move into this new phase of life, to be more gentle with myself, to try and understand the aging process, to get over myself as one of my friends just posted, and to get on with what I can do, with what sparks joy and passion. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Mood Quilt Row

I had energy to join squares to the current row of my Mood Quilt. Clearly, beige's and some pinks illustrate how punk I felt this last week, and how I tried bucking myself up when company came.


It will finish off by Saturday, and maybe I will have energy to start up on other quilting projects here. This was an interesting challenge for a BOM because it was first of all, a BOD or block of the day. It will end up as the back on another quilt planned so as a back, is a bit more forgiving.

Hah. Lesson learned on that statement. And a question. Can I be more forgiving of myself? I ended up whining and sick-y, and that is so not my style. This virus took me out harder and longer than I have ever experienced and when I tried to push my way through, it pinned me to the bed. Ah well. I am trying to learn




Thursday, May 10, 2018

Only Now

Its taken this long for me to feel better. As some of you know, I do not touch a quilt unless I feel good emotionally, mentally, physically and especially spiritually.

As a woman of deep spirituality, like others who have gone before me, all bets are off when I feel like crap...literally. I couldn't write, could barely get my head up. Its taken lots of lab work (still waiting for results) and whining. I hate whiners, but that was what I could do. 

I knew I was on the mend when I started looking at the quilt projects others were showing. But not yet. I looked and didn't care. Funny thing, I don't want to project this kind of image...the sick, vulnerable.

What I have done is to set in place tools for this next phase of my life. There is no guarantee that I won't get sick again with this or something else. The woman I was in my 40's-50's simply is not me.

I re-signed up for myfitnesspal.com, and they still tell me I don't eat enough. I can record food and water and exercise when I feel good enough to do some again.

I hired a housekeeper and looked into grief counseling. Yes there is grief in not being able to ski, to play volleyball, to run a dogsled or even have dogs. I don't have the agility, the stamina, or flexibility. Fact, but a hard one to accept. 

No one ever told me about retirement or getting older. No one.

So enough of my whining. I just wanted to check in.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Out All Week

Stomach bugs...never really let them get me down earlier in my life, but this one took me out. I am starting to feel better. Funny thing, it probably took the bug to keep me sitting still after all. I have no energy to do much of anything.

 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sorting Scrap Bins

It is much easier to sort for projects. I pull things out and toss back the pieces that surrounded it or didn't make the audition. It gets messy. 

Well, in my 'sit still' days, sorting keeps me busy. A sorted box or bin doesn't look like much in a photo, but it is very helpful during any selection process.

While I am REALLY tried of not being active, it also filters into what I can do. I am sure it is a low-grade depression setting in. Nothing appeals to me. Everything hurts when I take the most simple of actions.

This is such a different place for me to be. My life has been one of extreme action and now its' not. I am not whining as much as I am stating the facts and hoping like h-e-double toothpicks that it will shift soon. And if it doesn't, then what?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Daily Mood Quilt

One of the groups I am in is hosting a daily block for moods. What i do is decide my morning mood, select a 5" charm from the box and either add it uncut or as a HST. It takes commitment to log in the mood. I have a shoebox filled with leftover charm squares that I decided to use for this project.


I also decided to use the finished piece for a back on one of the other quilts I am working on. The designer did a great job creating the pattern and by the time it is finished, it will have 365 blocks as well as the border strips. 

My moods are not really relative to the fabrics as much as simply using these cut squares in something. It is the fabric I pick up that signals to my brain that yes, this is what you are feeling today. However, really, the choices are more about what I pick up from the box and the colors that I originally assigned to various moods. For instance, if I am feeling gloomy, I might pick a gray or a beige. Cheery might be a pastel or something bright. Then, I look at what is in the box. Now that I am getting closer to mid-year, I want to take some of the cut triangles so they don't get scrapped even more.

There is a diaper ad that shows the difference between how a first-time parent reacts to various things the baby does and then how they react to the second or third child. I think that this project is like having a third child. I have learned piecing techniques and also know that with scrap quilting, the more colors and fabrics in a piece, the less it has to coordinate. 

Everything suddenly fits together.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day

I didn't quilt today. My doc said that my 'sit still' recovery needs to take a couple more weeks, and while this is frustrating, I am trying to hold to that and have been reading and resting. 

When a person, who is used to high activity, is made to rest, the mind does all sorts of weird things. I fall into the depths of thought that predicts I will never regain my abilities. Not true of course, but it is the primary thought. Then I feel every ache and pain to high levels, but know, in truth, that it is lessoning each day I give into rest. It is extremely difficult for me to give in. Two more weeks seems like an eternity.

I took out the Treasure Hunt supplies for my 12-year-old Grandson's birthday. I had to change one of the clues from the 'washing machine' to the 'garage' because the clue to the dryer might have sent him into the side-by-side appliance. I bought more wrapping paper & tape for the packages. I haven't started that part of the process yet. It all needs to be wrapped & finalized for a mid-May mailing so my Son gets it in time. This is the next step and one I may take soon.

His language of love is QUALITY TIME, and that is mighty difficult to manage living more than 2000 miles apart. The other Grands had me for many years, and I am the 'second' Grandmother for all of them, meaning their Maternal side often ranks first. Makes sense that the kids would lean toward the side of the family they see most.

I can express my love in every way as listed here, except for the physical touch and the quality time. Of course, that is exactly what they need. I work very hard to express love in every way possible for long-distance relationships.

In truth, the older I get, the less energy I put into sending what they might like or need. All of us can only do what we can only do. It really requires a great deal of creativity.

My Grandson is the youngest of them all, and the only boy. This is the third birthday treasure hunt I've put together, and so I know more of the method that it takes, and think it will be so fun for him, my Son and his partner.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday Fabric Shopping

I wanted to get fabrics for a few projects for my seasonal projects. Today was a good day to stop on the way back from the Post Office. I shipped out the last 2 swaps and so am officially finished with Swap-bot. I have a few birthday cards to get out later, but just cards.

My intention was to finish up buying the last 2 FQ's needed out of 24, so that project is ready to start come August. It can sit now and wait. I also picked up some Hallows prints that I want to use in mug rugs that are also planned. 

I am driving to LA for a celebratory dinner so the rest of my morning and into early afternoon is going to be listening to audiobooks. Rest. Hard for me, but essential if I am going to be fit enough to get through this sciatica flare.

Everything I read about folks resting to recover indicates that most of us have a hard time doing it. For me, it took several relapses that made it actually harder and longer in the coming. Rest. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

#2 Jelly Roll

There are 2 colors of each shade in the jelly rolls I selected, so the first piecing was to join the strips of the same shade. Next was to join shade pairs 1&2 to 3&4; 5&6 to 7&8; 9&10 to 11&12 until the end row of 21. Then each 4-row sections get joined, the 8-rows, and finally the entire jelly roll is connected. Each joining got pressed before adding the next one.

It is my thought to do the second jelly roll into the long part and set it aside to work on other projects. How many times I have to confess I have not returned to Round 4 of the Medallion quilt is a mystery. Oh wait. It IS a mystery.


I know I keep putting other projects in front of it, and I have no idea why it has become a UFO. I keep saying I am determined to work on it and then look at it, turn it over in my hand and put it back in the bin. Every night as I put things away, I promise myself that I will do it in the morning. Morning comes and I find something else.

Along with errands in town, I am doing the second jelly roll, with absolutely no plan to do Round 4. This is honest.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bargello

This is not usually an easy quilt, yet one I have always wanted to make. My younger Son turns 50 on his next birthday. While I usually do not mark those events, it gives me the opportunity to push myself and make something very different. I asked him what color he would like his next quilt to be and he said anything would work. 


Well, with this pattern in mind, it takes 2 identical jelly rolls with 42 strips. Key to the pattern is that each color is repeated twice. A lot of them are only doing 40. I finally ordered 2 from Michael Miller Fabrics, and added 2 strips to make the 42. I only laid out one jelly roll because of limited floor space, pinned them and can make the first half of the first round of piecing.

The pattern is great for a Bargello beginner. As is usually the case, the pattern confuses me so going slow is essential. Luckily, the birthday is in February, so if it is ready to ship by January 2019, it will make me happy.

eas·y  ˈēzē/
adjective: easy; comparative adjective: easier; superlative adjective: easiest
  1. achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.
    "an easy way of retrieving information"

    synonyms:uncomplicated, undemanding, unchallenging, effortless, painless, trouble-free, facile, simple, straightforward, elementary
    informaleasy as pie, a piece of cake, child's play, kids' stuff, a cinch, no sweat, a breeze, smooth sailing, duck soup, a snap
    "the task was very easy"
    antonyms:difficult, challenging
    • (of an object of attack or criticism) having no defense; vulnerable.
      "he was vulnerable and an easy target"

      synonyms:vulnerable, susceptible, defenseless
      antonyms:streetwise, savvy
  2. (of a period of time or way of life) free from worries or problems.
    "promises of an easy life in the New World"

    synonyms:calm, tranquil, serene, quiet, peaceful, untroubled, contented, relaxed, comfortable, secure, safe;
    informalcushy
    "an easy life"
    antonyms:stressful, chaotic

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Small Details

Over the years, I've learned to check and re-check seams, and corners before basting. The first time, I pinned places where the project needed to go back to the machine. Its not about being obsessive or a perfectionist, but more about being practical.

The top and back of the current comfort quilt is reinforced. The next round of checking will be the final one. Its important that the seams and corners be strong enough to withstand hard use. All the quilts made here are utility quilts, meant to be used.

The other project is the Medallion / Round 4.  This particular block is called the Star of Hope. I've been avoiding it because of the technical steps that require the rays of the star go in a specific direction. The first cut was way wrong, and the second attempt had the ray components going incorrectly. I put it away because it just frustrated me and I wasn't feeling good. 

I am feeling better, so my head is clear and I can return to the task which is more than likely simple.

Funny thing about not feeling well. Whatever is going on physically, for me at least, seems to effect my thoughts, my emotions and my spirit. I loose hope. My thoughts darken. My emotions despair. And so does the spirit. Of course, I could not work on a block called Star of Hope. Of course.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Kitty Beds

The fleece I bought at JoAnn Fabrics was to make 2 kitty beds. One of the practices I want to continue is to use 'trim-scraps' rather than to toss baskets full of them into the trash. I have made 2 for Rico that he uses from time to time.

These are for two Wisconsin fur babies. Soft fleece beds, which are more like pillows, can be tossed anywhere, and cats want to sit and lay on them. I will stuff a little lighter than I did some earlier ones I made. They just need a bit of a cushioning. Additionally, it is a wash/dry piece.

I've decided to step back from swapping through SwapBot. Swaps that call for crafting are out for me. My skills have never been good in that area. I like the Stocking Stuffer Swaps because it is nice to have small gifts at the end of the year for holidays. I could just wrap my own things, but for now, that one stays. Postage was getting worse too, so it is another reason to step back. 

My computer geek is looking for an affordable laptop that I can use for writing. One thing that happened with me over the last few years is that my quilting took over so much of my time that I stopped writing. Then Swap-bot took over another portion of free time so I wrote even less. In fact after awhile these blog entries were all the writing I was doing. I guess I am just re-visiting priorities. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Important Step This Cutting

I took out the bin with all the scrap pieces in it and spent yesterday cutting them into smaller units. I remember when I first did this and how anxious I got thinking that maybe I would need them in larger scraps. Well, time proved that if they were cut into the largest possible pieces, they would find homes. Another concern was that I should 'save' fabrics for special projects. 


What special projects? If a person lives in the here & now or in the moment, then what they do, everything they do, is special. 


It works to see what I have and what I need. 

I keep giving myself deadlines like: If something in the closet is not used in a year, then it needs to go. In many cases that came to be. For instance, my Mother-In-Law passed 3 years ago now, and I donated a lot of her fabric, a lot of her quilting tools, magazines or books, and supplies.

Every once in awhile, I make the trip into a fabric store and buy supplemental items like seam rippers, rotary blades, batting, thread, and yes, fabric. I still shop from my closet first. 

And cutting what is there has become vital to the work. When fabric is organized and ready to use, it gets used. I measure and mark the larger pieces so it makes it easier to take out the sized piece in the color that will work.


And after each project, there are remains to be cut again for service in another project. I know that eventually what I have will be part of my estate that another quilter can use. She will take it and incorporate it into how she works.

This half of the closet contains, oddly cut scraps, a bin of 2.5", 3", 4", 6", 8", 10" and 2.5" strips, a holiday bin of cuts like those sizes, a current project, batting and flannel scraps.

The other size holds project bins and the last of the larger cuts of fabric. And of course, there is an overhead shelf with smaller bins that hold various kits or projects I made. I seem to make a dent in it all every year and then find the extra fabrics I bought to complement what I am doing adds to the stash. It really is never ending. But close. I am getting closer.

A common complaint many of us have about JoAnn Fabrics is that we get coupons either in the mail or online and get excited to shop. Then, when we get there, everything is onsale or the coupon expired yesterday or starts tomorrow. I walked out spending only $44. 

What I brought home was some light lime green fabric that turned out not to be enough for the background HOWEVER will work for those Ms Santa (mine are going to be named LaBefana) pillows. I have 6 to make and want to make the back like an envelope the pillow can slip into.



I got a package of Warm & Natural queen size batting, the black frame for Mother's painting, and half a yard of fleece so I can make a cat pillow using batting leftovers. They seem to love having their own too.