Jan 29, 2012

Those Little Nine Patches

Last week I mentioned making little 3" nine patches to swap with my Jo Morton club.
Last Tuesday was our meeting, so off I went with these safely tucked into my tote bag:

Here's a better look at my offering:

We had a wonderful meeting complete with show and tell, and lots of hints and tricks shared by one of our members who obviously isn't math challenged (yes, that would be me if we're disclosing all in truth and fairness!). We were given the last two projects from this club issue (Club #10) and were told we could choose either of these quilts to make this month (more on that in a minute). Then it came time to swap! Oh my!! How fun- it seemed lots of the gals were in a red mood that night because it was the majority color. But we are excited, and can't wait to see what turns up next meeting. Our challenge at the end will be to set these little blocks into a top. Should be fun. I have a few ideas floating in my brain already. These are living on the flannel board right now. Aren't they wonderful?

When I got home that evening, I was excited about the choice of projects we had to work with and chose to make this one first:

it is slightly larger than the first two Jo projects I was able to do this time around, and I love this block (and Jo Morton's way of getting 4 half square triangles from 2 cut squares of fabrics). I immediately set to pulling fabrics from my Jo stash, but not in the traditional red/green of a holiday scheme.

I did chose reds and greens, but am using browns, golds and blacks as well. All that because I chose this as my border- that one yard piece of Elizabethtown I HAD to have!

I also pulled this as a possible cornerstone fabric (going with green):

Wednesday afternoon I rewarded myself with stitching time. And here is the result:

Those blocks, by the way are small...the half square triangles are 1 3/4" unfinished!

Thursday, I took a look and just was NOT happy! The background I chose is definitely not an overall design, and the way these blocks are put together would be better served if I had chosen one. Result, I found my self discouraged and wondering if I should start again. Today I walked in the sewing room first thing, looked again and answered that question with a Heck No!
I'm letting one-way designs fall where they may- and that is that.

All that got me to thinking about passion versus perfectionism. But I'll leave that for another post and just go back to some hand stitching today. These blocks have been waiting for me since yesterday

and if I really start thinking about them, I will get into that discussion I am trying to avoid. We'll talk perfection another day.

Jan 28, 2012

How to Feel Good Without Even Trying

Some days I forget how easy it is to feel GOOD (yes, all capitals!), to smile because you can't help yourself, to shed a tear because you are touched by what you see and hear, to just find delight in what is now an American Institution that has been going strong for over 40 years. Yesterday, the hubby and I ventured out to see the documentary about the young man who at a young age (he cut up his father's coat at the age of 9 to make his first creation)fell in love with puppeteering and dreamed of working on Sesame Street. His passion and his talent is chronicled in the most amazing film: Being Elmo. Kevin is a wonder. Growing up poor in Baltimore, being teased both at home (by his sisters) and at school for his passion, but staying true to himself and a lot of hard work is the basis for his stellar rise in the world of muppets. His parents believed in him- particularly his mother, and my heart just sang when Kevin told the story of how his mom picked up the telephone one day and made a phone call to Kermit Love that changed his life forever. If you have the chance to see this movie, take the time to do it. You too will be charmed, you will feel good, and you will- if you've forgotten in all the hustle and bustle of daily life, have the time to remember that passion is an important part of who we are.
I wish you passion in everything you do- today and everyday!

Jan 22, 2012

Small goals

I was thinking about goals today,and how many I make- or more so, how many I keep!
We're all goal setters in our own ways. I've also grown older and wiser- knowing that those sweeping goals, the big unattainable ones are no longer in my realm of goal making. Thank goodness for that!
It's January- for years I've set the "lose weight" goal. "Join the gym" goal. "Organize the house" goal. It never worked for long. But for some reason (the wisdom that starts sticking with you with advancing age?) goals are starting to stick around here. Why?? What's different?? I've gone from making those broad, sweeping master goals to setting small attainable ones for myself. No more "I'm going to lose 50 pounds". Now I work in 10 pound increments- all the more attainable. It's working. No more "I'm going to join a gym". I know I don't have the time right now. Honesty. Reality. Good things to keep in mind. "I'm going to organize the house" has gone to "I'll work on (fill in the blank) today". Little goals. I'm not kicking myself in the pants all that much anymore.
All this is now being carried over into my stitching life as well. Small goals! Now I know I announced that I set a goal of making a little quilt each month- but that I think I can do. Maybe I need to realistically qualify my goal as a "top" each month instead of a "quilt". Quilt implies just that- I've taken needle to the top and stitched 3 layers together and then attached a binding. Done. "Quilt". I'm all for pushing myself just a bit further than I wanted to- so we'll see what comes of it. I could have quilted my little 12 Days of Christmas this weekend. Yup, could have....but I chose instead to revisit a project that has called my name for years. I talked my self in and out of the Civil War Bride Quilt for two years before giving in to buying the pattern. Then when taking care of my mom I began the stitching and quickly discovered that I wasn't happy with how things were looking. I fixed all that yesterday, curled on the couch in the mist of the family (read that as husband and dog) who were both very pleased with my presence for the afternoon. Block #1 was fine. Block #2 needed to have flowers replaced and that is done. Both are pressed and looking very pretty now. They are sitting next to the open (opened to the original quilt top) book I purchased at the Red and White exhibit in NYC last year. Today, I stated working on my third block- the bride herself. She is looking a bit hastily dressed, but I can fix that easily- I'm pleased with her face, neck, hands...the pieces are small, but I did not veer from my needle turn. It is giving me great pleasure- and very sore fingers. I need to start forcing myself to wear a thimble.
I think I will work on her a bit more tomorrow. My mini goal for the week is to finish block #3. This mini goal thing could just work! That reminds me of another goal to add to the list. Photography! Start taking some photos to share when I go on about things I'm doing. Now how hard can that be??

Jan 21, 2012

For the Birds!

I woke up this morning to two things: snow! Yay! (even if it isn't going to be enough to finally go snowshoeing, bah humbug.) and those guys pictured above. Hundreds of them.
Screeching, screaming, fluttering and flying. It's a bit disconcerting. It isn't the first time either. I hear them in all their eerie glory- right through my locked tight bedroom windows.
We have a program here in these parts were we share these noisy nuisances with the cities across the river. We "scare" them away with lights, loud noises and the like and then they fly cross river. Then they return! The smart folk across the river "scare" them way with lights, loud noises and the like. I think all it does is annoy the population of humans and make us a laughing stock to "the flock".

Now it's bad enough that I get up to this, but then I realize I am going to have to practice Duck and Cover all over again. Hey- I grew up in the mist of the Cold War. Ducking and Covering was a subject well practiced in schools. So well practiced I was scared to death the bomb was going to find me no matter what! But I digress...the ducking and covering I need to do during this invasion is due to the rain of droppings let loose by the unruly crowd in the neighborhood trees. It's winter remember- no leaves. Just long branches full of winged creatures. They sit and scream at you as you walk your poor terrified dog (doesn't take much to spook him under these war-like conditions, especially at night when it can get particularly gruesome) and drop their bodily excretions left and right. With the numbers populating the trees, you have to run a zig-zaggety course through the sounds of the plopping. It isn't pleasant. In fact with all the noise and all the taking off, circling and landing (all the while screaming at each other) I feel very much like Tippi Hedren. Remember her??

It's a bit scary I tell you, a bit scary.
But I'm home now. Obviously! I'm safe from the "fall out". For Now! I think I am going to prepare a couple of blocks for handwork- but NOTHING WITH BIRDS!!
Have a good day, folks.

Jan 20, 2012

Hello, Old Friend

Not only is this a greeting to anyone who stills stops by to see if I am still around and blogging, but it is also a very excited greeting to my sewing machine, who has not seen any activity since August of 2011. Some of you who read this blog may know that our family was throw into a bit of turmoil at the end of the summer, and any extra activity such as sewing, blogging and the like came to a swift end. Here we are six months later, and life is returning to it's natural order- a bit different- but less stressful to say the least.
There have been some changes that have done me well. Leaving my job was one of those changes that needed to be done, and I did it willingly. I have learned two things:
1. Poverty wasn't going to be my middle name (smile). I could do without the money I brought home each month. I just would have to mind my spending.

2. In the new order of things, not spending does not impact my ability to quilt.

How does one acquire a stash the size of ...well let's just say BIG!
I know, I know. Working at a quilt shop gave me the ability to see it all, and then indulge myself whenever I wanted to. There is none of that now, and don't get me wrong- I'm not complaining! In fact, I have been thrilled with jumping head first into my stash. Why, just look! My stash did this:

This is my 12 Days of Christmas project. Done from scraps and gave me that good old feeling of satisfaction I used to get after a night of piecing. This little beauty was a blog mystery over at Temecula Quilt Shop's blog, and it just called my name. I knew I could do it. I knew I certainly had enough just in the scrap bin to make 3" blocks. I knew I had plenty of FQ's for the borders. I knew I had to start sewing again.
Just to be sewing again is a joy. I have plenty to keep my busy well into the next century, and now that things have settled into a daily routine most days I am taking full advantage of this crazy life of mine.
It is nice to be back!

I may become a better blogger, who knows! I do know I am learning to be a better person :-)

So hello old friends. It's nice to be back.
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