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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Four days remaining for January goals

It is really hard to get a great picture of the night sky.  The colours are brilliant pink and fuschia and it looks glorious.  Plus, so nice for the evening to stay light, longer and must be the same for here and back home?

I have been stitching away on too many projects at once.  I have a routine of filling between 8 and 10 bobbins at once and when they are empty, I stop and give my machine some TLC, fill bobbins, change needle and clean out the lint.  I love my Janome 6600 - a true workhorse but the the lint always amazes me.

I huge thank you to my friend Marge... she told me about these tiny sticks with a bit of cotton on the end that are perfect for digging out lint.  She learned about them from another guild member, Debbie and they are available from Harbor Freight.
One thing I did do is throw away my old bottle of oil.  I compared the colour of the oil to the new bottle and it was definitely yellow which means it has deteriorated.

As for finishes... or completed blocks, I am plugging away - but I do have my flannel squares put together and the top is ready to take home in March and get it layered, quilted and bound. It is a a very old ufo of a package of flannel squares with more added from my stash.
I have finished making 'happy blocks' which have 6.5" centers and I have a large variety.  I ended up  making over 70 of them.  And am now sorting them into those suitable for preemie quilts and those that would work for Quilts of Valour.

And I have made enough of the Perkimon Valley quilt blocks for the fire victims in California to be able to mail 30 which is enough for a decent size quilt and have enough left over to take home and work on adding more for a Quilt of Valour.  This is a great use of scraps.

And I have a Craftsy kit that was on sale that I bought to go with the surrounded 16 patches that I started a few weeks earlier.  This kit uses a jelly roll and I added in a few more fabrics but this seems to be fairly juvenile oriented prints and the blocks I made earlier are much darker and more adult oriented. 

There are a few more 9 patches from 10" squares being stitched and am hoping to work diligently for the next few days to be able to show a more finished stage of all these projects by the end of the month.  Oops... that is only 5 days away. 
Off to put the pedal to metal... or to the floor!  Too many ideas, not nearly enough time!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Third post in January.. wow!

My "happy" blocks are growing ... there is a nice stack of them on the ironing board and I have a stack ready to stitch on my sewing machine table.

I also have more of my 9 patch surrounded blocks made... am using these as leaders and enders for my flannel squares project.
Of course, I can't limit myself to 3 projects and have been playing with a pattern I found online yesterday for huge split 9 patches.  The blocks are 10" squares sewn into a 9 patch and split in half in each direction.  I love big blocks and fast and easy is great for donation quilts.  This was such a happy fabric, I thought it would be fun to see how the block would look when stitched and cut.

And my flannel squares are progressing towards a finished quilt top.  Can you tell that I am not enthusiastic about this project?  But, one day at a time and making myself work on it along with these other projects. The larger flannel squares all got trimmed down to make them 5". 

I was at tennis practice at 7am and then hung around the courts for awhile, chatting... I know, hard to believe that I would stand around visiting with other players but that is what I do best!  Home to catch up on emails and now, a little bit of housework and a free afternoon to play in my sewing room.  My hubby is playing ball so no one to distract me and if he does come home, he will be heading to bed since he has the "man cold".  I tried to keep him from catching it from me but no luck.. strange though how it took a full two weeks before he showed any signs of having caught it... but he has all the signs now of a full fledged cold.  Yuck. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Finally, some stitching happened!

I made a few 'happy blocks' from the Heartstrings group on Yahoo and some framed nine patches using fat quarters.  Not a lot of sewing but it is a start and felt good!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A New Year but not such a new me!

This has been a crummy beginning to 2018. It is the first time in my life that I was not organized to end the year and begin a new one with enthusiasm. 
I had to fly home for a week at Christmas in December and that was the worst Christmas that I can remember in my long life of 70 years.  My husband was having health issues and he was cranky.  I didn't feel in control of my daily activities and the weather was brutal and I felt lost.  There were some great moments in all of that.  In my cedar chest, I found some awesome winter sweaters and at the back of the closet, I found my fur coat and a super warm winter jacket.  But no sewing got done at all!
We returned to our sunny and warm home on Boxing day and I was immediately involved in a tennis tournament but sadly, my partner had been ill with a lousy cold for a week and I didn't realize just how ill he still was.  We didn't play well and a few days later, guess who had a sore throat?
I hustled to get my Xmas tree taken down and the house cleaned up knowing that I was going to potentially get the inevitable cold.  A trip to the local drugstore helped with lots of Zicam (to lessen or reduce the symptoms of a cold) plus a few boxes of super soft kleenex.
And then, bingo, the cold arrived full force on Jan 3rd and that was the end of regular routine and the beginning of life on the sofa!
I keep reading blogs where everyone is organizing for the new year.  I love the eighteen in 2018.  I enjoy reading about how many projects got accomplished last year and how many quilts were donated to charity.  None of that has happened here! 
But... in December, I made this quilt top and I have to say, it was the best use of fat quarters since I discovered Atkinson's yellow brick road!

But, where are the instructions?  I 'think' I might have taken them home?  I have no idea.  But I know each fat quarter was cut up into a square for the center and then strips and all mixed and matched. 
Today was the first day I ventured into my sewing room since mid December and I really am not sure where to start.
So, I began with cutting up Christmas fabric for pillowcases.  I cut the body, accent and cuff from fabrics that I have been buying on sale and want to make these for gifts for next year.  I realized when I was home that I had no small gifts to hand out to neighbours and friends.  These are ready to stitch when I get home as I prefer to use my serger.
I have a plus quilt ready to cut and stitch.
I have put some flannel squares onto my design wall.  Surprise, the kit of squares I had were 5.5" and the ones I cut were 5".  That was enough to make me walk away in annoyance.
I have projects stacked on my desk.
I have a pile of kits and layer cakes and jelly rolls, with patterns in a container (well, there is more elsewhere but these ones appeal to me).
And more in my walk in closet.

I am very organized!  But no sewing is happening.  And not much else either! So, I walked outside and took a few pictures in our backyard.
The oranges and grapefruit are ripening and I have been craving grapefruit.  I decided to listen to  my body and have been eating one a day even though they are still not quite sweet enough.  However, they are juicy and my cravings are getting satisfied.

Our pomegranate tree is losing all its leaves... seems funny here in Arizona but that is the nature of that tree.  New leaves will grow before the last ones have been shed.
My sister gave me a journal system for Christmas.  I have other journals as well.  I did organize them all into one basket.  The best idea I have heard that might just be my method of choice is to start every Monday with a list of projects for the week.  Things you want to get done.  It is referred to as the 'task master' and am going to try that and see if it gives me the required 'kick in the butt'. 
Happy New Year and hopefully you are healthy, happy and stitching up a storm! 
Otherwise, I am tempted to make a cup of hot lemon and honey and curl with another book!