Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

This is in honor of all of my family and friends who have served and/or are serving now in any branch of the military, especially for any who have been away from home and loved ones over Christmas.

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand, and on the wall pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a sobering thought came to my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and so dreary, the home of a soldier, now I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone, curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder, not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families that I saw this night, owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play, and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye, I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice, "Santa don't cry, this life is my choice; I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more, my life is my God, my country, my corps."
The soldier rolled over and soon drifted to sleep, I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still, and we both shivered from the cold evening's chill.

I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark, night, this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier roller over, with a voice soft and pure, whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas day, all is secure."
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night."

by Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt

Thank you to all the soldiers far and near this Christmas Eve who have defended our country to preserve our freedom. May God bless you and keep you safe in His loving arms. You are my heros.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I worked hard all day yesterday to get those gifts done that I am making for my quilting friends and I must say that I was not very productive. I got one gift done and a second one that is so lame that I have to make another one to replace that one. I messed up somewhere and so now I am really behind. Maybe I can get it right today. I still have 4 to do and I can average 2 a day so I will be working over Christmas to get them done.

Tomorrow I am going to go to see the Nutcracker. My sister-in-law called me and told me about it and asked if I wanted to go. Can you believe that I have never seen the Nutcracker. I am excited to see it but more so to be sharing it with my sister-in-law. The rest of the weekend will be spent finishing up the shopping, wrapping and straightening up the house. I feel very unprepared for Christmas this year.

Well, this is a short post today as I am already behind and I have so much to do. Have a wonderful day and I hope you have plenty of time to get all of your Christmas preparations done stress free.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wind is howling...

I wonder what today will bring, as I sit down to begin this post the wind is howling outside. Checking the weather it looks like we are in for some rain today. I need to go to town and do some banking so I will do that as soon as I finish this post before it rolls in. Yesterday's trip to Pittsburgh and back was uneventful. The scans were done in a timely manner but then I had to sit for 2 1/2 hours before I saw the dr, when he came in he had tons of questions about my symptoms that I had had which have all since resolved themselves and never did tell me the results of the scans. I was 20 minutes down the road before I realized that we never discussed them. I am scheduled for my next treatment on the 28th so I am sure nothing has changed or that would have been cancelled. Anyways, on the way home I stopped in Cranberry at the Joann's Fabric Store and I picked up 2 Accuquilt Go die cutters. Remember last week I got the fabric cutter, well I have been interested in a couple of their applique shape cutters. Well, this Joanne's had both of them and they were on sale for 25% off. In the future I will have to wait till they go on sale for more because you can't use the store coupons for the Accuquilt products. Bummer, but I am sure that they will put them on sale once in a while for 50% off. I just have to be ready when they do. Anyways, when I got home I went to work cutting out some shapes and just playing around with ideas and I whipped fused up these 2 pieces.
I had the background already prepped to do another Laura Wasilowski inspired design on it and I think the flowers looking like they are blowing away in the wind is so cute. Who knew that today the wind could whip those little flowers into the next county.
For this second piece I cut out a 13" square to lay out some of the shapes that I had cut out onto and came up with this adorable center block for a table runner, I am still weighing in the option to add some cutouts to the beige end pieces but what I really want to do there is some great fancy quilting so if I do add some applique it would be to enhance the quilting instead of the quilting to enhance the applique. It was such great fun. I broke my rule though and had to pay for it. I didn't stop playing with this last night until 10:00 and then I couldn't fall asleep until after 12:30. I heard Jeff come in from his office at 12:30 and still couldn't fall asleep for a while after that. I know better than to do any creative work after 8 PM but I was having sooo much fun. Normally, after a trip to Pittsburgh I am so wiped out that I don't have the energy to do anything so this was a bonus. Today, I am going to work on some Christmas gifts for next week's party for the Sewjourner's group. I need 5 and I know what I want to make so I just have to get them cranked out. It will be fun too (although it won't involve any applique shapes).

I am off to town and then back to work on those gifts so I need to get moving. I pray that you will have a wonderful day and don't get blown away by any howling winds. Be safe and happy this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Road trip...

I have to leave in 5 minutes for Pittsburgh. I am getting scans done today with a follow-up appointment with the doctor afterwards for the results so that I can get my treatment next week. Have a good day and be safe.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby quilt is almost finished...

I loaded the baby quilt on Lola yesterday morning and got the majority of it quilted. I have 2 outside borders to do and the inner dark brown border. The center area is all quilted. Here is a shot of the quilt before any quilting and the second photo is detail shot of the quilting in the center blocks and the bottom border.

I think it is really cute. I cut the squares out with my Accuquilt Go cutter and I didn't do very well getting the horses cut out. I cut off all of there heads. So I made sure I got a good horse for the corner stone blocks in the outside border. LOL. Well, I learned that I have to vary my strip cuts so that I get a more varied selection of blocks when the print is a scattered print rather than an all-over print. The die cutter makes cutting out quilt patches really fast and accurate. I cut out all the squares for this quilt in a matter of 15 minutes and it only took me that long because I was demonstrating the machine and what it does to Stephanie and then again to Dan. I was cutting 3 1/2" squares and there wasn't very much fabric waste at all either. I watched some Youtube videos last evening and got some more ideas on how to use the die cutters. I am excited to use it to do a little stash busting and maybe crank out some scrappy quilts or make some kits that can be made up into charity quilts. I am already thinking of some of the other dies that I want to add to my collection like the Dresden plate, the circle, the hexagon, some of the fancy flourishes that Ricky Tims has designed, oh there are so many but for now I am going to enjoy playing with the ones I have. I am going to have lots of fun with this.

I got highlights and lowlights put in my hair yesterday. I snapped a photo of myself which I find hard to do but here it is I hope you can see them.

Today I am going to finish the baby quilt. I have a customer coming over to pick up a few pieces. BTW, I finished the table runner for her. The quilting turned out really nice. (I am having trouble uploading a photo of this. Sorry.)
I am going to clean up the studio again. Every project that I work on causes such a mess in the studio. I have a project to do for Jeff once I get the baby quilt done. He bought a blanket that needs to be cut in half and the edges hemmed, so I want to get that done for him today.

Kate called yesterday and except for some heavy traffic leaving work she had a wonderful birthday. My baby is so grown up and living in Hawaii and traveling the world on her own. She is a beautiful strong young woman. I love you Kate.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful week in preparation of Jesus' birth. We all have so much to be thankful for and the birth of our Savior is the most precious gift we can receive at Christmas. Do not let others steal Christ out of your Christmas. Do not let political correctness take the very reason we celebrate this season out of the season. You wouldn't like to have a big party thrown for your birthday and then be told you weren't allow to attend it, would you? Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and give Him the rightful spot in your plans and especially in your heart today. I love you all, Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A prayer...

In the wake of the tragedy that has captured the attention of our nation that occurred in Newtown Conneticut, I just want to share a prayer today. Our hearts are heavy while grieving for those lost children and teachers and at the same time if we allow it, fear can enter in and cause us to begin to look for answers through our government, the media, or our own flawed selves instead of living by faith and trusting in an Almighty God. If we believe that we can do a better job of caring for ourselves than God can, which is our daily state of affairs if we don't reliquish control of our daily lives to Him, then why do we look to Him to blame when horrible terrible things that are mankind's doing hit too close to home to ignore and cause us question how a good God can let such terrible things happen especially to the innocent children He left in our care? Besides Jesus being born into this world as a baby in a lowly manger, which we are preparing to celebrate in just a few days, the second greatest gift that God gave us was a free will. That means that we get to choose for ourselves what we do with our lives. Some people choose to help others, some people choose to abuse others and some people choose to make a name for themselves by the most brutal means and then take their own lives before we can get any answers to why they chose to do what they did. May this prayer be shared and begin to heal the wounds inflicted on us. The question today is what choices are you making everyday and what effect are they having on the lives of those around you? Perhaps we need to fight to get God back into our schools so that His protection can be with our loved babies while they are being taught about this wonderful freedom of choice they have. One person fought and won to get God expelled from school, perhaps we need to fight hard to get Him back in. It's our choice.

Dear Heavenly Father,

This morning as our children head off to school, we ask that you will keep them safe under your wing of protection. Lord we also ask that for those children who have been exposed to the news that you will keep their hearts and minds safe from fear.

We pray asking that these children would both feel and be protected by those in their care. For parents we ask that you open doors at this time that they might seek You as they are searching for stability in a messed up world. Times like these cause us to search for answers, Lord, and as we do I pray that we learn to lean on your wisdom and trust in Your sovereignty.

May we hold strong to the firm foundation that is built on faith in something so much more than this world has to give--the hope that you promise to all who believe.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.

In thy Son's name we pray.

This prayer came from Darlene has some wonderful insights if you want to read any of her recent posts since this tragedy has occured.

May you have a wonderful day and remember to think about what you choose to do today because it will impact your eternity in a huge way.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good Friends, good times, LOL...

All of yesterday's activities ended in the grand finale of spending the evening with good friends who share a common bond...quilting, sharing lots of stories and memories, making more memories but most of all sharing love for one another. Needless to say that our Christmas party was a lot of fun, we had lots of great food and all the gifts were carefully thought out and everyone went home with something awesome. Cindy and Rosalee did a wonderful job of hosting the evening. Thank you Cindy and Rosalee.
I was very remiss and did not take any photos of the festivities. I guess I am not a very good roving reporter. I was just enjoying myself too much to think about snapping photos. I will try to do better next time.

I did manage to get the house in order yesterday, at least the public areas. I did not get into the studio except to wrap up the gifts for last evening. So today would be a good day to get down there and clean up a bit before I start cutting out the baby quilt. Tina is going to come over tomorrow to quilt a t-shirt quilt for her son for a Christmas present therefore I need to get the room ready. We will also be running over to a local quilt shop so I can pick up some fabric to add the binding on the table runner that is waiting to be finished. So I will work on that while she is quilting. This evening Tina and I are running over to Warren, Pa to pick up my machine, she has a machine to drop off and she can play on the new Tiara quilting machine. We might just do some other shopping too.

Lots to do this weekend starting today, the baby quilt, curtains for the baby Jake's room, dye some socks, t-shirts and big girl panties for a Christmas present for GD#1. Speaking of dyeing, I have to dye my hair so that I can get highlights put in on Monday, I must say that this type of dyeing is not one of my favorites. I also need to enter 2 more months of business info into the computer, a little of that everyday is all I can take because that is also not one of my favorite things to do. I would rather be in the studio creating things. One of my resolutions for next year is to keep up with this job so I don't have a lot to do at one time at the end of the year. Can you help hold me accountable to that next year?

The sun is shining here and it looks to be a beautiful day, I hope that you have a wonderful day no matter where you are or what you have on your plate to do today. May the Christmas spirit be with you as you go about your day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One big project finished...

I am so happy to be finished with my Christmas Dresden plate quilt, not because I didn't enjoy working on it but because it turned out so beautiful and I can't wait to share it with you and to use it on my couch for the holiday season. Applying the binding was not an easy task using the long arm but that was because the batting was so thick that the binding would shift easily. I think it would have done the same thing if I had attached the binding with the sewing machine. I just had to take it slow and reposition the binding a lot. Here are the pictures.
As much as I love the front, I love the back just as much. Do you remember that I had to piece my backing to get it to be wide enough for the top? Well, I love the stripe going down the middle and I love how well the quilting shows up on the back of the quilt.
So what do you think? What do you like about it? This quilt took a lot longer than most of the quilts that I do but it surprised me how fast it did go for being a custom quilt job and all of it being ruler work except for the background fill work. I just might have to make me another Dresden plate quilt or find a vintage top to quilt. I love this design. I also finished quilting a table runner yesterday but when I went to bind it, I can't find a single fabric in my stash that will work that I have enough of, in these cases I would use several fabrics and make a scrappy binding but as this is for a customer I don't want to do that. This piece is too elegant to go scrappy on the border.

Today I am going to clean house, prepare for a Christmas party tonight, and run to the store to get a few items I need for the dish I have to prepare for the party. If I have time I am going to start working on a special baby quilt that I need to have done by the 30th. So I best be on my way and get all this done so that I can party tonight without worry.

I hope you have a great day and even if it is a busy and stressful day I hope you can keep a calm and thankful attitude through it all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Successful day...

Yesterday was a rather successful day all around. I dropped my machine off at Domestic Sewing Center in Warren Ohio. I must sing their praises. They are wonderful people. Their customer service is number one. Linda is a great sales person too without being overly pushy. She showed me the new BabyLock Tiara sit down quilting machine and I must admit that I was lusting for one by the time I left. I seriously don't have the room for one nor can I afford one right now but it was nice to play on such a beautiful high quality machine. If anyone is looking for a good machine but doesn't have the room for a long arm or doesn't want to quilt standing up this is a great machine. Just a little plug for Linda. Good machines, good people and good service. I like going over to her shop. I didn't even get all the way through the door before she was asking me what I brought for show and tell.

Back on the home front, I managed to get the rest of the quilting done on my Christmas quilt. I finished the background fill around the Dresden plates, added another 2 ovals inside the interlocking oval border design, and put orange peals into the center circles of the stars.

I hope you can see the detail. Click on the photo for a larger image. Today, I will attach the binding while still on the longarm. I have attached binding once before with the longarm so I will give it a try again since I don't have Lilly for the time being. I also plan on quilting the Christmas table runner for a customer today. If I can get it to the binding stage I will be happy.

I also went up to the school to walk. It is open in the evenings for people to use to walk for exercise. I am into my second week of walking regularly up there. I am hoping that it will help me with my stamina and get me back into shape.

I mailed off a package for Kate yesterday, shush, it's her birthday present. Don't tell.

My first task for today is to work on some more of my business paper work and get it ready for tax season. Jeff likes to get an early start on working on the taxes.
Then I will get to the studio to work. It will be a busy day.

I hope that you have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Road trip...

A road trip is in my plans for today. I was waiting to see what the weather was going to be like before I made definite plans but I think it is going to be ok to go over to Warren and take Lilly in for a checkup and repair job. We got a dusting of snow last night but the rest of the day looks like it will be good to go. My appointment went well yesterday at the doctors. Another good to go report. So now Lilly needs to get better so that we can continue to sew up a storm.

I worked on cleaning up the studio a little, and I do mean a little. Not a lot done on that range but enough so I can keep working. I then worked on the Christmas quilt. I have the side and bottom border done now and started to do the background fill work. I thought that it was going to be a rather slow process since I am doing a rather tight fill design but since there is not that much area left to quilt it is going a lot faster than I anticipated. I think I worked it for about an hour and got 1/3 of it done. So it should be off the frame soon. I won't promise today since I have to go to Warren. I might get side tracked with some shopping and not get back right away. Here is a shot of what that background fill is going to look like and how it makes the other motifs pop.
It is turning out much better than I had anticipated. I want to get this finished asap.

I need to share this photo of Brianne. She was not impressed with the jolly old fellow and did not want to sit on his lap so this is the best photo that Lindsey could get of her with him, but Lindsey had to sit with them too. I laughed so hard the first time I saw it.
I think we have a little stinker on our hands. Don't you agree?

Well, I have my plans for the day and I need to start to execute them or they will just hang out there without some action. So have a great day and be safe in all of your activities.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Playing catch up...

This weekend has put me behind schedule and now I am going to be playing catch up for a while. First of all I didn't get to post anything Friday as I had an early morning eye appointment which went well. Everything was fine. No problems with the side effects of the medication affecting my eyes the doctor felt it was a combination of sinus problems along with the steroids that I was taking at the time. I have been off the steroids now for a couple weeks and everything is getting back to normal. They did dilate my right eye so I couldn't focus well, when I got home I decided to take a nap while the effects of the drops wore off. I thought a nice hour long nap would be good. I didn't wake up until 1:45, a 3+ hour nap. Evidently I needed it. Once I woke up though my eyes were fine and I could get back to work.

Saturday was Stitch and Bitch day at Tina's so I packed up a couple projects and headed over there. I had a phone call from a lady who bought quilted items from my mom and she heard that I quilt and wanted to know if I had anything she could possibly purchase. Of course was my answer so she is coming by this morning. She wanted to know if I had any Christmas items which I thought I had 1 table runner left from the craft sale but afterwards remembered that I didn't have it after all. So I cut out 2 Christmas table runners at Tina's and I added borders to my bunny rabbit project. Here are photos of those. First the bunny.
It needed the pops of greenish blue in the corners and the narrow green border. Now I think it is big enough to quilt. I finished one table runner last evening.
It is not the traditional Christmas colors but I like it. The backing is a predominately pink floral print fabric so it can be reversible making it usable for more than one season. The second runner is not quilted yet but its ready to be done today. It does boast the Christmas colors.
I think they are both quite elegant.

Sunday, Jeff and I helped a cousin of Jeff's move out of his mom's house. She passed away in October quite suddenly and the owner of the house gave Jon one days notice that he had to pack up and get out as her house had burned down and she planned on moving in, as she owned the house he had little recourse. So we hitched up the trailer to the truck and headed over early in the morning. He had a storage unit that we packed full of stuff and we got done around 1. An aunt and uncle of his came from Michigan to help and were going to take some of the stuff back with them so we left the rest to them to sort out. Over all it went rather smoothly. It always amazes me how much stuff can come out of such a small house and how much junktreasures we tend to hold onto. This has been one of my goals this year is to get rid of stuff that I don't need or doesn't hold any sentimental value. I still have a long way to go but I am working on it.

So my schedule for today is meet with Jane, hopefully she will want to buy some of my bigger pieces. I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. Lilly is going to need some repairs. I am not able to adjust the tension on her. I had a little piece of metal fall out that looks like it broke off from somewhere and now the tension is really off so she will have to go in for a check up too. She needs fixed soon as I need to make a baby quilt before the end of the month. Another unexpected turn of events. I need to remember to be flexible when life throws me a curve ball and hits me unprepared. That is an important lesson to be learned, how to be able to pick ourselves up when the storms of life come along to rock our boat. If we panic we can capsize and go under, if we do nothing we can also go under but if we can take a minute to determine the best plan of action and do it, we can avoid a major catastrophe. We might even be able to help someone else out when their boat is going under if we are prepared and ready to lend a helping hand.

This is the season to reach out and help others who are less fortunate. I watched a great movie last night called The Christmas Angel. It was about a wealthy man who figured out that money didn't bring him happiness and purpose but that helping out others by being a secret Santa did, he was ill therefore finds a young woman, who struggled all her life to trust people, to be his helper. She learned to see that everyone needed something, mostly to know that someone cared about them and that they matter. She finally is able to take her eyes off herself and her past hurts and reach out to others and she becomes a great secret Santa. Very sweet and touching movie, I hope you are able to see it sometime.

So today will be spent playing catch up for me and looking at all my junk uhm stuff with fresh eyes and deciding if it is worth having family and friends rummage through it all and decide what to do with it all if something should happen to me. I don't want to leave them with a mess that they have to wonder "what the heck was mom thinking keeping this stuff". Not that I am planning on leaving them with this type of mess any time soon mind you. Just thinking and planning and doing.

Have a great day, remember to be on the look out for someone who just needs to know that you care about them and show them how much. Burdens are hard to shoulder any time of the year but they are especially hard during the holidays.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yesterday was a play day...

Yesterday was a day of exploration and play. I started out by getting a new hair cut. I had the appointment scheduled for months and I was originally going to just get it trimmed up but I wanted a little change so while I was in the waiting room I looked at a few of the style books there and found a chunky layered look that I liked a lot and said let's go for it. So here is the new style.
It doesn't look great this morning as I haven't done anything to it yet except run a comb through it and fluffed it a bit. I will get some highlights and low lights in another week and a couple hair products to help keep it in the chunky layers instead of going flat. I needed something a little more youthful and playful.

After the haircut, I headed over to Tina's for a play day. We are working on an eagle. It is all fused which means a lot of tracing patterns, fusing and cutting out hundreds of pieces. We started out by working on the beak area and before we knew it it was 5:00 already.
This is Tina's. I didn't get as far.
I packed up my stuff and headed home, changed my shoes and went up to the school to walk. I have started walking this week. That is another one of those tasks that I have been putting off for far too long. I don't know why I think that things will automatically change without putting any effort into them. As I left Tina's this is what we saw when we went outside.
The picture really doesn't do it justice. The sky was the most gorgeous red and pink. It was beautiful.

I also got a little more quilting done on my Christmas quilt. The Christmas plates are getting a dahlia like quilting motif that is done with an oval and a round template and then I am adding a secondary motif in between the plates. You can see these in the photos.

This was one of the motifs that I learned on in Kimmy Brunner's Machine Quilting with Templates: Creating Design Perfection class. These classes are great. They are video lessons that you can go back and review as many times as you need. You can post questions to the instructor and post photos of your projects.

Once all the main motifs are quilted, I will go back in and do some background fills. I know that I want to add pebbles in the center circle of the secondary motif and right now I am leaning towards stippling around the plates. Stippling is not one of my favorites but I am not sure what else will work. I am still on the fence about that but I have lots of time to think about it and try to come up with something else while I am finishing up the rest.

Today, I am off to town to participate in the food drive that the OR nurses and employees at the hospital put together and do every year to help raise funds for local organizations that provide food to needy families for the holidays. They always have wonderful gift baskets etc. and it is for a good cause. First though, I am going to spend 1 hour sorting through that stack of papers that I have. Sort today. File tomorrow. Baby steps, good plan.

So have a great day. Why don't you share with me your most dreaded job that you put off for far too long? I won't judge you. I have plenty of my own follies to judge anyone else. If you have any tricks up your sleeve to make these jobs easier share them also with me. I need some ideas to psych myself into doing them more consistently.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What was I thinking?....

I have been putting off cleaning up my studio for months now and I just don't know what I was thinking. Was it going to be such a horrible job that I would be in there for weeks? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I put off doing something for so long like this and live in the chaos and not enjoy my space while I am in it? What is it about the task that I find so difficult or distasteful that I can't get in there and just get it done? Let me share some photos with you of the before state of affairs and then I will reveal the after and just how long it took me to get from then to now. Here is what my office looked like yesterday morning before I did anything to straighten it up. Disclaimer! I hate to be so vulnerable and open here so be kind.

So this is what it all looked like when I started. Unfortunately, this room becomes the junk room drop off spot for anything that can't find a home elsewhere in the house when we are straightening up. I must admit that I had a melt down moment when I looked at everything and said to myself "where do I even begin?" but once I picked up one item that didn't belong and put it away and then the next, I got on a roll and everything just began to work itself all out. Isn't it funny that I can do that in my quilting projects but I have found it so hard to deal with the mess and confusion in my physical space. Well, anyhow, this is now what my office space looks like.

Cleaning up all of this only took me 84 minutes and all I am left with to deal with is this pile of papers so for now I have put them into this basket and this will be my next big organizing project. 84 minutes that is all it took. What was I thinking to put it off for so long?
Looking at my stack of papers now it doesn't look like that much of a job as I am sure that 35% of it can go straight into the recycle bin. I love my paper shredder. LOL.

The other thing that I did while in the office was to do some computer work. I had received an email from Apple about the features of my new phone and had saved it so I could sync up the iCloud feature between my phone, iPad and computer, so I got that all set up too.

Why do I put off doing those things that in the end will make my life run smoother? Do you ever do that? Why is it that we would rather put up with a messy situation, life, relationship, or whatever "it is" than sit down and deal with it so that it doesn't continue to ruin our day, our life or even perhaps our health? We can only blame so much on other factors but when it comes right down to it, we have to blame ourselves for not stepping up to the plate and doing something about it, we have to break that losing streak by stepping up and playing to win. So I hope that what ever it is that you are struggling with you will take the time to sit down and figure out what it is that you can do to correct it or at least make it more tolerable. I am sure that you have heard the AA's definition of insanity, Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I can continue to ignore my clutter/disorganization problem and hope that it will all go away someday, or I can get in there and do the work and put routines in place that will help to prevent the problem from reoccurring. I hope that you will find the courage to tackle one of your big issues and come up with some solutions to solve the problem.

Have a great day and take those baby steps to clean up a messy situation in your life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Time to get back to work...

I don't have any photos of anything from yesterday as I was out and about running errands and getting my mammogram done. All went well on that front, nothing unusual was found. Good news. I had a very good lunch at Panera Breads. I had the Turkey Harvest Salad. Scrumptious. I believe it is a seasonal thing so if you want to try it you might want to get there soon as I don't know how long they will continue to have it. I picked up some French bread, a variety of cheeses and olives and made a nice tray of these for supper last evening. Have you ever had baked Brie. I love it. I made one of those too. I used puff pastry, laid the whole wheel of Brie in the middle of one sheet, spooned Raspberry preserves on top of the Brie, sprinkled with Pecans, wrapped the puff pastry up over it all and pinched the edges together. I baked it at 400 for 20 minutes. Oh was it good and so easy to make. I should have taken a picture of my cutting board with all the cheeses laid out and the Brie cut open spilling out soft gooey yumminess. I am sorry I never even gave that a thought I was too busy eating it up.

I am going to get back into the studio to work but I also am going to clean up my office and get all of my papers in order. The plan is to spend 1-2 hours each day working in the office and then reward myself with some play time in the studio. I have so many projects to finish before the end of the month and I am really going to have to step up my game if I am going to get it all done. Ok here is the line up of projects. 1. Clean the office, 2. Make the curtains for baby Jake's room, 3. Make baby Jake's quilt, 4. Finish the Christmas quilt, 5. Make BD present for Kate, 6. Make 5 Christmas gifts for the Sewjourner's group, 7. Make Christmas present for Jeff. I also had plans on doing another online class. That might have to wait till February. I think that would be too much to add right now to my plate with everything else I have to do before I leave for Texas at the end of the month. Maybe I can give up sleeping for the rest of the month. Do you think I would be a happy camper or anyone else around me if I did that? No?!? I know me and I know that wouldn't work.

I am excited to say that my baby girl is back to her home safe and sound after what appears, by the photos she has posted already on Facebook, to have been a most wonderful trip to New Zealand. I am impatiently waiting to hear all about her trip.

Well, for now I am going to take some before photos of my office and start tackling the mess that gets left for another day in here. That day has finally dawned. I hope I can find my way back out once I get started. Send in the posse if you don't hear from me tomorrow. LOL...

Have a great day and get at those dreadful jobs. Get them done and off your mind.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Update on craft sale...

We had a great day at the craft sale. First of all, it was so nice to see many familiar faces and have a chance to chat with old and new friends. When we arrived in the morning, there was already a line of people waiting to get in the doors.
We also got reports from shoppers as they came in that it was difficult to find a parking spot. Now that is a good problem to have. Tina and I each reserved a table together so that we would have plenty of space to show our beautiful wares and we also asked for wall space so we could hang our wallhangings. Here Tina is manning the table.
This photo was taken after several hours so you don't see the first thing to sell as it is already off the wall. Tina had made a Steeler's wallhanging and I told her that it would be one of the first things to sell and it was the very first thing to sell as a matter of fact there was a note on our table when we arrived from another vendor who wanted it and as soon as we got behind the table she was over talking to Tina about it. We laughed about that a lot. We both did well as far as sales and as I have always said I make things that I know I can give as gifts if they don't sell so for me it is all a win win situation. I have the motivation to get things done through out the year and I also have lovely gifts to give when ever they are needed. I do want to clean out my older inventory though so that I have newer items for next time. Gift giving time is here so we can take care of that.

Saturday morning before the sale I did manage to load my Christmas quilt on Lola. I am doing an experiment with the batting on this quilt so there will be several posts to let you know the how's and what's of this project. I am hoping that it all goes well. So stay tuned for further updates.

Today, I am off to the "big city" of Hermitage to have my mammogram done and to do some shopping. I could get it done in Greenville which is closer to home but this gives me the excuse to spend a little time shopping. I plan on having lunch at Panera's and pick up some French bread for a wine/cheese and olive dinner tonight with DH. Yum. I can't wait. So for now, I need to get myself organized so I don't forget anything and get ready to leave.

Have a great day. Remember to be thankful for your many blessings and give a friend a big squeeze. LOL...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tomorrow is the big day...

Well, there is little more to be done now except get organized for tomorrow. There isn't time to create anymore masterpieces, it is time to make sure everything is priced, that I have all the needed items for the sale and to look as professional and pulled together as possible. My job for today is to gather everything up that we need for our display tomorrow and to make sure all of my items are tagged and in good shape. Easy peasy.

Yesterday, I started out good in getting organized but got distracted pretty quickly. I organized all of my class notes from the dyeing to design class I am taking and put them all into a binder. I then got distracted by a project that I have been wanting to do all week. It is a pincushion/caddy. So I pulled out the supplies I needed and had it whipped up by lunch time. Here it is.
It turned out to be a lot larger than I thought it would but I really like it. It does require a lot of hand stitching to put it together but it goes together easily and quickly. You can store rotary cutters or scissors in the caddy and you have lots of room for lots of pins and needles. I think I am going to use this one in the living room for when I am stitching bindings on my quilts. I can put the spool of thread in the caddy part with my scissors and everything will stay all neat and tidy.

I hope to see many of my family and friends at the craft sale tomorrow at the Clarks Mills United Methodist Church, it is from 9AM to 3PM. The ladies make really good food for lunch so you can plan on making an event of it all. There are always fantastic vendors selling lots of great hand crafted items.

Have a great day.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The process of a Mystery quilt ...

Yesterday I worked on the Mystery quilt that I started back in January and I am pleased to say that it is no longer an unsolved mystery. It turned out pretty awesome for not knowing what we were making at the time.
I love it when I can use up fabrics from my stash and not have to buy a thing to complete a project. For this mystery, we received directions on fabric requirements and the components to cut them into before we went to the retreat. At the retreat we received several sets of instructions over the course of the weekend with the steps to complete it. I am very pleased with how this turned out and like I said I didn't have to buy anything to finish it up. The quilt was just small enough that I was able to back it with a beautiful butterfly print 45" wide fabric from my stash.

It has all the colors that are in the front of the quilt and I had enough of the dark blue/green batik to bind it in. I used this stencil to mark out the quilting motifs and used bits and pieces from the stencil in the different squares, triangles and the border.
In the other areas I used continuous curve. This was not a super fast quilting job but I enjoyed it and am very pleased with the final product. I think this could be a great baby quilt or table topper.
You can see some more of the motifs in this detail shot of the quilt.
I finished the last stitch in the binding last night while watching a Castle marathon.

Well, today, I am going to go back into my studio and play for a while and maybe even clean it up. I would like to do some fabric dyeing but am not sure yet if that will fit into today's activities.

I hope that you will try to solve some of the mysteries of your projects by breaking them down into doable steps and keep at them till they are done. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finishing up some UFO's...

UFO's in the quilting world are not Unidentified Flying Objects they are Unfinished Objects. As I was trying to decided what to do yesterday in the studio I pulled out a table runner that I had pieced and even had layered on the batting but had not gone any further. I dug around in my stash and found an appropriated backing fabric for it and loaded it on Lola and quilted it. I usually don't quilt such a small item on the longarm but I was wanting to use Lola and thought I would see how fast quilting a smaller item would go. It was fast and I enjoyed it. I also made one more casserole carrier since I had the metal rings for it. I used a cream with blue print that if it doesn't sell will become mine. The fabric had come from my mom's stash and I really like it. I have enough fabric left over that even if I sell this one I can make another one for myself. I call that a win win. I also pulled out of my stack of UFO's 2 quilt tops. The first one is a mystery quilt that I did at a retreat last January. I did some pre marking and spray basted it together. It is 45" square, now that is a piece I should have put on Lola but I want to get good control and accuracy when quilting this piece so I am doing it on Lilly, my Janome sewing machine. I plan on quilting it today and getting it finished for the sale. The second quilt top is my Christmas Dresden Plate quilt that started out as an online quilt block swap. I have always wanted a scrappy Christmas quilt in the Dresden Plate block so this was the perfect way to get them. I pieced the blocks together at that same retreat last January and I thought I had the perfect backing for it but unfortunately it is just a bit small in its original size. I am toying with some ideas to piece the backing some to get it to be wide enough, it is long enough but just not wide enough. Once I get that figured out I am going to load it on Lola and quilt it. One of the recent online quilting classes I took taught us how to quilt this type of block with templates and I am excited to try it. Besides I need to finish it so I have something Christmasy to put on the couch.

So this is what I will be working on the rest of this week. It feels good to get these UFO's done and out of the way. I feel lighter and more energized as I finish each one. It also opens up the mind to other projects that I want to do once I have this craft show out of the way.

I hope that you have a wonderful day. Lighten your load by finishing up some of your UFO's, those can be any project that you have not finished yet you understand, and if they are something that you know you will never finish pass them on to someone else. It will still lighten your load and it will bless someone else so be blessed and be a blessing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finally got those last 2 journal covers done...

Yeah. The last 2 journal covers are done. I got out my scrap bin and pulled out strips and pieces, pressed them and then started putting them all together. I like the idea of the journal covers but until I figure out a better construction method that will afford me the creativity that I want I am not having fun putting these together. I did try adding pockets to the fronts of these last 2 for pens or cell phone. We will see how these sell, I might have to make some more for my sketch books and pencils. Here they are. Totally made from scraps.

So now that I have the journal covers done, what will I make next? I have 4 days before the big craft sale so I have time to make a few more items to sell, but just what should they be? I have been toying with the idea of some more table runners they are quick and easy. I found a tutorial this morning for a pincushion/scissor caddy that could be a lot of fun. (I am thinking of making those for some gifts that I will need though, so I might wait on that idea.) It will come to me when I get to the studio. I am ahead of the game though as I got a customer quilt off the frame yesterday and attached the binding, I just have to do the hand stitching now but I didn't think I would even start it until after the craft sale. Last evening I added the hanging pockets to 2 wallhangings and a label to one of them. So over all I got a lot done in the studio yesterday.

My next big job will be tackling the organization of my office which will begin next week. I think if I work at clearing the paper clutter an hour a day I will get it all organized in a week maybe two. I really dislike the paper work end of business but I know it has to be done so I will bite the bullet and get 'er done. Next week. LOL...

Well, I am off to the studio to get something else done so have a wonderful day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The trip to be thankful for...

Well, it has been a whirlwind Thanksgiving week/end. I made it safely to and from Virginia and spent a wonderful weekend with Michael, Meghan, Avery and Meghan's parents Karen and Jim. We had lots to celebrate with Thanksgiving and Avery's 3rd birthday that is actually today which we celebrated on Saturday. We had a wonderful very tasty Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. I only got a picture of the turkey as Jim was carving it but let me tell you it was very good so were all the trimmings.

Here are Michael and Avery sitting on the steps waiting for the meal to be served.

We did go out shopping on Black Friday, Meghan and I found 1 quilt shop and Joanne Fabrics, the other 2 quilt shops that I wanted to go to were no longer in business. Oh well, I found fabric for the baby quilt I have to make for baby Jake at Joannes so that was a win. I even have the quilt pattern idea figured out.

Here are some photos of Avery's birthday party. Her and the cake.

Daddy helping her with one of her presents. Play Dough. Oh what fond memories.

Meghan helping her with another present.
Avery fell head first into the bag as she was trying to get to the bottom to the presents. We had to clear off the table and put her puzzles together. Here is one of them.
She had a great time. The cake was so good and rich along with the ice cream. It was a nice afternoon.

I got home yesterday early evening. It was a long trip but other than one accident that brought traffic to a complete stand still for about 45 minutes (which happened right at a rest stop exit so I was able to get off the highway for a while) things moved along pretty well and traffic was not excruciatingly heavy.

I did stop at this cute little antique shop just outside of Leesburg, I try to stop everytime on my way home, and I found this quilt top that just cried out to me to be mine.
It is a drunkard's path block but I have never seen this pattern layout before. I can't wait to design a beautiful quilting motif to compliment the block design to perfection it also needs a border added to it. It measures about 48" x 72" I haven't actually measured it but I think the blocks are 4" blocks so that's my guestimate.

I am so ready to get back to work on my quilts and get ready for the craft sale that is this week end at the church. I hope to see many of my friends there. Have a great day and I am thankful for each and every one of you. Have a safe first day of hunting season whether you are a hunter or not.