Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bob Bob Bobbin Along...

Sometimes I hate making bobbins. They always run out at the most inopportune times and I don't have one of those machines that warns me when my bobbin is getting low. I do most of my piecing with grey thread, and when I make a bobbin, I tend to make 3 or 4, but I still have to stop to change them.... sigh. Sometimes it's not a big deal. Unfortunately a lot of my work is chain piecing and I can sew 40 or 50 items without bobbin thread before I realize I've run out. That's a pain in the ass at the best of times... but when you're paper piecing, it's a LOT worse... your paper is already perforated and sometimes a second time through actually separates the sections.

So... what brought this up was that I'm preparing for the New Year's Day Mystery at Quiltbug. This is a paper-pieced mystery and, yeah, I did about half of the pieces without bobbin thread. Sigh.

My mood wasn't enhanced by the fact that we'd just gotten back from about 16 hours of driving in 2 days. (Up to see my DMIL and DFIL for the holiday). It was a lovely visit but OH, that drive! We usually stay a few days when we go, but this time we drove up on the 24th and back on the 25th... bleah!

On an up note, we are looking forward to seeing Avatar at the IMAX tonight. That should be good.

We've been invited to a couple of NYE parties... one is gonna be a drunken brawl, the other is a Wii Party. I think we'll make a short appearance at the brawl and then go play Wii. Games are more our style than TML (too much liquor). I guess I won't be doing any NYE mysteries... just NYD.

It's going to be a busy few months after that... I've got so many quilty commitments: The new longarm, Road to California in January, Machine Quilter's Conference in February, Glendale Quilt Show in March... and potentially a retreat in April. In addition, I'm hosting my minigroup in January and hosting a mini-sew-in for them in February in my home. I have to finish two quilts for an upcoming show... one of which is partially done... the other isn't even started yet. HELP! The more I think about how much I've gotta do, the more that little nagging sense of panic starts to set in. But sometimes it's that panic that motivates too...

I hope I don't motivate myself into an asylum...

Today I am grateful for owning a reliable car (and a husband who helps me keep it that way - mostly by nagging a bit, but it works), for CalTrans, for the I5, for good friends and good health, and especially for a new year with all the new hope and new possibilities that it could bring.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finishing Touches

Today I finished another quilt top... Which adds yet one more item to my UFO pile. It's getting bigger... and bigger... I have no idea how many I have now, but it's far too many... Some of them are PIGs, some are WHIMMs, most are simply basic UFOs...

I have had no ambition to actually QUILT anything lately. I feel guilty about it, like I'm letting someone down, but really when I think about it, I'm not. So they sit awhile. And I AM expecting my longarm to be delivered in January. I will probably have more inspiration to quilt when it arrives. I'd better, or my husband may kill me or divorce me. I bought it, I damn well better USE it.

I am afraid I'll be too intimidated by it. I think he thinks so too. I guess I've gotta prove him wrong.

I am excited about it, but I'm a little scared of the whole thing the closer to delivery date this gets... What if it's all too much for me? What if I'm not good at it? What if... what if... what if?

I've always been terrified of the 'what ifs' in life. I'm surprised I ever got married, or had a child or bought a house... those are all big ones...

Well... I've come this far... too late to back out now. Onward and Upward... Excelsior!

Today I am grateful for weather. Does that sound stupid? Maybe to folks from outside socal, it does... but we rarely have weather here... we have climate. It's hot, warm or cool, but rarely do we have 'weather'... real, changeable, day to day changes. Clouds & precipitation aren't the norm here... we get clear skies or overcast, that's about it. Tomorrow we are supposed to have clouds, with maybe some rain, high winds and really cold temps. Finally - more sweater weather! I love wearing sweaters! I think I'll light a fire, sew, and pray for rain.

The Coming Year

I think that, while I will never be a perfect housekeeper... in fact I'll never be much of one at all... the massive clutter problem is under control at last. I've managed to keep the house relatively clutter free since the organizers finished over a month ago. We are keeping things from piling up, dealing with stuff when it comes in the house, generally keeping clutter under control. We have places for things and things go in their places. Finally, I have a home that we can enjoy, and visitors can enjoy as well. My mother would be proud of me, at last.

As for the coming year, I've already started planning ahead... There are a lot of things I'd like to do this year. I never place much stock in New Years Resolutions - they are usually quickly forgotten and rarely kept. Still, I have plans for the New Year. Here are my plans, so far. (No doubt they will be added to/modified as time goes on).

1. Finish the requirements to get my adult school credential
2. Catalog all my WIPs, PIGs and WHIMMs
3. Prioritize all my WIPs, PIGs and WHIMMs
4. Be on time for appointments and classes.
5. Finish AT LEAST one project for every new one I start.
6. Take at least one trip every 2 months with my DH, even if it's just for a weekend getaway.

I still intend to keep up with my 'gratitude' posts. Is it true that being grateful changes your outlook? I dunno... I'm still practicing it. Sometimes it's hard to think of something I'm grateful for that doesn't seem petty and self-serving or trite. It's supposed to get easier, the more you do it. So far, not so much... still.. here goes:

Today I am grateful for a husband who cooks. He not only enjoys it, he's good at it too. I'm very lucky.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Score!

I got up this morning and started sewing. When I went to press what I'd sewn, my iron wouldn't get hot. Not sure what happened, needless to say, I was highly disappointed. I took a trip to a local store to buy a new one. They apparently don't make the model I had before any longer, but there was still one on display at the store. I looked at a couple of newer models of comparable features and decided on one of them. On a whim, I asked the salesperson if, since they no longer needed the floor model, and couldn't sell it - if they'd throw it in if I bought the newer model. He took it down off the display, put it in my cart and told me to tell the checker that I brought it in my old one to compare. I gave him a wink and a nod, and bought myself a new iron, with a second one to boot. Now I have one for home and one to take on retreats. That floor model iron is working great! I love it, and hate the idea that there won't be any more of them in the future.

I only accomplished a little today, quilting-wise. Two complex paper-pieced kanji blocks... but I think we finally finished the last of our holiday shopping with gifts for my in-laws today. My husband still needs a secret-santa gift for a co-worker though. I'm glad I did most of my shopping online earlier. Now I just have to wrap things and decorate our solstice foliage.

I'll be doing the New Year's Day mystery quilt at www.quiltbug.com, so I'm preparing for that as well. I've got several quilts to finish before October. That sounds like a long time to get ready for it, but it's not that long, especially with all the things I have planned for the near future...

January - Road to California show and new longarm machine arriving; February - quilting conference in northern California, March - several classes at Glendale quilt show, trip to North Carolina to visit a friend; April - possible quilting retreat; sometime in all of that, I have to finish the requirements to get my teaching credential and I have 4 quilts that have to be finished before October... preferably before July. Two of those quilts WIPs, two are WHIMMs. I know it seems like July and October are a long way off yet, but as with all such things, the time seems to just disappear and these long-term goals turn into last minute panic deadlines.

I wish I was a more organized, focused person. Then maybe these projects wouldn't seem so daunting. I think I need to get on a 'no-new-projects' program. That is one of my biggest problems... I keep seeing things that 'won't take long' and I try to squeeze them in. And while individually these projects don't really take that long, they DO eat up time and distract me from what I NEED to be doing. On that note, I decided NOT to sign up for the 'Saturday Sampler' at the local quilt shop this year... I will still be doing on-line BOMs, but I can skip months on those and do the blocks whenever I want - even save the patterns and do them next year (or at least after October).

What am I thankful for this time around? I am grateful for the little courtesies to and from strangers - doors held open, smiles, friendly greetings, wishes for a merry season... while these things are more prevalent in this season when folks are reminded to take time to feel friendly towards strangers, they are there all the year round. Say hello to someone with a scowl, hold open a door to a cold, hurried shopper, buy a cup of coffee for a complete stranger, leave an opening for someone else to turn into your lane. Give a little, get a little... karma, baby.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Saw 'A Little Night Music' at the Kentwood last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love Sondheim - well, his lyrics anyway. I think I like his shows more when someone else composes, but his lyrics are inspiring. I, too, am a word junkie and just love how he plays with rhyme, syntax, metre.... Anyway, saw the play with a couple of folks (DH and DA) who aren't Sondheim fans, so we all agreed to disagree.

Today I haven't sewn at all... didn't even touch any fabric except a small piece that was in the wrong place... just moved it. No sewing, nothing constructive.

I did run a short D&D game, but mostly it was a wasted day. Tomorrow I will do better.

Today I am grateful for second chances... for the opportunity to right wrongs, to fix mistakes, to make up for shortcomings. We all need second chances from time to time, and we need to allow others to have them as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

...and more rain...

It's still raining steadily and is supposed to continue through tomorrow. I hope it does... I am just LOVING all this rain.

Tonight I get to drive into Santa Monica to visit a dear friend, go out to dinner, and hopefully see a movie.

Finished my settings for the Saturday Sampler and now working on borders, so something accomplished at least. I hope I can have at least the inner border done by the time I leave for SM this afternoon.

I participated in my first quilted post card exchange this season. I sent out two postcards and have received one of the two I'm expecting. It's beautiful - machine embroidered with a fantastic scalloped stitched edge. I hope they like the ones I sent out. Only mailed them on Thursday, so not sure when they will arrive at their destinations. I can't wait to see my second one. Maybe next exchange, I'll do more than one group. I love getting mail!

Today I am grateful for good health. So many people are sick this time of year. It doesn't matter if it's H1N1, seasonal flu, cold, or something more serious, any sickness just drains you. My best friend has a cold in the middle of the tumult of the first stages of divorce. She is laid up at home while her husband is in the process of moving out. I cannot imagine dealing with such a thing while feeling so low already. My heart just aches for her. The news is full of horrible health threats this time of year... so many young folks falling ill or even dying of H1N1 respiratory effects. While I am not without the aches and pains of aging, I am in relative good health and I cannot be thankful enough for it. I think too many of us, in the turmoil of our busy day to day lives, forget what a blessing it is to have our health.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rainy Day

Happily piecing, albeit slowly... making the setting squares for a Saturday Sampler I did this past year. I wish I could get up the initiative to quilt, but that would mean cleaning off my sewing table a bit more... Otoh, I have the excuse that I'm waiting for my longarm to do my quilting. One more month to go.

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. I have no presents for anyone tonight. I was thinking about shopping today for my son but, well, I love the rain most when I can stay in the house sewing in front of a roaring fire... I do like driving in the rain, but I didn't feel like getting out of my pj's today.

Today I am grateful for rain. I love the sound of the rain on the roof and looking out at the hills through the slanted bars of the falling rain. Not to mention the fact that we need the rain here so we can have snow in our mountains. It is the melting snow that fills our reservoirs. Maybe we can have a summer without water rationing next year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ever have one of those days?

Forecast for 5 days of rain, and still no rain. A zillion things to do come Monday, and the weekend seems to be crawling along... the things that should be fun aren't... the accomplishments that should feel good don't... bleah...

That's how I feel... bleah...

The only thing that makes it all seem worth waiting through is rain... PLEASE let it rain... soon.

I want to be warm and cozy with a roaring fire while it pours outside and I can sew all day long.

Today I feel grateful for the change in the weather, even though so far it's just lots of threatening clouds and the chill in the air.... We definitely need the rain. It's December already and we're still on water rationing here. A good solid 5 days of rain (and snow in the mountains to fill our reservoirs) would be more than welcome.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No Pain, No Gain... but no pain!

I've been doing this not-so-extreme boot camp thing 3 days a week. It still all hurts... but I guess it's been doing me some good. I wish I could just get skinny and not work at it... my genes just suck I guess.

On a more positive note: I'm grateful for a warm house in cold weather, and warm kittehs to purr in my ear at night. They seem like little things, but when I think about the homeless on these cold nights, it makes me realize what a big thing having warm shelter really is. And the kittehs? well, without a cat, a house isn't a home.

I finished two quilt tops this past weekend, and am working on a few more quilts (one block at a time for most of them), and am eagerly awaiting my longarm due to be delivered in early January... hoooooray!