Mocktails and inventory

IMG_4029There was this brief moment when I was perfectly together.  At least that was my memory.  At the time I am sure I felt like I had many things to improve.  But I was healthy (thinner) and had almost no debt.  I remember wearing a crisp white shirt and fixing seltzer water with lots of ice and citrus in a faux vintage antique glass from Martha Stewart’s line from K-Mart.  (Yes, this was a looooong time ago.)  I remember driving to meet a friend and sliding that glass into the cupholder of my Oldsmobile Alero and feeling very… something.  Chic?  Probably not – it was a glass from K-Mart in an Oldsmobile.  But maybe it was chic – or together – something that eludes me now.

The cultural start of fall was accompanied by cooler weather today.  Not freezing cold to kill dead the mosquitos that I HATE.  But that is too much to ask of September.  But a fall chill-ish in the air.  Fall always makes me feel relieved.  And it always makes me want to be more “together”.  I will be chopping off my hair soon and pretending I like to and am able to cook.

I have a closet to clean out and a ton of work and e-mails to get through – plenty of stuff I could tackle to be more “together”.  But tonight I made a mocktail and went through my scary sewing works-in-progress stack.  I have 28 projects that have been started but not completed.  28.  28!  TWENTY EIGHT!!!  Definitely not chic.  Martha Stewart would demand her fake vintage glass back.

So, like any reasonable twenty-first century girl, I made a spreadsheet.  I identified 17 projects that I can reasonably finish this year – one a week.  My criteria was ridiculously old (a baby quilt top I finished three years ago) or ridiculously close to being finished (a wall hanging that has one more side of binding to sew on) or both (my Advent calendar that I have only three more ornaments to make!)

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This is the nice neat stack of quilting work I will get done this year.

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When I have a lot of time to sew, I often choke.  This weekend I had two glorious days all to myself to sew.  And I. wasted. time.  But yesterday I hunkered down and finished this quilt commemorating our vacations to Colorado.  It was well-liked on Instagram.  I am not sure.  It is overly cheerful – but it will make a happy car/travel quilt.  I need to iron and send off to the quilter and that will be one of 17 done.

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Also, germaine to nothing except my squirrel-like focus for sewing projects.  Here are some cute little baby bibs I made for the cutest boy.  I got a snap setter in order to finish these off.  Is there anything better than a snap setter?  Probably not.  Except of course of the memory of Martha Stewart’s line for K-Mart.

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Ok, well now all I really want to do is make baby bibs.  Sigh.

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Flowers in the snow

We have gone to Colorado, specifically Estes Park, 3 years in a row now. It feels like our place, our vacation. Hopefully the kids will feel that way too as they get older and remember summers.

One of my favorite parts of the vacation is going up the mountain from warm air to cold air. I love cold – and so the opportunity to be enveloped by crisp air in July or August is relevatory to me. It is a gift for me. The first time we saw snow I kept exclaiming “That’s snow! In August – that’s snow!”

I am working on a quilt to represent Colorado memories. Rainbow log cabins, sky full of stars, mountains, and, of course, snow. This block harkens to flowers in snow for me – wildflowers and snow on the mountains – not that far from each other.

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And I had my toes painted white the first pedicure I got after vacation – just a reminder that not that long ago my toes were close to snow.

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Being Essential

I have thought hard about what I want to focus on in life.  There is work and there is family.  Those are no-brainers.  And my health isn’t the best.  I have some things I need to fix.  Not want to fix, not should fix – need to fix.  I know I will feel better if I eat less and move more.  Sigh.  And I need to manage my stress.  I have gotten a fairly decent meditation routine in.  I would like to amp that up with some regular yoga.

So exercise, yoga, and sewing.  If I focus on those things I think I will get better at all of them.  Each day I can make progress.  They vicious circle is finding the energy to do the things to give me energy when I feel so zapped.  Really zapped.  I know it is my blood sugar and thyroid.  And I know seeing the doctor and moving more will fix both.  But I don’t wanna.  🙂  But I will.

Today I felt pretty low physically.  But I did sew some.  A woman at work is having a baby  and doesn’t want to know the gender and doesn’t have a particular color scheme in mind.  Hello, creativity.

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I copied the pattern from a picture of a quilt a friend recently sent me.  Her quilt is gorgeous – black and white squares surrounded by white sashing and pale pink setting squares.  I had the black-and-white squares already cut.  I decided on mint and yellow ombre.  Love that one fabric provides so many different colors.  I am still searching for a back.  J will do simple straight-line quilting and I am going to work hard to improve my binding skills with this one.  I really do want to get better at that.

In addition to the constant stream of baby quilts, I have been working on the Gypsy Wife Quilt using a new fabric line designed by Robyn Pandolph.  The fabric is very shabby chic, harkening back to when I used Robyn Pandolph fabrics in the 90s.  🙂   I absolutely fell in love with this fabric, now I am just hoping it can keep my interest for the entire quilt.  I think it will be beautiful, but right now it is feeling a little same-y.

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In other news, my kittencat still is off-the-charts cute and sweet.  Although right now he is off napping somewhere, which means I can do some beading embroidery.  Absolutely impossible when he is near.

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Sunday Seven

Oh, hello, blog.  It is hard for me to know where to get started, so jumping in with seven things I have been doing or thinking about…

My perfect cat!  Toby is tiny and interesting, and at times a real shit.  But I am his favorite person.  Every morning he snuggles next to me on my pillow.  Such a small thing, but makes such a big difference in my happiness level.  Here are some pictures of Mr. Perfect.

Seasonal quilts!  The feeling of time is accelerating.  Weeks, months, seasons whip by.  I an attempt to try and mark the passing of time, I am planning to switch the quilt hanging in my dining room.  So far there has been Valentine’s Day and Spring.  Not sure what I am going to do yet for Summer.

Deadlifts!  I love them – and have a goal of doing them every day for the next seven days, and eventually being able to deadlift 120 lbs.  I couldn’t sleep last night and was at the gym by 5 AM cranking Beyonce and deadlifting.  I can’t imagine better music to deadlift to.   I have not picture of me deadlifting; however, this is an image of the type of contraption I use for deadlifting.   A hexagon-like thing.

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Baby Quilts!  First, I know TWO people who are having girls.  The string of baby boy quilts is broken.  I love baby boys, but am anxious to make some baby girl quilts.  I have gotten really, really bad about remembering to take and post finished pictures of baby quilts.  I know of at least two that have been completely undocumented and one that has been unreported.  That lunacy stops down.  I mean if I haven’t posted a picture of a completed quilt, did it even really get made.  Below is a WIP baby quilt, with a grumpy cat posing by it.

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And this is a quilt that I finished last year and didn’t report on.  I don’t have a picture of the completed quilt, just the quilt top.

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Cable.  I was hip.  I had severed the ties to the man, specifically the man in the form of cable.  I had Netflix, Amazon, Sling, HBO Now, Hulu.  But we spent so much time trying to find where who had what to watch that I was going a little crazy.  And I couldn’t just watch an episode of Ellen Degeneres or The Rachel Maddow show without commercials or when I wanted to.  Which I could when I had cable.  I still HATE cable, but I do love to go to one place that has 90% of the things I want to watch and I can fast forward through commercials.  I am not hip.

Drawing.  I am letting myself develop this skill slowly.  Like a kid would, I am tracing and copying to learn to draw.  And I am not beating myself up about it.  I don’t need to draw to feed my family or get a hostage released.  So I can be slow and bad about it.  I have drawn a few flowers recently and LOVE water color pencils and this book.

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Here is one of my forays:

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Being sparkly!  So many boring cliches to pack into a few sentences.  I love Big Little Lies.  I hate how I now look my age.  I have always been a fairly low-fuss girl.  I have never been recognized for my beauty or style, so I didn’t work too hard at it.   And my mother has always had flawless skin, so I wasn’t worried.  Ends up I don’t have my mom’s skin.  Ends up I have to do all of those boring beauty regimen things to not have my skin look like my actual age.  I hate that.  And I hate that I care enough to hate that.

In Big Little Lies (book at TV show) Madeline is recognized for being a sparkly girl.  I am doing my best.  Getting my nails done, moisturizing CONSTANTLY, accessorizing and putting on makeup.  I can’t decide if it is worth it.  I have decided I wished I didn’t care.  But it seems I do.

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Fall!

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Doesn’t it seem like Fall flies by?  Definitely the best of the seasons and it always goes too quickly.  This year is no different.  We only have the kids every other weekend, so our fall weekends are precious.  When my stepson had an all-day debate tournament last weekend, we tried to get some fall fun in with my stepdaughter, but it was tough.  Every place was busy, no parking, etc., etc.  We did get this one adorable picture of her though.

I have been enjoying some sewing.  I have tried to focus on process rather than pushing to finish a lot.  I have worked on this quilt several weekends in a row – which is pushing against my desire to GET STUFF DONE.  Which is probably good for me.

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I have fluctuated between loving and hating it – but I think I am solidly in the loving it camp now.  I love all the interesting shapes the 1/2 square triangles and triangles make.  And I think I like the color palette – lots of low-volumes and neutrals and a purple-less rainbow.  I had cut several black squares, but it was too overpowering, so they were edited out.  Which means I will be several blocks short to be able to finish my quilt.  But I am ignoring that fact right now.

 

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I had to make 240 1/2-square triangles for this quilt.  Actually, 480 because I got a little baby 1/2 square triangle by sewing a 1/2-inch over from my seam for the big 1/2-squqr3 triangle.  About a third through the process, I taped guides on the machine so I didn’t have to mark my squares.  Lesson learned – going to do that from the beginning next time.

Happy Fall – I am hoping for cooler weather here so that this little guy will want to cuddle at night.

 

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Obsession

I love purl soho too much.  The gorgeous projects, colors, materials beckon me to a life that is not mine.  Simple, pure, fresh, minimal color palette.  My life is full of complications and color and chaos.  And that is how I like it – for reals.

But I can get lost in the purl soho website.  And I have more than once.  I have banned myself from it.  NO. MORE.  Does that seem excessive?  It probably is, but lets examine the evidence…

It started with this bag…  the wraparound pocket tote.  I love the style of the big pocket on the outside.  I made this as a thank-you gift for a woman at work.

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It was a challenge.  I powered through and like what I ended up with, but it was a challenge.

And so I made a second of the same tote in the color palette of my life.  And I really, really love it.  The pattern was a lot easier the second time – and very satisfying to make.

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And now I have a sea of in-progress purl soho projects.

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Upper Left: A selfish-sewing modular block quilt

Upper Right: An advent calendar with felt pieces.  This one definitely has a deadline.

Lower Right: Letters for my niece.  This is a wonderful project – making an alphabet using purl soho’s amazing felt (you can’t get stuff like this at Joann).

Lower Left: Giant scarf.  Lots of tiny, tiny stitches.  I love the stitching and I am sure I will love the outcome – but this one probably won’t be ready until next fall.

These are just the purl soho WIPs.  Too, too many.  And so I need to play it as it lays.  No more pushing to finish lots.  I am going to do my best to enjoy my stitches, delight in each little finish, and try really darn hard not to start anything new and staying off the purl soho website.  Wish me luck.

WIP Update

Here is a change of pace… a blog entry about quilting on a quilting blog!

Sharing my looooong list of WIPs….

IMG_2462Project Linus Quilts – I have 9 more I want to make before year end.  I have one top done, and several unused quilt blocks in bright colors.  My goal was 1 quilt per month, but has been only 1 quilt per 3 months.  Lots to catch up on.  Luckily I mostly just need to quilt and bind.  I have lots of blocks to use.

The Colorado Quilt.  Despite a giant list of projects waiting for me, I lost one whole weekend to making scrappy log cabin blocks to frame the row-by-row patterns  I collected in Colorado.  The blocks are so full of color and joy.  I really want to get back to this project.

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The Living Room Wall Hanging.  Again.  One of the last projects I finished before I got my Juki (I love my Juki) was a wall hanging for the living room featuring curved blocks.  Loved the fabric.  Loved the pattern.  But my sewing was sub-par.  My skills and sewing machine weren’t suited for the project.  I then got really bummed out that a bunch of gross light black dye stains got on the quilt when I washed it.  My husband claims I am the only one who can see them.  I know he is lying.  And I am so sick of seeing them.  I am working on a replacement from  pattern in Quilt Now.  I love how the new quilt will look.  And so looking forward to not facing that stain every day.

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Poppies!  Earlier this year my mom and I collaborated on a quilt as part of a challenge from our Modern Quilt Guild.  We didn’t finish in time, but it is such a cool project that I would like to see to completion.  It is a representation of the World War 1 Museum in Kansas City.  Everything is done except for appliqueing on the poppies.

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Tessellation Quilt.  This one is for the love of fabric.  I have the fabric, I have the desire.  I hate paper piecing.  But the good stuff sometimes takes the most fortitude.  And the quilt will be amazeballs.

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Big Charming Bed Quilt.  This one is a bit anachronistic – It is a quilt for our bedroom – the one room in our house that is tres grown up.  It is a very modern pattern in very French General fabric.  I just need to piece the top.  This one I will have to send out for quilting.  I love my Juki, but not that much.

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Heather Bailey Framed Improv.  I lurvs Heather Bailey.  And I want to use every bit of my fabric from my scrap pile.  I started these controlled improv blocks to make a quilt for the chair in my studio.

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Embroidered Baby Quilt.  This one is secret sewing.  So only tiny sneak peaks.

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DaBombDiggity Baby Quilt.  I love this project so much.  Good news is the shower is on Friday.  So tick tock.

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Pretty Little San Francisco.  Love Satsuma Street.  Love this pattern.

That is a full and truthful accounting.  It does not included the other 3 baby quilts I need to get done this year.  Or the stuff I just added to my to-do list because I was stupid enough to look at the Purl Soho website – an advent calendar, scarf, gloves, overnight bag.  Or the sewing kit I want to make.  That is 26 projects.  26! I want to finish before the end of the year.  I think I may need to reset my expectations.  One day at a time.