Thursday, January 18, 2018

I like Thursdays: January 18, 2016

61 days until Spring!

We are half done with winter!  

Tuesday was the midway point of the winter!
It's all downhill from now!

How are you doing?  Are you counting down the days until spring too?  This past week another 3 inches of snow fell.  I like that my husband traveled south and for once he didn't call to tell me how warm his weather was!  He had to endure more than twice the amount of snow that we got!   I'm also grateful I'm not 45 minutes north of us.  My friend Beth got 10 inches of snow during the same storm.  We lucked out!

I like these photos of dancing poodles (above).  You can see the story here.  Poodles love to dance and Scout always wants to accompany me whenever I start doing the mashed potato.  Speaking of Scout, she had a great weekend!

My beautiful niece Maggie came home with her handsome fiancee and their two dogs!

Opie is a beagle mix and Cashew (being held by Maggie) is a chiwawa/corgi mix.  Cashew and Scout got along famously and played nonstop for three days!
My son Peter also came home for the weekend and I was thrilled when we had the opportunity to be alone for a few hours on Sunday.  It's always good to catch up without interruptions!  

 Miss Scout is going to get spayed on Monday and I am soooo relieved.  I hope to never have to experience another puppy in heat again!   It will be a quiet week for us and I hope to get more sewing done.  

Stay warm and have a great week!  Visit the other sites celebrating happiness at LeeAnna's website, Not Afraid of Color.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I like Thursday, January 11, 2018

Welcome to "I like Thursday"!  A day of positive energy sponsored by LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color.  Please visit here to find more happy blog posts!

Like most people on  the East Coast, I'm grateful that the arctic weather has dissipated.  Scout is glad too since it means she can go out again on walks.   At least as much as we can these days, a lot of sidewalks are still icy.


So....with this all in mind.  I like that there are 
68 days
until spring!


I'm already dreaming of my garden but needed a little joy and these alstromerias fit the bill.  One of my favorite cut flowers, these beauties last for a good two weeks and keep our dining room feeling happy.
Our Scout has been a little crazy without her usual walks and we are grateful that she can play with my Mom's dog, Greta.  Scout also has a new passion.  She loves feet, socks, and Carol's boots :D
She doesn't eat them but prefers smelling them.  We call this Eau de Carol Cologne. :)

I finished the blocks for the snowflake quilt and will piece that together later this month.  

But I found some 4 inch blocks and decided to piece together some donation quilts.  Right now, I'm not following any particular order in projects; they'll all get done in good time.

What are you working on?  I hope you are going to have a wonderful week and a great day!



Thursday, January 4, 2018

I like Thursdays, January 4, 2018

Oh Goodie, it's snowing again
I like that we aren't expecting the blizzard that the coast is going to get.  We'll get about 3 inches but the lows this weekend could be -20  in some parts of the Lehigh Valley.  I'm grateful to be living in the city right now.

Speaking of frosty windows...
I like getting inspiration from blogs.  Earlier this week, our "I Like" hostess LeeAnna had a nice post about nature inspiration.  I'm working on what I call the snowflake quilt (yes, another square in a square but I want to use up this fabric).  But the real inspiration was leftover backing fabric that had a neat glaze to it.  It always reminded of how windows look during this time of year.  So I'm using it up for this quilt.  

All my photos are dark these days due to the cloudy (often snowy) weather.

My friend and neighbor Carol made me a surprise Christmas present.  
Check out this postage stamp tray!
It has a lot of stamps that reflect my interests.  
The work and thought she put into this is so touching!

The sewing room is clean and fairly organized now.

A lot of my friends have the blues these days.  I was just talking about this book a week or so ago and thought I would purchase it again.  I read it in the 1980s but a lot of this book has stayed with me.  I recommend it to anyone.
I hope you have a safe and warm week!  Be sure to check out the other I Like Posts by visiting LeeAnna's blog at https://lapaylor.blogspot.com/ 
Have a great day!









Saturday, December 30, 2017

2018 Aspirations

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.  We can help write that story by setting goals.”  ---Melody Beattie

Tackling the upstairs after Christmas is always a chore.  The entire second floor of our cottage is my space and includes my office and sewing room.  It's also the place where the clutter is sent before any holiday season.  Today I would just be happy if the horizontal areas in the room weren't filled with stuff.
The rooms are also littered with legal pads.  I've been recording what needs to be done and what I'd like to accomplish in the next year.  My list is just a loose outline of what I hope to complete.  But first I had to scour through the mess of the sewing room to find out what needed to be done.

I know what I have in the fabric region; it's easily visible on shelves and in cabinets.  I'm content with this area.  For the past few years I've donated or passed on fabric that I decided I wouldn't use.

But then there the UFOs.  These things are tucked (hidden) in drawers like ghosts of projects past just awaiting to loom up like ghouls of guilt.  

Often in block form, some are pieced and needing more blocks, others are cut and need piecing.  Some terrible ones are just piles of fabric awaiting the whole shebang of assembly.  It would be nice if I could tackle at least 5 of these projects.

I have two drawers of oddments.  Leftover blocks from completed quilts, they would be useful for premie quilts, placemats, or mug rugs.

Then there is the scrap montsers.  I wish someone could explain to me how it is that I recently completed six scrap quilts and now have more scraps than when I started.  I'd love to whittle them down but I don't even have room on my lists for scraps.  I attack them every now and then when I am frustrated.  
Scout says, "Seriously?  How many scraps do you need to save?"

I have 17 tops.  Not all of thse will get quilted; but many that are completed will be gifts or donation quilts.

There are also 5 quilts that I would like make in the next year or two (or three).  These enterprises I've thought about it for a while and haven't gotten to yet.  You might call them pre-UFOs but my friend Linda would call them think-dream projects.

On the business side of my sewing, I have a new guild program to develop and will continue to develop my Nine Patch Notes.  I have a work blog called Pennsylvania Piecemaker that has been long neglected.  Since LeeAnna's "I Like Thursdays" has been successful for me, I'm going to adopt a day to keep the work blog functioning.  It's a start.

I hope you have a productive 2018!  Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve and day!

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Year in Review: A Prolific Year

  

Whenever I have a productive year of quilting, I like to take stock and assess what I’ve done and the impetus for finishing projects.  My neighbor (and sewing buddy) Carol has been asking me for months how much I’ve completed but I didn’t really care enough to count.  I was too busy sewing.  This year I’ve managed to complete 21 projects (more than half were laptop quilts) plus premie quilts and another 11 tops.   
 

So here is my list of personal reflections on this past year.  I want to remember what I learned so that I can return to this when my creative mojo is off.
 

Sewing as Therapy
I had made a list of why I think it was a prolific year but when I was talked to my neighbor he pointed out that I had forgotten the biggest reason:  I was very anxious. 

2017 has been a year of tumult for our country and the world.  I’ve done what I can to support the causes I believe in and contacted my federal representatives so many times they probably know me by name.  But it wasn’t enough.  So I sewed.

Checklist
I love lists.  Even more, I love crossing things off lists.  Anyone who has knows me realizes that my best sewing years are the ones when I participated in UFO challenges.  I joined two this year:  the first was a challenge put out on Facebook by the American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine.  Then my guild initiated a UFO challenge and I joined that as well.  I had three pages of projects that needed completion.  I finished about 70% of my quilts.  

Structure
This year, I was on the computer less, used LeeAnna’s project of “I like Thursdays” as a time to blog, and limited television (news until 9 a.m. and then relax and watch tv after 6 p. m.).  I allotted two days a week for cleaning and errands. 
  


Flexibility
Flexibility has been a big battle for me.  I’m very understanding towards others and hard on myself (bet that sounds familiar to some of you).  I have not mastered relaxing my own self-expectations but I have improved a wee bit.
               The project list is not the alpha and omega, instead the process became my focus.  First time feeling:  There were tops like this one (below) that I closed the sewing day very pleased because I wasn't  finished!  I was just enjoying the work.


               A finish is a finish.  It doesn’t matter if it is a placemat or full sized quilt.

               It’s okay to do the same thing more than once.  This was a tough lesson for me but now I find that is comforting because I can just concentrate on piecing.   So for example I began the blue underground quilt as a gift for Jana May (see above); everyone that saw it wanted one.  I decided this was great because I would make enough tops to use up all the fabrics plus I incorporated other fabrics from my stash and Voila!  5 tops completed; three of which are already finished and gifted.

             This also applied to quilt patterns.  I usually only do one type of quilt and then go to the next thing.  But this year, I did two tops of Missouri Star's two step quilt, a few square in a square quilts (love these for scrap and donation quilts),  and the pattern I made for two Camp Erin quilts.

               Goals are malleable.  Years ago I bought a layer cake called “Origin”.  It was the fabric I never wanted to cut because I loved it sooooooo much.  A year or two later a friend helped me pick a grey fabric that I was going to use with it.  Well guess what, the grey no longer appealed to me and to make matters worse, I couldn’t find the original pattern I wanted to use.  
By the time I got to this project I just didn’t care anymore.  I had been moving the fabric for years and wanted it used up. 


               Life happened.  We lost Seamus after Christmas.  We adopted Scout the last day of April.   I didn’t sew in April, May, or June.  I was exhausted.  Scout was up every two hours every night and I just needed to focus on getting Scout acclimated and settled.  I had to slow down my sewing again in September when Scout took me for a drag and I had an injured arm.  Projects that were to be completed for the holiday won’t be done until the new year and that is okay.  A gift is a gift and it doesn’t matter when it is delivered.

On the business front, I did complete and introduce a new lecture called "Designs Still Worth Doing:  A Celebration of Ruby Short McKim" which has been popular with the guilds that have seen it.  I also started working on my sewing themed stationary, Nine Patch Notes.


Hal Borland wrote that "Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on; with all the wisdom that experience can instill in in us."  I'm hoping to incorporate some of the lessons of 2017  during my quilting journey of 2018.  

Have a great day!
              


Thursday, December 28, 2017

I like Thursdays, December 28, 2017

I like that Christmas is over.  By the last two weeks before the holiday, I always find myself stating that as "soon as we get through Christmas" as if the holiday was a plague or a tornado. 
 

Yes it is exhausting but it is wonderful too!

Scout's first Christmas!  She loved her new toy!

Scout loved that the Hallmark channel didn't just have the yule log but lots of kittens, puppies and even a baby pig on it.  She was fascinated!  Dog TV!

I love my present from Peter and Jessica!  They gave me a "hygge" basket full of all sorts of calming things and it is a wonderful reminder to slow down!  Tea, homemade apple butter and even dark chocolate! 
Jess even made her own lavender spray and soap.  She is so clever!

It's been cold.  Right now the "real feel" temperature is -3 F.  I'm grateful for long underwear and the ability to turn up my heat when necessary.  Scout and I put off our walks until late morning/noon when it is a bit warmer.  I'm sewing again and it feels really good to be back at the ol' machine :)

What have you been up to?  Have you been keeping warm and calm this post-Xmas?  

Be sure to check out all the other like days at LeeAnna's here:  http://lapaylor.blogspot.com/

Hope you have a wonderful day!