Friday, December 31, 2010

last day

Last night I did complete clue 4 of APFOM's Hugs and Kisses. CLue 5 is the the 30 O blocks, which I will start shortly. If I ever get off this couch.

I also kept working on those strings blocks. Now that Bonnie has put up Step 7, I know how things are going to look. I may do a bunch of 600 hst's, then do step 4 a set at a time and make a block as I go. Just may work best.

We're having some weird weather. We are under a complete tornado watch and have already had 2 warnings this afternoon. Despite all of that, I have run out and gone grocery shopping. So we're set, all snug as bugs in rugs.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Hi! It’s the penultimate day of the year! (I don’t get to use penultimate very often, so let me revel in it a bit.)

Last night was another successfully quilting night. Not so much on other fronts. (Oh well.)

I did finish Clue 3 of the Hugs and Kisses mystery and I made 5 more string blocks for step 3 of RRCB. Slowly but surely I am trudging through.

Tonight I hope to get through Clue 4, which is only 22 flying geese. I’m calling them flying doves, because I am reversing the color schemes, which means that the goose part of the unit is white and the sky is scrappy. That’s how I roll.

My other goal for today is to grocery shop. I’m pretty firmly committed to not going out at all on Friday if possible. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to be the driver, that is for sure.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year of Simplicity

Ann Voskamp writes from her farm in Canada about faith, farming and life. Ann’s words are amazing. I sit in my cube at work and cry tears of joy reading about how wonderful faith is and how she gropes for it, lost like me (and a lot of others, no doubt). (If there are any readers out there, despite being a city girl from Chicago , I am adapting to those rural ways of central IL, and so I can appreciate Ann’s farming posts.)

Anyway, Ann made 2010 the year of yes. The year of not saying no to her children’s adventures and ideas, not saying no to new adventures of her own. I took this to heart and strove hard to say yes more in the moment, despite term papers and case analyses and presentations. I tried to say yes more even if it meant I stayed home with utter exhaustion, just so that Renee could experience more. My mother said no a lot and I’m not sure why. I try to say yes more.

So Ann has tasked us for the word or theme (or both) for this year. For Ann, it will be the year of here. Being present, being here.

For me, it is the year of simplicity. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I shed many outside obligations on my time. It may be a bit selfish to be so introspective, but I am tired – utterly exhausted, if I permit myself to think about it. I mean, I am TIRED. It has been a while since I have been this tired.

And when I look around my house, which we have lived in for nearly 4 years now, I see improvements that need to be made, pictures to be hung, walls to be painted, clutter to be repurposed. I look at my sewing area and it’s an avalanche of ideas, thoughts, and projects to complete. My mind goes into overdrive. I love to make lists; lists give me strength according to my husband, who probably knows me the best out of anyone on this earth. So I make lists, and then make myself tired just reading them. I need to stop.

So I dedicate this year to the diligent practice of simplicity. No more overextending. No more being away from home 2 or 3 nights per week. No more quilting on a schedule. No more quilting ADD (if you have to ask, never mind) (if you know, can I get an amen?). I commit to volunteering for the Girl Scouts, which is something I can do with my child. I commit to my weight and health. I commit to saying yes. I commit to simplicity.

And that is my 2011. There before the grace of God go I.

12/28 accomplishments

After learning some stressful news yesterday, I decided that sewing was the best thing I could do. There’s nothing I can do about the stressful news; it’s water under the bridge now, so all I focused on was how to alleviate the stress. So I sewed.

While watching the last 2 episodes of the Amazing Race, I sewed 25 more hourglass units for Clue 3, 14 more half-units for Clue 3 and more string blocks for Step 3. (Yes, it’s 2 mysteries at once.) It’s good to have forward progress on both quilts. I’m making the lap size for Hugs and Kisses, so I’m not quite so overwhelmed.

I decided against working on the Second Hand Clothes baby quilt because that would be feeding my quilter’s ADD! I’m going to continue to work on the 2 projects I have going so that I can at least get to the completed top stage. Once one top is done, I will then slot the baby quilt in next. Should the child arrive before I can get to that point, then I will drop everything and sew. But with no school any more and tons of free time, I bet my timing will be fine.

I do still need to get Carolyn’s quilt to the hand binding stage. I will most likely do that on Friday, since I have it off. We need to drive north on Saturday, so I can bind in the car as we drive, but I will most likely rest my back during Friday with some hand binding.

Tonight’s goal if I sew: Finish Clue 3 and more string blocks.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

second hand clothes and other things

A quick update for today. Last night, I went down and sewed while we watched “The Princess Bride.” I started 5 more string blocks for RRCB and kept working on the hourglass blocks (clue 3) for Hugs and Kisses. By the time the movie was over, my back was shot. I’m out of condition!

Tonight may very well be sew-free. I have a huge amount of paperwork to get through and I may just tackle that tonight, doing 15 minutes of paperwork and then 15 minutes of Facebook gaming. Maybe not exactly what FlyLady had in mind, but it works for me.

Then I was talking with a co-worker in another department today and his wife is due with their third in late January. The ‘late January’ part I remembered. The fact that she had the first two children two to three weeks early is something I forgot. While I did not make a quilt for either of the first two babies, I will be making one for this one, which is a girl. My co-worker Karen always gave everyone an afghan for their new babies; Karen’s mother loves to crochet! However, Karen passed away in October after a 2 year battle with lung cancer (no, she was not a smoker, and no, no one knows why she got it). So to pick up where Karen left off, I will make this quilt. But it appears that I really need to start this ASAP.

I plan on making the Second Hand Clothes pattern, but doing it from the picture. (Sorry, not buying the pattern, but if I can determine the pattern from the picture, I haven’t infringed on your copyright.) Nancy, Near Philadelphia has done a baby-sized one already, so I know I’ll need 16 of the pieced blocks and 25 of the solid blocks and then the setting triangles. This very well may be my sewing goal for the rest of this week, with the strip blocks for RRCB as the leaders/enders.

It is very nice to just be able to change plans on a whim. No more ‘I only have 3 weeks until class starts, so what MUST I get done in those 3 weeks?’ That is a wonderful feeling to have.

But man, is my house a mess!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wrapping Up 2010

Many, many things have happened since last I wrote. Many chapters in my life have come to an end, and I’m not certain of the next chapters that are beginning. It’s an interesting time right now.

I graduated from Illinois State University on December 18 with my MBA. My husband, an assistant professor, handed me my diploma. My daughter watched this event, along with my sister, father and my good friend (and partner in crime) Tracy . It was incredible. It was an achievement. It also marked the end of a chapter in my life. But during this chapter, I worked hard and played hard and made some friends. I started the FNSC (Friday Night Supper Club), which meets on the second Friday of every month. There are 7 of us in total, all women, ranging in age from 25 to 50+. We are all at different stations in life, with different family compositions, opinions and lifestyles. It is good to have friends. It is even better to have friends who like to eat! Amy hosts for January, in her new apartment. It will be fun!

A large project at work came to an end. I actually finished the very last component this morning. It was a project I had expressed interest in almost 2 years ago, to be told I was actually being placed in a leadership role for another project in which I had also expressed interest. Eventually, due to various factors coming into play, including people directly asking for me to be on the team, I made it on to the team for the last 9 months of the project. The project was a resounding success and the last 6 weeks have been handling clean-up. And now it is done.

OK, that is really only 2 big things, but it feels like a lot more. Anyway, I’m kind of floating around a bit rudderless right now, as I really have nothing pressing going on.

I have spent some time working on quilting. And planning some quilting. And resting. And cooking.

For the past few days, I have been working on both Bonnie Hunter’s RRCB and Dorothy Young’s Hugs and Kisses. I had been keeping up to date with RRCB, but when step 3 and those string blocks came, it sent me for a loop. I am not a huge fan of string blocks. But I went ahead and bought some doodle pads at the dollar store. And over this holiday I sat down and started making them.

I thought for sure I didn’t have any neutral strings. I even went so far as to buy some 4” and 2.5” neutral strips for Keepsake Quilting.

Boy was I wrong. I have been going through my various scrap ziploc bags (there must be 15 if there’s one) and I have found enough strings for 15 blocks, and I’m not done going through the bags.

A pleasant breakthrough happened when I figured out a way to do string blocks that doesn’t piss me off. I actually sew a leader/ender in between each one and now my life is so much more sane. I did clue 2 of H&K this way and I’m starting Clue 3. My goal would be to keep on sewing H&K with the RRCB strip blocks as something else to do.

I’ve also printed off part one of Bonnie’s Christmas Lights. I want to use a lot of blue in it and call it “There’s always that one blue house,” referring to the one house in the neighborhood that always has blue lights on it. While blue lights are more popular now, when I was a kid, they were really cheesy. Now I’m the blue light lady, at least in my mind.

So OK, I’ve started a bunch more quilts. What about all of those UFOs?

My goal for 2011 is to complete one crafty thing per week. It could be quilty, it could be sewing, it could be knitting, it could be candle-making. It just needs to be complete and a craft. If I achieve 40 things, I will consider it a success. But I have many things in process and I need many things finished.

I’m also hopefully going back to the idea of the 2-part week. The first part is from Monday until my weekend begins, which is usually Friday afternoon. The second part is Friday afternoon through Sunday. It sounds odd, but I have different expectations of each type of time period.

So to start off, my goals between now and Friday, which I actually have off due to the holiday, are:

Get Carolyn’s quilt to the hand binding stage
Finish blue GFG flower
Hugs and Kisses – as far as possible
RRCB – as far as possible

And yes, I’ve thought about January. I can’t number my UFOs like Judy and go with the random number. I have to know what I’m working on. It’s how I function best.

My goals for finishes in January include:
Carolyn’s quilt
WB quilt
XO blue quilt
GS banner quilt thing
Christmas BRB
Second hand clothes in pink – for a co-worker who is having a girl – not even started

My goals for milestones in January include:
Hugs and Kisses – completed top
BOM – months 1 and 2 complete; month 6 started
D9P – next 20 blocks
D9P – machine quilt one section
RRCB – completed top
Xmas Lights – completed top