Monday, January 2, 2017

A new year; another chance

I wanted to say Welcome 2017, but I'm not sure at all I can be optimistic about what is to come this year.    On the sewing front, however, I am starting out with enthusiasm! 
My online group is doing (yet another) UFO challenge.  I counted up to 36 before I decided to quite.  Last year I started with 12.  I did finish 7 of them, but 36 is a bit insurmountable!  How it works is the organizer calls 2 numbers a month. You get out those items from your numbered list and assess them.  Maybe all you will do is that much, but at least the project saw the light of day.
Here are mine for this month.

This one (#3) began as a swap with a different online group.  I wanted it to be queen sized, so I added the alternate blocks, but it still needs borders to make it big enough.  The second border will be pieced using the same sized squares as the four patches in the blocks- so a lot of small piecing.  That's where I got stuck before.  We'll see how far I get this time.


This is #20.  It's so old, I don't even know if I was using a pattern or not.  I have always enjoyed playing with fussy cutting for the kaleidoscope effect.  When I ran out of the focus fabric, I played with ways to make it a lap sized quilt and came up with this.  The big green spaces will be fun to quilt now that I have some free motion experience.









As always, at the end of the year, I have counted up the 2016 projects.  Here are this year's results:
14 knitted projects
12 general sewing
27 quilted items (this includes 10 things like the stockings from a panel and some placemats)
20 opulent ornaments
a few pieces of jewelry and assorted coloring pages finished, plus 26 kittens fostered.
A pretty good year.

I was thinking yesterday as I saw numerous "buy yourself another gift" advertisements, that this is how we are trained these days- to buy stuff we don't need because it's on sale, or because we deserve it, or...
It's sad that we as a society no longer consider need when we shop.  Everything is disposable.  Just one mindset that will have to change for the planet to survive the human infestation.  So, just once in a while, consider if you NEED it, or maybe the old one can be repaired (good luck finding a repair shop, though), or you can just make do with the same one a little while longer.

I am grateful for:
A lot of time with Kiara this week
Lots of kitties found homes for the holidays!
Some quality sewing time this weekend (it's challenge time!)
I had a gift for the sweet neighbor who stopped in Saturday with a gift for me.
Leftovers- not cooking gives me more sewing time!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One last project


I made it!  I got Cait's quilt finished, labeled and washed with two days to spare before Christmas.
 I named it "Rattling Around in our Bones".  I got the panel and a couple of the coordinating prints at the Syracuse show in 2015.  I thought of Cait when I saw it, because she is one of those people for whom Halloween decorations would be standard home decor if she had her way. 
The panel is one of the Chillingsworth collections by Andover fabrics.  ( I just got the Christmas panel on a clearance sale!!)
  
As luck would have it, when they repainted their living room this fall, they chose a dark orange!  So I knew it was time to get this quilt made.


It does have a Halloween feel, because one of the fabrics I got to go with it has pumpkins in it.  Plus, following the motifs in the panels, I added a few spiders and webs, from Lori Kennedy's tutorial, along with a couple skulls I found here. (they have some really cool sugar skull designs, too!)
Mostly it just has meandering spirals, since none of it shows very well. 





Check out this awesome backing fabric- also in the clearance bin! Look closely- I had to seam it lengthwise to make it big enough.  I fussy cut to match the pattern, and did a pretty good job, if I say so myself!













I made a few more "Opulent Ornaments" for Christmas decorations and gifts.  Don't they look pretty?





Only the white one has a hanger since they aren't easy to do.  But the rest of them look pretty tucked into the branches of the tree!

 Almost time to do the year in review, then start a new list. 



One thing for certain is that the first completion will be for the Museum Quilt Guild "Bars" challenge.  What do you think I thought of when I heard "bars"?? 






As we end this turbulent year, I am looking ahead with trepidation. Things like this do not make me any less anxious.  It's hard to be hopeful when the leaders think all they have to do is not SAY "Climate Change" and it won't be a problem.  Make your voice heard in any way you can.  Donate to the causes you support.  Don't wait and see. 

I am grateful for:
A quiet Christmas Eve dinner with my hubby. (We watched football!)
Cait and Lucas making us part of their Christmas day.
Bonus bytes
A gift that made me laugh until it hurt.
The stuff on my DVR, which will get us through the "Mid-season break".


Monday, December 12, 2016

Therapy Sewing

 This morning, I looked at my to do list and wished for a few minutes in the sewing room- just a few!  I haven't been able to play in there for a week or two, and I'm going through withdrawal!
I walked by and sighed, then had a flash of inspiration!

A few years back, I read Rayna Gilman's book , "Create Your Own Free Form Quilts".  I loved the idea of sewing random bits together without a plan, then finding something to do with it later.  She calls the random piecing "therapy sewing".  I had started doing it with a small pile of scraps some time ago, but have never done much with it.  I took out the pile of strips I had sewn and decided to spend a few minutes playing with them. 


A short time later, I had a few new pieces to play with when I decide to try and make something with them.  Mine won't be great works of art.  I am not an artist.  But I can play with them next time I need to use up  some creative energy to get me through the day .



I have finally finished the last page in the calendar I have been working on.  The dates are useless, but I plan to hang the pictures over the dollar store calendar I bought for 2017.  I angled this photo so the metallic and sparkles I used show up. 




I am grateful for:
Macaroni and cheese
Having nowhere to go for a couple of days
A cuddle from Jonathan
Sweet new kittens to play with
warm feet

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Oh, Balls!**

I'm back- did you miss me?
I forgot to include the other newest "balls" I have finished in my last post. Starting over seemed easier for some reason.


I got this awesome Christmas fabric a while back and am only now getting around to using it.  Coincidentally, this fabric is shown in Paula's newest book.  




 It's very hard to get good pictures of these- you just can't capture the sparkles.




 Even though she was the inspiration, this is the first one I have made using a Paula Nadelstern fabric.  I'm not sure I have used the largest size ball before, either.



This is my favorite medallion on this fabric- I think I have now done 4 of them.  



**I don't think my friend Kathi reads my blog, but if she does, she's giggling. :-)

Today I'm grateful I will have new kittens to cuddle!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Playing with the kids

Last Saturday I had a wonderful day with the grandchildren.  Days like these are why the saying goes, "If I had known how much fun grandchildren are, I'd have had them first!"

I went over there for a while so Mom could get some things done and run errands.  It doesn't feel like much help, but then I remember wishing for exactly this when mine were little. 

Jon was sleeping when I got there, so Kiara and I played air hockey in the basement.  I had never played before.  It was fun.

When he got up, he joined us in the newly set up workout room.  he teddy bears had been hibernating in the big box.  Jonathan found them in there and decided to join them and share his cheese fish.






Kiara was hiding in her house under the whatever machine that is.  Jonathan was delighted to find her!












Then he decided she needed some cheese fish, too.  










I had promised Kiara we'd have some girls time, so when Mom was caught up a bit, we came over to my house.  We put up an awesome blanket fort in the middle of the living room.  We watched Christmas videos, ate snacks, played games, and did some crafts in there.


Remember the fun dolls from retreat?  Kiara asked to make another one.  Hers is all black because it's a ninja.  She also chose the colors on mine.



















She mentioned her mom had admired the ornaments on the mantel, so I suggested we make one to give mom for Christmas.  I wrapped the ball before she got there- using the same fabric as many of the balls on the mantel.  Kiara chose which beads to put where and got really good at sticking the pins into the beads. We took turns sticking them into the ball.  She is so excited to have a nice gift she made all by herself for her mom.  It's wrapped and hidden. I wish I could be there when it will be opened; I'm not sure who will be more thrilled.  

















In spite of the imminent threat of dismantling all the progress we've made in 20 years, and putting us past the point of no return, there is good news in the environmental world.  Google is going to meet its goal of running on 100% renewable energy in the coming year. I have to keep reminding myself of all the individuals who have already committed to this- no matter what changes may come.

I am grateful for:
Lucas bringing Kiara into my life.
The luxury of a day I can spend playing.
The good days at work.
When the suffering ends, there is peace. ( I believe)
My Christmas shopping is finished!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stupid data limits!!!

So, somehow I used up all of this month's data in the first week of my data cycle (thanks for almost nothing, Hughesnet!).  I am still blaming Windows 10 updates, which I can no longer decide when or if to download.  Anyway, it is very hard to create a blog post when you can't get on the internet.  (I know the world is dying to hear my random thoughts.)
So I am combining a couple of the posts I would have made into one while I have a few minutes of "bonus"- very early in the morning- data to use.   When I have had time to play in the sewing room, I have been playing.  Kind of silly when I'm sure I have things I should be working on.  I'm tired of deadlines and have-to's at the moment.
Anyway.....


I had to move the giant bin of felted sweaters for some reason and dug through them in  one of those "I should get rid of these" moments.  I ran across the instructions for these.
Easy, but not really quick.  I'll probably use them as Christmas gifts. I don't know for who(m?)












Recently Kiara came to me because she had bumped her head, and needed an ice pack.  I asked her where mom keeps the boo-boo bunny.  She had no idea what that was.

So I made this for her from a sock, using this book.  It's filled with rice.  I told her to keep it in the freezer, but I think she is sleeping with it.















 As long as I had been digging through the books of stuffies, I decided I needed this creature, from this book.  (I have always felt they had me in mind when they added the subtitle)














The patterns are tiny, so you enlarge them to a size you want.  I think I want this guy to be a bit bigger.  His mouth is a pocket! 

(Or you can just let him stick his tongue out at people.)



















 I have also gone back to making some "opulent ornaments" - or Sparkly Balls, as I call them.


 I still don't love the ones I've made from this fabric.  I have a lot of the fabric, too.  Hmmm, maybe a spring dress instead? 




I have a great piece of Christmas colored fabric, with these small green motifs in between the main design. 










 I just can't get pictures of them where the sparkles show, but they're still pretty!






























This is the quilt I made for my demo at Guild last week.  (Suddenly even the pictures I post from my camera are turning sideways.  I don't know why and nothing I do stops it.  Some days technology is just not my friend.)

This started out as an in-process sample for a scrap therapy class project.  Now it will be a donation.


I love this heart pattern I found in one of my machine quilting books.  I improvise the border to match.
I cannot even try to make a decent "green" segment this time.  I will only say if you care about the threat of climate change, make your voice heard.  People who think it's myth need to be shown that there are enough of us who believe the science, so they know we will not allow them to turn back all the progress we have been making in recent years.  

I am grateful for:
Keeping in touch 
Being someone's therapy
Sewing time (always!)
My new frost free freezer
The days work is not a threat to my health

Saturday, November 5, 2016

My first Modern Quilt

After the April Guild meeting, the ArtCGirlz decided to do a modern quilt challenge.  I missed the deadline of having it in the quilt show, but just barely.
 I didn't even enter it because at the entry deadline, it looked like this.

















I got a small pack of 2 1/2 inch squares from one of the vendors at the Syracuse "quilt week".  I stuck them up on the small design surface in the sewing room, and realized they almost matched the leftover blocks from my "Xcentric" quilt.  Here are a couple of different arrangements I played with.  (the butterfly behind them is one of my older UFO's)




















After looking at it on the larger design wall (above) for a couple of weeks, I decided to just do it.  First, I assembled the Four patches and added the floating squares.  I just couldn't decide what to do with that second leftover block.










Finally I decided to take it apart, and realized that was just what I needed!
I had gotten some matching solids in Denver, but didn't like it when I added them in.  So it sat for another couple of days until the answer came to me- negative space quilting!

I did like the different sized squares, so that's how I did it. 
















The rest is just done with straight lines, something I love but don't do enough of.  As it turned out, I had it finished the day before we turned quilts in for the show.  Who'd a thunk it?

 The only hard part after that was deciding which way was up.  Hubby decided it was this way.  I call it "X and Why"

The year has caught up to my coloring on the calendar!  It's a 2016 calendar, but I plan to use the pages from a dollar store calendar with these pictures next year. 


I was saddened by this article in USA today yesterday.  I do my best, but I can see my responsibility here.  Can you?

A polar bear pauses while exploring an area of sea ice in Alaska, in this file photo, date unknown. Sea ice in the Arctic shrank to its fourth-lowest level on record this summer. (Photo: Martin Jeffries, Associated Press)

I am grateful for:
Cait giving me as much time as I want with JOnathan
A good friend who understands
I was able to keep my mouth shut
DVR and DVD's for the many nights when there is NOTHING on tv
Reassurance