Saturday, December 8, 2018

A fresh start

This past year and half has been a struggle with my depression. One thing that I have realized, I do so much better when I have a way to go back and see how far I have come. I don't keep up with journals or diaries, but when I was keeping up with my blog, my mood was much improved. So...I'm going to try again. I may blog about more than just quilting, I also scrapbook and do genealogy research, all of which have fallen by the wayside, so I'll be working on that too!

I was successful in completing a Christmas gift this week, it was a small book for me and my siblings of pictures us together through the years.  Here are a few pages:






Disclosure: I use software called Artisan purchased from Forever.com -  I am an Ambassador (their name for a consultant) so I get a discount when I purchase anything, including the books I order. I've been using a version of this software for over 10 years to do digital scrapbooking.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The rainy season has begun, so has sewing season!

It's the last day of September and the fall rains have started. I live on the West Coast of Canada and our weather is comparable to Seattle, WA. We had another hot, fairly dry summer, which seems to becoming the norm, not the exception. But we can still count on rain, which signals the start of my  sewing season.

I got a kick-start in mid-September while I was recovering from surgery for a gallbladder removal. It is the only surgery I can remember having in my life (I did have my tonsils at 5) but based on my observations of others who have had surgery, I came through with flying colours. I was home 5 hours after the surgery, even though they had to do a larger incision because of size of the gallstones. I was pretty much pain-free with a few days.  So of course, I busted out the sewing machine!!

With 100 days left until Christmas (that was two weeks ago!), I decided to get some I-spy quilts out of the way first. I make these for the littles in my family, and a few other select people. Here's some links to other pages where I have talked about them: Brayden's I-Spy, Zoey's I-Spy.




I like to personalize each one's I-Spy with a block that has their first initial in it.


The new ones make numbers 10,11 and 12. They are basted and ready to quilt. My plan is to get them all quilted this week. Starting today, I'm going to join Kate of Life in Pieces and spending 15 minutes a day sewing, and reporting in each Sunday.


So hopefully next week I can report successfully sewing 7 out of 7 days.

I'm pretty much done making these simple quilts, as I have made one for each of my sister, brother and my grandchildren (all 10 of them)! I have a huge stash of novelty prints still, as each one uses 99 individual blocs, and a fat quarter yields 20 5" squares (if using a Canadian fat quarter). I plan to make up a couple of packs of 99 blocks (just in case) and destash the rest eventually. I have a destash pile started.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Decluttering and destashing

I've had a rough summer, I've had a series of gallbladder attacks and I'm now slated for surgery on Sept. 5th. It means I've been moving a little slower and with no motivation all summer, I haven't got much done other than show up at my full-time job.

I have done some puttering and rearranging, so I've been decluttering the main living area of my home. I donate to Diabetes Canada (as my grandson is a Type 1 diabetic, this charity speaks to my heart) and just this weekend, I have a couple more bags and boxes ready to go for the next pickup. They make it so easy to donate, you just have to schedule a pickup at your home. Here's a link if you live in Canada https://declutter.diabetes.ca/pickup

Now I'm ready to start in my sewing room. I'm still working on my UFO list, and I'm going to have to live to 100 to complete them all! I'm evaluating each one, and rethinking how I'm going to finish each one. Some may become baby or toddler quilts, some wall hangings, other pillows, and others may just go. There will be some handmade Christmas gifts this year, and hopefully a stash of other gifts to use for birthdays, etc.

I'm also going to get rid of some fabric. My tastes have changed, and I have more than enough fabric to last me a lifetime, so I'm putting some packages together to sell once I've recovered from surgery. I'll most likely sell it in one of the Facebook groups.

Here's hoping my plans don't go awry once again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Monday - creating order

I knew Monday evening was going to be busy, as we were having a family dinner at my daughter's to celebrate Zoey's actual birthday (Happy 7th birthday, Zoey!).  So I spent my lunch hour at work creating an Excel spreadsheet of what projects I have on the go and started prioritizing them.


It's hard to read here, but if you click on the picture you should be able to see a close-up of the format I've used.

My headings are:
START DATE (if I can remember)
NAME (of project)
TYPE (Quilt, Wallhanging, Bag, etc.)
PRIORITY (see below for explanation how I have prioritized)
FOR (recipient)
FABRICS CHOSEN (this will help find fabrics for other projects if it's stuck in a bag)
CUT (check mark if fully cut out, copyright symbol if in progress, blank if not started)
PIECED (into blocks, same as above)
ASSEMBLED (flimsy assembled, ")
BACKING (assembled, ")
BASTED (")
QUILTED (")
BINDING (")
FINISHED DATE (")

The last column contains a GLOSSARY of symbols and acronyms used, which will probably grow. Currently, it has the following:
© - Ongoing
10/100 - number of blocks completed/total
🗸 - Done !
LA - quilt by Longarmer
BG - Background fabric
SAL - Sew-along

Once I started creating the list, I realized I needed categories. The part of the list you see above is my priority category, in other projects that have to get done (or before I work on other things. The other categories are: 

CHRISTMAS
NO DEADLINE
WISH LIST

Now, how I prioritize.  Years ago, I did a course on Time Management when my employer started us all on the Franklin-Covey day planners. I need to start using that system all over again, it was a life-saver at the time.  We were taught to prioritize by A, B, C and numbering each of the items in those categories. We're supposed to have no more than 3 in A, 5 in B and I've forgotten how many in C.  On my list I have 4 A's,  4 B's and 9 C's. At least I have the same total number in A & B! I can live with these figures for now. 



In Category A are gifts I have promised but failed to deliver - these are my number one priority! All of them are at the quilting stage - pretty much where I fail. A1 is a gift I promised a year ago, which the baby will outgrow soon. It is adapted from Pat Sloan's Winter Solstice challenge last year. I had started the challenge, but quickly realized I was in too deep with other projects so I finished it off as a baby quilt.


I'm still going to finish it and deliver it, because it is perfect for in the car or travelling, but I am also going to follow up with one of my signature I-Spy quilts. 

Apparently, I need to update my photos as I don't even have one of the completed top. I'll update more of the list this week!

I've spent 1 hour putting the list together, and another hour writing the post, so I have overachieved my 15 minute goal on Monday!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sunday's 15 minutes

Today's 15 minutes of cleaning was gathering together all my free-motion quilting templates and feet into a single container. My friend, Kim, bought a new sewing machine and we are going to learn and practice together, so I needed everything in one place so that I can easily bring it back and forth.

Then I pulled out an old project and assessed where I was at. I started Pat Sloan's Splendid Sampler Block Party and my last report was February 19, 2017 where I left off here:


I did make 8 new blocks in January, but forgot to take pictures of them. I'm still working on embroidering some of the blocks above.


I'm finishing these in quilt-as-you-go method, and started one block at a time. Because my sashing is 3 1" strips, finishing at 1.5", it has taken a bit of figuring out how best to attach them. When I made my first ones, I realized I can't really add the full sashing on all sides. Once I figured that out, I've started to sew the blocks together, by sewing machine on the front and hand-stitching the blocks together on the back. I did sew 3 pairs together before the project got put aside.


 Today I sewed two of those sets together by machine-stitching the sashing together. I had two pieces of the sashing on the right-hand side of the second block in the row above, and one piece on the left-hand side of the third block, and by holding the batting and backing back, I was able to sew the 1/4" seam. Next I'll trim the batting, fuse it together with a narrow strip of one-sided fusible, and then hand-sew the seam of the backing. I'll share that in another post this week.


I then decided I could probably sew two blocks together before quilting them. These are some of my new blocks. You can see here where I have attached the side sashings in pieces. I've also only added a single row of sashing top and bottom, as this row will be designed to fit as the second row. The backing has been added to this piece and I seamed it as individual blocks to be consistent with the first row. If this is successful, I might branch to 4-block units.

In between creating the sashing pieces and sewing the pieces together, I settled on a Leader & Ender project to do. More on that tomorrow!

Sunday's time in the room: 15 minutes cleaning, 2 hours sewing and playing with fabric.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A new beginning

All I can say is Depression Sucks. I've spent the last 3 months working, or vegging on the couch playing stupid computer games. Enough of that!

Yesterday, I finally did a recon in my sewing room and made a mental commitment to spend at least 15 minutes a day in there cleaning, and then if I can manage it, another 15 sewing.  First thing I did was to take "before" pictures:

From the door (looking south):


Better view of the south-east corner:


East wall (not really my happy place right now:


North wall (beside door):


West wall:



My room is on the small side - about 11.5' x 12', with an 8' x 2' closet with a 6' opening. Currently it has carpet but I eventually want to put in vinyl planking for ease of cleanup.

My goal is to have it completely cleaned and reorganized with a month. This also involves new shelving in the closet.

I spent about 2 hours in here on Saturday, about 1/2 hour making enough room on my ironing/cutting board:


I do the majority of my cutting on this table, as I mostly make scrappy quilts or cut from fat quarters. If I need more space, I use my dining room table. 

Once I did that, I cleared my sewing machines - I have two that I use, a 1947 Singer Featherweight 221 for piecing and straight stitching, and a Kenmore for zigzag and quilting. Now I can do my 15 minutes of sewing after 15 minutes of cleaning! I actually managed about 1 1/2 hours today!


First thing I sewed was a T-shirt dress for my oldest granddaughter, Zoey! She is turning 7 tomorrow.


I make these from youth-sized t-shirts by cutting the sleeves off, finishing the edge with a simple turnover of the hem, cutting about 4-6 inches off the t-shirt, and adding a cotton skirt of about 21". She lives in these all summer long.  This one has dinosaur footprints for my dinosaur-loving girl!  I had to leave before she got to open my gift, but apparently she was absolutely giddy when she saw it.

Check in tomorrow to see how I did on Sunday, and later in the week for a recap of Quilt Canada 2018!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Branching out

I've tried something new this year - sewing with knits! I found a great sewing pattern website, Love Notions, which offered a couple of free patterns for the kids.  I've now purchased a few, picked up some knits and started playing.


This is the Trendy Tunic, Size 5 and Size 7, for Mya and Zoey.  The patterns are a .pdf download, and I love that I can easily just print one size at a time, without having to sort through multiple lines.


Zoey loves to wear patterns! Sometimes she's head-to-toe cheetah print!  Mya was in twirly mood that day, so wouldn't wear hers.

I've always been intimidated by knits before, I'm not sure why now! They were so easy to make, and I even learned how to use the twin needle on my machine. My sister has now given me mom's old serger, so I can learn something else!

I got hit with that terrible flu just after my last post, so I haven't been sewing much. I hope now that I have fully recovered, I can get my mojo back.