Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cruising Along

Took a Hawaiian cruise... leaving from San Francisco and sailing to Hawaii, visiting 4 ports, then returning to SF via Encenada, Mexico.   15 days and nights at sea basically... 10 of the days just sailing, which I find usually restful and relaxing.... but this cruise it was brutally hard work lugging sewing machine (did I mention it was a quilting cruise?)  from our forward cabin to the aft sewing room daily, then back, then trekking back aft again for dinner, then back forward afterwards... I was a wreck most days after all that hard work, and my knees were killing me.. It was hard to sleep in such pain, but I did manage.  Got a lot of reading done and watched a lot of movies (in the room on the tv there).... saw 2 shows, stayed out of the casino (i rarely gamble), and the bingo games (my one gambling foray would be this, but I stayed strong this cruise)...

I took 2 classes on the cruise... one was called 'The Big Easy' and my quilt ended up looking like this:
Fun to make and the blocks were easier than they look.  Got to shop in Hilo at 4 quilt shops and found the border fabric on one of them...

I also took a Mystery Quilt class.  All we knew was that we needed a light, medium and dark fabric, so this was what I came up with when all was said and done:
Not really my fabric styles, but the colors are nice... I think I would have been happier with a batik, but it's a nice quilt, and I will donate it and someone will love it, I'm sure.  The process was fun at least.

I also worked on a couple of BOM blocks and got 6 made (should have been 8, but I made a couple of fatal errors on 2 of them).  I won some prizes, and did some gift exchanges, all fun stuff... made some new friends and just had an overall good time.

I will probably never do anything like that again without my husband, but I'm glad I went.  Also, if I ever do anything like that again, I will make sure my room is at the same end of the ship as a the quilting/sewing room and dining room that I'm assigned to. 

Last night of the cruise (Friday), I started coughing... On the drive home Saturday morning, I started running a fever and coughing more... by the time we got home to southern California (from San Francisco), I was seriously sick, and crawled into bed without unpacking... Sunday and Monday were a blur, mostly spent sleeping and feeling miserable when awake.  Tis is now Weds. evening and the sore throat and fever are gone, and I feel a little better.  I'm so glad this didn't happen while I was still sailing. 

Tomorrow I will start catching up on projects left languishing while I was gone... My first priority is the round robin block from my guild, which I lost 2 weeks of time on because of the cruise... After that, I have like 6 different bom projects in various stages of backlog (some only a month behind, but most of them 2-3 months in arrears. 

LOTS to do, and a 4-day retreat coming up in which to try to catch up some.  I am starting to feel the time pressure I was trying to avoid by not signing up for any saturday samplers at local shops this year... too many BOMs and too many commitments... and no way out of any of them... Aaaargh!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

NQR - Disappointment and Depression

I must admit that I am a recovering (?) depressed person, on daily meds to keep it under control (Pristiq and Abilify).  Still, sometimes it's hard not to let events creep in lay the seeds for disappointment which leads to depression.

Tonight, friends and I had tickets to see Jersey Boys at the local Cultural Arts Center, performed by a national touring company.  We've had these tickets for months, waiting for tonight's event.  I declined an invitation to an Oscar Party that we attend annually to go see this show.

We went out for dinner before the show, enjoyed chat and good company while we ate... then headed to the theater.  We arrived at 6:45, plenty of time to get seated for a 7pm show.   We parked, and went in, entered the theater at 6:50 to find the place dark, and the show already in progress.  When we went out to the lobby and asked the usher, we were told the show started at 6:30. 

Furious, I went to the box office to get my money back, only to be told they couldn't refund the money because the misprint on the ticketmaster tickets wasn't their fault.  They said they had made good faith efforts to contact all the season ticket holders by phone and email, but the lady who got our tickets (who IS a season ticket holder) never heard a word about it.  We were given a business card of a lady who is in charge of the box office and told to call her on Tuesday (apparently she doesn't work on Mondays).  I was livid... they should have made good on the price of the ticket immediately, imo. 

I had a good cry over the whole thing on the way home (I tend to cry when I get angry).  Of course, now that I'm home and calm, the anger has turned to disappointment and the disappointment to depression.  I hope I can generate some anger again by the time I call this woman on Tuesday.  I will need the edge so I don't cry.

Anyway... I just needed to vent a little, so excuse the rant...

At least they gave us corrected tickets for the next play in the series (those were also mis-printed) while we were at the box office.  So we won't be late for Ragtime next month (which I've seen on stage before, so if I'd missed it, I would have been a little disappointed, but not so much as I am about Jersey Boys, which I've never seen, but love the music from it). 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Finishing things

I made a goal to finish up a few tops this month (February) because most of next month  (March) I'll be en route to/from or in Hawaii.  I am going on a quilting cruise, so I'll be sewing my way across the Pacific both ways, but I'll be working on 'class' projects, not my own UFOs. 

That said, I worked pretty hard on my goal and finished up 4 tops this month.   One is quilted, the other 3 are on the wait list for quilting.

I finished making the top to the second Thimblecreek mystery (they call it a Halloween mystery, but only a few fabrics are really Halloween-ish).  I changed the sashing they designed for it (it was supposed to be a pieced checkerboard sashing, but I didn't like how busy it was, so I redesigned it).

I really like the candy corn border treatment and the little 6" blocks were fun to make.

The Hoffman Color Palette quilt is finished, quilted and bound and I just love it.  Can't wait to find a place to hang it.  I love how it segues from warm to cool (left to right) and light to dark (top and bottom). 

The Animals quilt is finally finished as well... The borders were not as much work as I thought they'd be, and I love how it looks, so it's all good.  I have no idea how to quilt it though.  Traditional quilting like feathering or crosshatching doesn't sound right, and modern type quilting (lots of parallel lines) wouldn't suit it either, so I'm dithering.

I finally finished up that Saturday Sampler from last year too, the red and white one.  It too needs to be quilted of course, and I think an overall pattern for this one will be fine... I will probably end up donating this one eventually, but it was still fun to make.

I will be making 2 quilts on the cruise (one on the way to Hawaii, one on the way back), and there will be free sew time as well, so I'll be working on one of my (piecing only) BOMs.  I will be leaving all the applique BOMs at home, as I do all applique by machine, and we won't have irons available on the cruise (apparently the cruise line only allows them in the laundry rooms and they are a long way from the sewing rooms). 

Needless to say, I should be coming home from the cruise with two quilts that just need borders to finish up, some blocks for the BOM I'll be working on, and hopefully some good memories and new friends.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Projects New and Old

Today was a good day.  I set out to make blocks for a sampler quilt.  I had planned to make two and got four done!  The sampler is set on point and has 13 blocks... I didn't realize that and set my sights on two blocks - December and January (for a Saturday Sampler that started in February 2015).  I thought that would finish out the year, but when I got to the end of the book of patterns, there was one more waiting for me - February 2016!  I got that block done and then made the decision to make 5 more blocks so my quilt won't be square.  I got one of the five done, giving me a total of four for the day.  I've got four more to make now to finish off the blocks for the quilt, then I'll have to figure out how to set them all on point with sashing and such.  The pattern for the setting is a separate purchase from the shop, so I may just try to figure it out myself. 

I made the decision not to do any more Saturday Samplers this year.  The two local shops that are offering them are doing quilts I just don't like very much, using fabrics I don't like either.. (both are using florals, which are WAAAAY outside my comfort zone.  I know it's a good thing to stretch and actually do things outside that zone, but I just don't like florals.  I like flowers well enough, just not on my fabric.  Then again there's the quilts themselves - just didn't like the blocks that much either. 

So instead I'm doing a bunch of block of the months this year - three so far, but I've still got some to finish up from last year, so they are all overlapping.   The ones I am doing for 2016 are:

      Tuxedo Tales
      Susie's World
      Fancy Forest

I am still finishing up Purrfectly Pieced, Bertie's Autumn, the Animals quilt, Nifty Nine-Patch Saturday Sampler from last year.  Not to mention the other quilts I've made that need quilting - SO many of those piled up!  I counted them all and there are 31 (that I found!).  There might be a few more that got missed.  And I've got some I haven't started yet too - unopened kits and such.

I'm sure I'll add more projects as the year progresses, too!  I always find new things I simply 'must' do.  I really need to learn to edit my urges to start new things!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Focusing on Just One Thing

A group I belong to on Yahoo called Stashbusters has this 'JOT' or 'Just One Thing' motto.  It means try to focus on just one thing to get it done, instead of looking at the big picture and getting so intimidated by the totality of what needs to be done that you get nothing done.

My JOT for yesterday was to sew the appliques on the borders of my animals quilt.  I got some of it done, which is good.  I decided after getting about half the appliques done, that I would only concentrate on the colored pieces for now.  I got everything done except blue and green yesterday, plus a bunch of the trees. 

Today, my JOT is to do all the greens and blues... there aren't a lot of blues, but there ARE a lot of green leaves, so I've got a job in front of me.  Today is going to be a busy day, so I'm hoping I get them done.

When the colors are done, I will still have a lot of neutral appliques to sew down, but I can work on those on Weds at my weekly sew-in and not have to carry all my thread with me - just my box of neutrals. 

Here's the quilt on my design wall with the partially-done borders just pinned up on the sides to show what I'm working on. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Simply Woven Quilt-along

I worked very hard to keep up with the quiltalong, but I get ambitious in fits and starts, and like to finish things... so here is my Simply Woven top, all pieced:
I had to hang it sideways on my design wall because it wouldn't fit up and down... it's too big.  I haven't decided what to do with it yet... maybe I'll donate it to a local charity - they might cut it in half or even quarters and make baby quilts out of it - or keep it for when/if they need a twin quilt for something.  I think I will let them do the quilting though.  I don't want to pay a longarmer for something that I'm not going to use or gift myself.

Petty?  cheap?  maybe both, I don't know... but that's how I feel.  I know some child or children will love cuddling under it no matter who quilts it.

Anyway - I'm off to work on my animals quilt - first borders are cut and ready for sewing... the outer borders are all appliqued and will take a lot of work to finish, so I'm not rushing the process.  I've been working on the quilt for a year now, a few more weeks or months won't make a difference and I have no deadline for its completion.

I like quilts with no deadlines! 


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Setting Goals... and carrying through...

So, per previous posts, I set some goals, following the leader so to speak at both Red Letter Quilts' OMG and Prairie Moon Quilts' Studio Organizing Challenge.

Just a little reminder of what it all looked like before in my studio (books and patterns just piled up on any handy surface):

  Here is my nice neat bookshelves with all my books and patterns, much tidier than before, yes?

I suppose I could have organized them by title or author, but I didn't... I just put them all away nice and neatly... further organization may come in time... I'm just happy they are neat and clean.

Next week's challenge is to clean the files on my computer... that's gonna be a tougher one... but I will clean up my old mail files and do another backup of my files... that will have to do... perhaps I'll delete a few unneeded files, but most are ones I need to save for one reason or another (I'm usually pretty good about deleting them when I'm done with them, so the computer doesn't look as bad as my studio did).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A first foray into modern quilting...

Well, I didn't finish putting books away, but I have a few more hours left in the day...

Instead I sat down at the machine and finished piecing a quilt I've been working on called 'The Color Palette quilt'  It is made from a panel printed by Hoffman fabrics and the pattern for it is available free on their website.

Here is the basic panel the quilt is made from:  (most of the panel is visible in this picture)
The basic idea is that you cut the panel into sections of 3 color swatches in a row... then piece them all together with grey or white strips in between them, then make blocks, sew them together into the quilt... it sounds confusing, but is very easy... Here is the finished quilt top:

I don't know when I'll get to quilting it, but I'm happy I made it. 

Later tonight, the books for sure!!! because the next studio organizing challenge begins tomorrow!...  And since my word for the year is FINISH, I don't want to start out by not finishing something I started so soon. 

Enough on the computer... back to work!

Friday, January 8, 2016

OMG - One Monthly Goal Challenge - January

I sometimes need a little push to get things done.  I admit it, I often feel no real initiative to get up and DO things.  It's so much easier to sit on my ass and watch tv and play on the computer.

I've joined in a challenge this year called OMG (or One Monthly Goal)...  Here is a link to the challenge if you want to read about it and maybe join yourself.  The deadline for joining in on any monthly challenge is the 7th of each month, but January has been extended to the 10th, so you have a couple of more days to hop in.

My goal for the first month (January) is to put away all my quilting books.  My husband had to move my bookshelves to put up my design wall last month and I STILL haven't put the books back away again.  So putting away (and arranging) my books and patterns is my goal for January.

Here is a picture of the 'mess' my husband left:
I will post a picture of the nice orderly shelves when they are finished.

As for other stuff going on... just busy busy with holiday stuff... and now, after promising myself to back off the bom's for 2016, I am signed up for like 5 of them... but I am going to stay away from the LQS Saturday Samplers... none of the shops are doing quilts I want to do, so I'm safe there.

I am still finishing up BOMs from last year, and I have no in-progress pics to share with you right now, but that will hopefully change soon.

Back to the grind for me... Happy Quilting to you!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Word for the Year 2016

In 2014, JOURNEY was my word for the year.  I wanted my life to be about the process rather than the end product... not just in quilting but in everything.  I did pretty well on that front, enjoying the journey along the way, rather than rushing through everything to get to the end. 

For 2015, I chose the word SIMPLIFY to guide my steps for the year.  I got rid of a lot of superfluous stuff... quilting and otherwise.  Moving helped a LOT with that - we got rid of SO many books and LOTS of trash - truckloads of stuff, literally, but lots of quilting things too - excess fabric, duplicate rulers, notions and the like.

My word for the year 2016 is going to be FINISH.  I've started so many things in 2015 and I really need to see an end to these projects so I can feel good about starting new ones.   I have made a promise not to start any new BOMs that I'm not already signed up for (only one new one of those, so I don't feel overwhelmed to start the year.  I'm afraid they will do a Bertie's Summer quilt and I will feel the need to sign up for that one... luckily the Bertie's seasonal quilts are all small, just 4-5 month projects, easy to make, easy to quilt. 

I am not forgetting my words from previous years... It's still all about the JOURNEY, and I'm still SIMPLIFYing - ridding myself of extraneous 'stuff' both quilty and otherwise (yes, there are things we moved with that we didn't really need, so still stuff to get rid of), but I want to finish UFO's this year - I have a lot of them...

I would love to choose a word like 'PLAY' or 'MESSIFY' (I know that's not a real word, but I don't know how else to say it), but I feel like that will have to wait a year.  (By messify, I mean giving myself permission to paint messily, color outside the lines and so forth - I need that encouragement sometimes to be 'me' when I am creating instead of just following patterns by rote). 

Anyway - I look forward to 2016 and all the finishes I will have for the year!

What is your word for 2016?