Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cleaning up!!!!

OMG - I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I had a lot of fun unpacking boxes yesterday. I don't have time to share the photos with you this morning, but here's a couple of quilts that I've been working on over the last couple of days. My goal is to get ALL of the customer quilts sitting in the queue to be completed before the end of the year. I'll still have some community projects quilts to do, but those can wait. I want the few customer ones left to be done! I know there is more coming in, but those are for January!

Customer quilt - DONE

Customer quilt - DONE
Customer quilt - DONE

And yes - even though that long arm has a robot on it, I still have to know how to operate the darn thing. It's never a good idea to get into a groove and absently push the wrong button. Cause if you do - guess what? Now you've got a big problem to solve. I know how to solve most (I think), but I'm sure I could get myself into trouble if I didn't pay attention.

Setting up the long arm robot

I still have to be there to change the bobbin, advance the quilt, and load and unload so the robot does the boring part of the job, but it can't function without me!

Here's a picture of the cold storage room that's under the front steps. Three saw horses (where's the fourth? I haven't seen it so likely it's gone or why would I have an odd number?). The rest of the stuff is painting supplies - brushes, rollers, and other stuff. I need to go through all that and sort it out. That's a job for next year. For the moment, it stays there. But for the most part, this cold storage room is pretty neat and tidy.

Cold storage room
Good because I need a space to put some boxes. I have a "few" sewing machine, embroidery units and serger boxes that I need to keep. So I laid those big planks on the floor to keep the boxes off the concrete floor and now all those boxes that were cluttering up the basement are now safely and neatly tucked away in the cold storage room.  And NO the plank is not covering the drain in the center of the floor. There's a bow in the plank so should anything need to drain away, the drain is clear.

Storage for sewing machine boxes

 I did say that my goal was to get the basement completely done by the end of the year. I might just make it. I'll be sharing more with you later this week. It's a huge job and I know that once I'm done, I'll be starting over. Although I might take a break from the basement since it's not in bad shape. I might restart at the top of the house and go through closets and whatnot to get rid of more stuff. What I'm loving about this is that while I'm getting rid of stuff, there's practically nothing (or very little) coming in.

That's the most exciting part! And I guess I can't put it off any longer, but the office is going to need to be tackled. It's going to be a thankless job. I know I could spend days here and not make a dent. Should I pack it all in boxes to clear the space and then work on one box at a time? Or do I work through the mess? Hmmm - I need to figure that one out. Since the rest of the house is in pretty good shape, perhaps I give myself the entire year to clear out this mess in the office. Maybe that's a bit much!

So here's the thing. I have lied in the past. Come on - we've all lied about something or we've cheated on something. I think it's human nature to try and get away with stuff. In my case, it's been nothing big. But I can't lie to myself. Ronda persuaded me to get back to using the MyFitnessPal app to track what I eat. It's not that I was eating poorly or excessively, but I knew there were times when I had an extra cookie when I didn't really need it. I've been maintaining my weight in my 5-pound buffer zone for over a year. But I do know that if I eat more sugar and fat than I should be eating (note - I eat sugar and fat - I'm talking about excess sugar and fat) - well guess where they both go??? Right on my waist and I don't like that! So I don't gain weight per se, but my body fat content goes up!

Well - I can't cheat that stupid app! If I have something, I log it. Logging the food is a pretty painless undertaking. You can scan food in or look them up - the information is readily available. And I think most of us tend to eat pretty much the same things, so now the information is even more accessible since it's already in the app.

Now here's my problem (and it's a good one to have). If  I want a snack, I think long and hard about what kind of snack I have and how it'll reflect on my nutrition in the damn app!! Can you believe it? However, here's the thing - it's saved me from mindlessly eating and makes me limit myself to two cookies a day instead of three or four. I'll have yogurt or fruit as a snack instead. And yesterday? I walked to the bank so I could have an extra big snack! The more steps you take, the more calories it allows you to eat since the app is linked to my FitBit. I did over 15,000 steps yesterday and already at 4,000 for today.

I think it's hilarious. But then I saw a sign at the gym today "you can't out-train a bad diet!". That is so true.

Just for fun, you should download the app - it's free. MyFitnessPal. Log in a typical day of eating. Don't change anything. Then look at the caloric intake - the sugar, the fat and see what you're eating. You might be shocked! I know that I need to increase my protein. That's my biggest downfall in eating so I've got to try and have a protein shake each day.

I can't put it off any longer - I need to get more paperwork (administration) stuff done this morning. I want to sew all afternoon, but that's going to be a reward after the paperwork is done. Where's my secretary?

I did think of one more amazing gift that you could add to your list. Pay to have their car detailed - inside and out. That would be a wonderful gift for anyone! And go back and read the comments from yesterday's blog. People are changing, but it's going to take time! Baby steps - but we need to start taking giant steps!!! Kudos to those that are bucking the trends!!  I love the phone in a basket idea - we need to do that more often. DH says I need to do that at the dinner table, although last night, together we booked our movie tickets for Christmas Day!

On that note, have a super day!!!


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas is coming

Before I get started today - I want you to know that I'm a very happy person and have an extremely positive outlook on life. I just have a different outlook on some aspects of life than others do and I'm quite happy to put traditions in the drawer and move on.

So Christmas is coming - it's just over two weeks away. Will there be hustle and bustle in our house? Are we out there madly shopping for gifts? No. Am I sad? Absolutely NOT! In fact, I'm feeling just the opposite. I'm thrilled. Zero stress, zero commitments, zero Christmas lists to make.

Here's a wee bit of background in case you think I'm heartless. I moved away from home when I was 17. I think I spent the following Christmas with my family (parents and two brothers) and probably the next one as well since one brother got married on Christmas Eve. There might have been one more Christmas in there, but I lived 3,000 KM away, had no money, and it was a long bus ride.

I do remember Christmases when we were kids, where one of my Mom's siblings and all their kids would get together. I did spend some great Christmas with my ex's family in Quebec. We did celebrate Christmas when M was at home. But now she lives over 4,000 KM away, so it's just the two of us and the girls. We long ago dispensed giving gifts to family members. They're so far away - costs a fortune to mail and what do you buy for someone you barely see? It was a total waste of time and money so we stopped that eons ago.

I see so many people running around like mad trying to find just the right gift for someone. Why? Isn't our life stressful enough? Why not just suggest that you don't exchange gifts anymore. People have a tendency to buy whatever they need/want when they see it rather than wait for Christmas. And how many boxes of chocolates, candles, and perfume/lotion gift sets does one household need? Most of them get regifted (except maybe the chocolates!). I don't see the point in all that.

DH and I now spend Christmas Day going to a movie (it's a big deal for a lot of people - the theaters are packed!). We splurge for the VIP experience and have dinner or lunch there. We do cook a simple Christmas dinner at some point during the holidays (OK - DH does the cooking) and that's about it. Nice and simple. No stress, no credit card bills in January that we're going to regret. And we do something that we enjoy.

People seem to love the stress - baking for an entire month before and cleaning their house. They love to decorate to the nines. They seem to love it or at least I hope they love it because it's a lot of work and a lot of expense.

It's OK to say - "let's not exchange gifts" or "let's set a value" or "let's do something simple this year". It's PERFECTLY OK.

But if you really want to give someone a gift, then here are some ideas so you don't end up at the last minute buying chocolates and candles.

1. Buy them a subscription (or pay for an existing one) for one year or whatever you can afford. This might be a magazine subscription (yes some of them still exist). Buy them a subscription to a software package - a budding photographer might want Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. If they like to watch TV or movies - then how about Netflix or Apple TV. For a wedding gift for my brother, I bought them a bouquet of fresh flowers once a month for a year. Get creative - I'm sure there's something out there with a subscription base that your loved ones would want. And put that on your Christmas list as well.

2. Make a donation in their name to their favorite charity. Here's a great story - I'm not sure that it's true, but it's a great story and might be something that your family would want to do instead of gifts.

3. Buy (or make) them a set of litterless grocery bags. I believe that most grocery stores have reusable bags that you can buy. I LOVE the ones from Longo's that are actually folding boxes. They are the BEST and they last forever. I did a tutorial on making the reusable produce bags. We use them all the time at our house and they're the best. Very inexpensive.

4. Buy them a service. Could be a manicure, could be a pedicure, could be a massage, could be housecleaning. It could be something for their yard - yard service for a year. The options are endless in this category.

5. Give them your TIME. Yep - you may offer to do a service for them - i.e. if you're a hairdresser, you could give them free haircuts for the year or whatever you wish. Maybe - it's as simple as making a date to have coffee. Give them a gift card to the local coffee shop and then make a date to share that card with them. Sometimes, our TIME is the most precious gift you can give someone. Offer to babysit, dog sit (does anyone want to take Murphy for a day or two? - just kidding!)

6. Plan a family trip or outing instead of presents. It depends on your budget and your family - but there are loads of things you could do. Make planning part of the present. Spend Christmas Day planning what and where you want to go. Perhaps you devise a system before Christmas to put your ideas in a basket or envelopes that you open on Christmas Day and that becomes the basis for your trip/outing. Great dinner conversation while you plan.

7. Gift the gift of knowledge and experience. Why not put your best advice in an envelope and have everyone open on Christmas Day? I know it's a challenge to take advice from our elders because we know best. But I remember my Grandfather gave me the best advice ever. I don't even remember how old I was, but he told me "Even if you're lost, look like you know where you're going." That piece of advice has stuck with me all these years and trust me - there are man times, whether I'm teaching a class, riding my bike, driving my car or just in a conversation - I try very hard to make like I know where I'm going (confidence in case you didn't get that) even if I have no clue where I am or what to do next. and you know what? It has always worked out!

8. Buy one large thing for the family. This again requires some planning - so again - use the envelope system. Have each member write down the item that they think the family needs the most and why. It becomes a GREAT opening for family discussions about values and money and a whole lot of other lessons in there. We MUST stop focusing on buying material things.

9. Give them a picture book. I'm referring to those books that you make yourself from pictures you've taken over the year. There are many services out there and we all have cameras in our phones and we rarely print out the pictures - why not make a book (even if it is for yourself) of some of those pictures so you can really enjoy them. These are the best! They take time  - don't' wait until the last minute. I use Blurb, but there are loads of other ones out there.

10. If you're hosting a party, ask the guests to bring food for the Food Bank instead of chocolates and candles!

Hmmm - I can't think of anything else at the moment. That was a lot of thinking.

Here's a couple of pointers about wrapping paper. DO NOT USE IT. Here's an article with shocking statistics about wrapping paper and other Christmas waste.   There are loads of other ways to wrap a gift other than using Christmas wrapping paper.

1. Use an envelope (that can be easily recycled) for smaller things. Yes - it doesn't look as glamorous under the tree - get over it.
2. Use reusable gift bags. Here are some large ones that I made for each family member when M was home. A friend told me that each family member (and the children are all adults) has a bag. No name on it. As the gifts come in, Mom and Dad are responsible to put the unwrapped gift in the appropriate bag. Then on Christmas Day, one at a time and taking turns, they reach in the bag and pull out one item until all bags are empty. A SUPER great idea.

Large reusable gift bag
Or you can make these quick and easy small gift bags. I have a pattern for these or you can find online. If you have a serger, they are done in mere minutes. They can also be done on a sewing machine. They are RESUSEALBE.

Reuseable gift bags

Reusable gift bags

3. Use gift boxes and reuse them the following year. I found a nice set of nesting boxes and we've used those over and over again.

4. If the item is large - hide it in the garage or a closet and create a treasure hunt for the recipient to find the gift. No need to use huge gobs of wrapping paper to wrap it.

5. Use brown paper and decorate that with stamps and paint. This is a great pre-Christmas activity for children. I did this for M and one year, she treasured the wrapping way more than she did the gift inside!

I'm sure there are way more ideas, but you get the idea here.

So - if your Christmas preparations are stressing you out or making you change your entire routine to fit in all the extra stuff you have to do, then I'd suggest that you have a serious chat with your family, your friends and yourself. What can you do to simply Christmas? What can you do to make it FUN? What can you do to bring back the spirit of Christmas (not the Christmas that the marketing firms of each and every company out there is trying to sell you, but the Christmas of having fun with family and friends)?

On that note, I'm out of here. It's a CLEAN-UP day and I'm so excited to get started.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, December 9, 2019

OCD versus obsessive

We had a GREAT UFO club meeting yesterday. I don't have time to share all the details today and I have loads of pictures so that'll have to wait for another day. It's Monday sewing and I need to get my butt out the door on time! Not that there's a specific time to be there, but I like to get there early.

I recently had a discussion with someone about the difference (if any) between OCD and being obsessive. Hmmm - I think there's a huge difference.

Here's the definition according to the quick search I did this morning. I know - this is just a definition - it's not a clinical diagnosis or anything scientific.

That is NOT me at all. Maybe the attention to detail.

Let's have a look at obsessive. Oh yes - this is me to a T.

I don't think I'm alone. I think all quilters have some form of obsessive behavior.

So why am I talking about this today? On our road trip and no names will be mentioned to protect the innocent (not sure if that's a good word to use), but we got to talking about the difference between OCD and obsessive. Are they the same? No, they are not. Then I asked the question about the toilet paper roll. Which way should it be placed on the toilet roll holder? Oh - I got an immediate answer to that question and I was told that she had already changed the way the toilet paper was hanging in my bathroom!! 

This is the way the toilet paper rolls

Hmm - to be honest, I'm lucky if the roll even gets put in the holder (I personally don't give a hoot), but in this powder room, there's no place to place it other than on the floor. But in the upstairs bathrooms? Oh - there's no need to use the holder thingy. And most of the time, those holders are in a totally awkward place so what's the point. I don't need to do gymnastics to reach the toilet paper. I vote for leaving it on the vanity!!!  But don't tell Shelly or the next thing I know, she'll be visiting all the bathrooms in my house to change the toilet paper or to put it on the holder!!!

It was good for a laugh for sure!! She got busted! I wouldn't even have noticed and it was I who had placed the roll on the holder that very morning upside down. Imagine that!

Just for comparison - I took a picture of my car beside the monster truck. It looks like I'm driving a dinky toy! Yep - I think my car would almost fit in the back of her truck with room to spare. Why does someone need such a huge vehicle to drive around in? Not my problem!

My "toy" car

After the ladies left, I was on my own for the remainder of the day. Except for when I walked to the library to return a book. I finally finished that book The Water Dancer from Oprah's book club. Hmm - that took forever. I might take a rest from those kinds of books for a while. It's not that it was a bad story - it's just that it was heavy. The first part I enjoyed, then the second part got a bit weird.

I was testing out another pattern for our sewing events next year. That project got completed - I'll show them all to you when they are all done. I think we have twelve to make - I've made four. I made my comments/suggestions to the designer and time to move on!

I hit the long arm and finally got the custom quilt done. There's a long story about this quilt. I don't have time to go into it this morning, but since it'll be sticking around my house for a bit, I'll share the story with you another day. Bottom line - it's quilted!!!

Quilt - DONE
Time to get back to the customer quilts. This one got done and is trimmed and will be delivered today. 

Customer quilt - DONE

 The next quilt is half loaded on the long arm and I'll get to that later today.

Oh my --- I see FOUR pretty wide open weeks in my future. There are two sewing days at my house (that's not stressful), two Monday sewing days (also not stressful), there is one and possibly two community sewing days (not stressful), two private classes (perhaps stressful), and a vet appointment for Murphy - that's going to be stressful. Can you believe that???  Do NOT call and ask to book something with me. I've got so much to clean up, sew up and write or learn that those four weeks are going to be jam-packed. I also have a couple of quilts that need to be made for next year so if I made them now, I wouldn't have to worry about them next year. Tomorrow is a cleanup day (not to be rescheduled) so I might start by scheduling those four weeks to be very efficient with my time and then move onto unpacking the last of the boxes.

And soon, the days are going to start getting longer. I can hardly wait!!! 

On that happy note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sew Alongs for 2020

The Quilting Posse (our little group of road trippers - that would be Ronda, Laura, Shelly and myself) had a day out yesterday. We don't get out that often, but we like to have fun when we do. Our normal day trips to the US are crammed with activities (like Row by Row) and we don't get a chance to have a leisurely stroll around some places. Yesterday was the leisurely stroll day. I didn't need much and I didn't buy much - I do want to support my local quilt shops. Matter of fact, we didn't hit one quilt shop.

My main reason for going was to hit Barnes and Noble. Why??? Because of this.............

The magazine rack at Barnes and Noble

So I have a thing for magazines. I don't need any - I've got loads, but one of my favorite things to do (not so much anymore) is to grab the latest quilt-related titles and sit down and have a good browse. I didn't take their pictures, but the three amigos ended up sitting on the bench beside me and well - I did feel a wee bit like a woman in a quilt store with her husband along! They also browsed but were finished way before I was. Too bad - this is our leisurely day.

I didn't find any quilts of mine in any of the publications - that has slowed down a wee bit, but I was quoted in the January/February issue of Quiltmaker on the Business of Quilting. However, those are titles that I can buy in Canada. I wanted to see those that we can't buy in Canada. I ended up buying one that is the subscription magazine for SAQA.

That was it - got my fix for the year and I was happy.

I also wanted to get some sweatshirt material to make a pair of swear - I mean sweat pants. That darn autocorrect on our phones drives me mad sometimes. So we were off to Joann's. I managed to find ONE bolt in the entire giant store. I had one choice of color - light grey which was the color I wanted so that was good.

I don't own a pair of sweat pants and there are some days when it's just a day to cozy up in sweat pants. Along with my quest to become a serging queen, I thought this was a good thing to make. I have a pattern and now I've got the fabric - I'm all set. It was recommended to me that I find the ribbing for the cuffs rather than elastic. Hmm - I know I had some at home, but not sure if I still have it. So a quick trip to Fabricland will hopefully get me some.

Sweatpant fabric
I bought enough for one pair. Then we did end up at a much smaller Joann's and guess what? They had quite a variety of colors.

Sweatpant fabric 

It wasn't on sale although we did have a 20% coupon for our total purchase. I'll check to see if I can get this at Fabricland for any future endeavors in the sweatshirt world. I didn't buy anymore - just enough for one pair. I don't need more than one pair.

At one point, we ended up at Hobby Lobby. OK - if you want something with words on it - that's the place to go. And if you do NOT have something with a vintage, red truck on it for Christmas, then you're not ready for Christmas. I swear - the vintage, red truck is more of an icon for Christmas than Santa is. OH - I know - Santa is old, the vintage, red truck is NEW.

Vintage, red trucks

The border crossing on the way over was the most boring ever. That's good. And on the way back, we had a nice young border crossing officer who after we told him we were on a budget and that each of us had spent less than $100, he let us through without having to pay the HST. Thank you border crossing guy!! Merry Christmas to you!!  I truthfully spent less than $100. My goal was NOT to buy, but more to browse and I came home happy.

One of the other things we went to look for was a snap setter and snaps. We were disappointed. We did find various styles of setters and colors of snaps, but not exactly what we were looking for. Oh well.............  And we stopped to get a geocache for Shelly so she could get a virtual souvenir from New York State. It appears that I got my first geocache in New York State on December 31, 2011. Now, what the heck was I doing in the US that day????  AHA -- just went back to the blog and it turns out that M and I went to the US that day. We went to Barnes and Noble and Joanns. How predictable.

Now that I filled up the first part of this post with my daily trivial things (but important to me), here's the information on the upcoming sew-alongs. There'll be two of them. I know - go big or go home!!

Sew Along Number One

Vintage Christmas by Lori Holt

There are 42 blocks in the book. There are instructions for 6" blocks and also 12" blocks. You'll get to choose which ones you want to make and you might make some of each depending. I'm not selling the book so you're on your own to get the book. Put it on your Christmas list. The blocks are ADORABLE. 

Vintage Christmas book

In the class, you're going to learn a lot about color and NO - you do NOT need to use the same fabrics that Lori used in the cover quilt. Get creative, think outside the box. Use up your stash. Make it in non-traditional fabrics. Be bold - be different.

Here's how it's going to work. There is a cost to sign up for the class. $25 for the entire year. The tips, hints, and suggestions will be sent out to the registered participants by e-mail once a week or we may double that up and do one e-mail with the tips for two blocks every two weeks. NOTE - you WILL NEED THE BOOK. You will NOT get the cutting and piecing instructions in the e-mail. There might be some videos involved as well. And I'll set up a Facebook page so we can post the homework and see what each of us is doing. You'll be able to get in touch with me via e-mail on the Facebook page so if you have questions, I'll get you answers.

There will be a lot to learn in this class.

  • A lot about color - not the theory stuff, but the real stuff that quilters use every day!
  • Great tips for improving accuracy - pressing, cutting and sewing 
  • How to change up a pattern for greater efficiency - be that the cutting instructions or the sewing instructions
  • How to deal with different methods for creating certain units
  • Tips on choosing fabrics that are NOT like the pattern
  • Tips on sashing and borders

Start date: Friday, January 3rd. That day, you'll get your first e-mail and a whole lot more information. 

How to sign up:  Send me an e-mail with your intention to sign up and money can be transferred by e-transfer. If you're close by, you can let me know in person and give me cash or e-transfer works as well. Then you'll get put on the distribution list and be invited to the Facebook page. 

Sew Along Number Two

This sew along will use a book called Christmas Figs by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co. 

Christmas Figs by Joanna Figueroa

There are twenty blocks measuring 16 (finished) inches in the quilt. A lot of the blocks have lots of little pieces so there are great learning moments in this quilt. 

This is going to work pretty much the same way as the other sew-along. The e-mails will go out about every two-three weeks. I'll have to set up a schedule so you know when to expect the e-mail. You don't have to keep up, although that's kind of the point of a sew-along. There'll be a Facebook page for this one as well so we can see what each other is doing. Although this quilt is made with Christmas fabric, it doesn't have to be Christmas. And you might choose one or two blocks and make a quilt out of just those two blocks. There's going to be loads of ideas for sharing in this one.

  • A lot about color - not the theory stuff, but the real stuff that quilters use every day!
  • Great tips for improving accuracy - pressing, cutting and sewing 
  • How to change up a pattern for greater efficiency - be that the cutting instructions or the sewing instructions
  • How to deal with different methods for creating certain units
  • Tips on choosing fabrics that are NOT like the pattern
  • Tips on sashing and borders
  • Tips on working with LOTS of small pieces. 

So there you have it. There'll be a total of five ongoing classes next year. Some you have to attend in person for those that are local and a couple of options for those that can't make it to class. Hopefully among them, one or more will pique your interest. It's going to be a learning experience for all of us.  Above all, it's going to be fun!

Remember, the sign up fee is per EACH person. I would appreciate that you do not sign up as a "team" with your friend and share the instructions. The fee goes to pay for my time in prepping the lesson plans and instructions, answering questions, etc. It's so easy to share things electronically these days. Anyone caught sharing will be immediately removed from the distribution lists and NO REFUND will be applied. I hope you can all understand my position on that one. 

Today is the LAST date for the UFO club. OK - so I'm not quite done my homework and now that the blog is out of the way, I'm off to get the stitching complete before the group members arrive. I'm behind on getting the previous month's pictures posted. That's coming! I know - next year, I've got to be even more organized than I am now and I'll do it!!!

On that note - I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Classes for 2020

Thank goodness, I'm not a rigid planner. I have loads to do and as much as I'd like to get loads done in a day - it doesn't always work out that way and for a variety of reasons. I've loads sitting on the work tables in Studio B and nothing is holding me back other than time.

But I had a dentist appointment yesterday. I walked down - it's a fifteen-minute walk. And even in the snow, it was an awesome way to start the day. So when both the dentist and the hygienist asked me "how were the roads?". I replied that I had NO IDEA. It felt great! I used to have to drive a long way to my dentist and then I realized how much a waste of time that was. Dentists are a dime a dozen out there - do yourself a favor and find one close to your house. You may not be able to walk there (but why not?) but at least you won't spend a lot of time in the car. I did the same thing with the optometrist and my doctor is also within walking distance.

Anyway, they were running late because the appointment in front of me had arrived late. That person was the first patient of the day. Oh great - now the entire day for them will be making up time. When I got back home, I had to shovel the driveway so it was almost lunchtime by the time I was finished and I had appointments to book and other admin tasks and those got bumped.

The quilt is almost finished that's on the long arm, but not quite.

But enough of all that - let's get to the classes for 2020.

These are ON-GOING classes that will last the entire year of 2020. All three of these are lecture-style - that means you come to the store for a one-hour lecture for tips on how to sew the next homework assignment together. We OOH and AAH over the show n tell from the previous month. And there are loads of other tips and topics that get thrown in based on the questions from the group. I've been doing these classes for many, many years and we've always had loads of fun with them. The things we learn (yep - even me - I'm learning from the students) is amazing. Choices of colors and fabrics, different colors for the background, modifying some of the blocks to suit skill levels and even modifying the entire quilt. Oh yes - it's great fun and I look forward to another amazing year.

Oh, Look Fabric (Milton)  - Aviatrix Medallion
Time: Friday evening   7:00 PM - 8:00 PM.
Dates: January 17, February 21, March 27, April 24, May 15, June 26, September 25, October 23, November 27

Aviatrix Medallion by Elizabeth Hartman

This is a medallion style quilt. You start with the block in the center and build around that block. The finished quilt is 80" by 80". The quilt in the picture was made with solids, but you could make it with anything. If you want to use up your stash, this would look amazing as a scrap quilt. Make it totally scrappy, make it monochromatic. Check out this link for more color options.

What you'll learn:

  • A lot about color - not the theory stuff, but the real stuff that quilters use every day!
  • Great tips for improving accuracy - pressing, cutting and sewing. 
  • How to change up a pattern for greater efficiency - be that the cutting instructions or the sewing instructions.
  • Working with templates (WAIT - there's only a few and I'll have alternative directions if you can't stand templates).
  • Tips for making an 8-pointed star (that's the center block)
  • Tips on choosing fabrics that are NOT like the pattern
  • Tips on coping strips

This promises to be a lot of fun and if weekend classes don't work for you, here's a fun class on a Friday night.

Be sure to call the store to get yourself signed up.

The Hobby Horse Quilt Shop (Georgetown)  - Celebration
Time: Saturday Morning (either 10 AM or 11:30 AM - it has been determined yet)
Dates: March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27, August 29, September 26, October 24, November 28

Celebration by Quilt Moments

The Celebration quilt is a Block of the Month. A very cost-effective block of the month - the pattern is less than $20. HEY - this is also a medallion quilt, but with a much different style. The quilt is 73" by 73" (as shown in the photos) or you can add a border to make it larger.  The blocks are simple and if you check the website (scroll through those photos), there are many more colorings for this quilt. I see lots of different color combinations with this one and yes - there'll be lots of ideas for making changes to the quilt.

What you'll learn:
  •  A lot about color - not the theory stuff, but the real stuff that quilters use every day!
  • Great tips for improving accuracy - pressing, cutting and sewing. 
  • How to change up a pattern for greater efficiency - be that the cutting instructions or the sewing instructions.
  • Tips on choosing fabrics that are NOT like the pattern
  • Tips for squaring up blocks and resizing blocks
  • Tips for joining rows/columns

The Hobby Horse Quilt Shop (Georgetown)  - Summer Moon
Time: Saturday Morning (either 10 AM or 11:30 AM - it has been determined yet)
Dates: March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27, August 29, September 26, October 24, November 28

Summer Moon by Carrie Nelson

This is also a Block of the Month but in a book format. There are 24 different blocks and they come in three sizes. It'll all be explained in class! This is also going to be a design class - don't like a particular block? Then make one up. Don't like the layout? Make one up! The quilt on the book cover is 70" by 78".  Use a specific fabric collection or break out of the box - make it monochromatic - make it scrappy.

What you'll learn:
  •  A lot about color - not the theory stuff, but the real stuff that quilters use every day!
  • Great tips for improving accuracy - pressing, cutting and sewing. 
  • How to change up a pattern for greater efficiency - be that the cutting instructions or the sewing instructions.
  • Tips on choosing fabrics that are NOT like the pattern
  • Tips for squaring up blocks and resizing blocks
  • Tips for designing your own quilt

Be sure to contact the store to get your name on the list. NOTE: The classes at Oh, Look Fabric starts in January, the classes at The Hobby Horse start in March. All of them finish in November.

OH - I can hear you - "I don't want to start another project". I get that. But if you've been good at finishing up things, then why not reward yourself. If we only work on the old UFOs, that gets boring very quickly. We need something new to perk us up and everyone, no matter how experienced you are - will learn something from these classes. I say it all the time, but I learn so much from the students. I'm shocked sometimes! Collectively we have amazing ideas and the sharing just blows me away. Besides, we should all be learning something new every day to keep our brains active.

So get on the phone and sign up today. Then start digging through your stash to find a BRAND NEW colorway that you've never done before. Don't just make this quilt like the one on the cover - make this quilt YOUR OWN!!!!

There are two more ongoing classes that I'll share tomorrow - those ones will be virtual sew-alongs for those that can't get to the shops. I haven't figured out the format for them yet, but I've got until tomorrow to figure that out!  It'll be likely through e-mail or maybe a Facebook group.

I was expecting a package, but I kind of forgot about it with everything going on. DH arrived home at about 4:30 and parked his car in the garage. A short while later, I happened to be in Studio U and looked out and there's my package lying in the driveway. No knock on the door, nothing. OH - I did get the e-mail notification. Good grief - - that's a dump delivery if ever I saw one. It's very heavy and awkward so not like someone could just run off with that one, but still. Did you notice how clean the driveway is? Except around my car in the background which I didn't clean. But we have the afternoon sun and I LOVE IT!

Package dumped in the driveway

I managed to get four more bags ready to fill with scraps for the pet beds. And it sounds like I'm not the only doing that. I know there are others out there that are recycling the stuff from your studios!
Kudos to you all!!! We really must learn to reduce our waste! Anyway - there are now just five bundles left to serge up! At least for this go around - there'll be more to make later, but I'll have lots to fill with scraps from now to the end of the year.

Five bundles left to make into pet mats

On that happy note (oh yes - I've got great ideas for a litterless Christmas - those are coming up this week and some great ideas for gifts!), I'm out of here. A wee bit of a fun day - a road trip! But just for one day and I've got the MASTER shopping list for everyone in the car. No deviations!

And I've got FIVE new color schemes for these quilts to come up with! I'd better get started!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, December 6, 2019

Giving to the pets

At one point, not long ago, I said that I wanted to get all those scraps (destined for pet mats) cleaned up by the end of the year. I'm not sure if that's exactly what I said, but I would like to get rid of them. End of the year? I'm trying.

To backtrack - several years ago, I decided it was a good idea to make pet mats using up the scraps from cutting and trims squares - not HUGE hunks of fabric as some are want to believe! Simple scraps. I put a plea out to the quilting world for scraps. Oh boy - that was a mistake - I got everything but the kitchen sink.  NOTE - this is NOT a plea. I will NEVER NEVER NEVER do that again. If I want something, I'm going to be extremely specific about what I want and even then, people hear what they want to hear and totally ignore the original request. But I digress.

SO - a huge pile of bags and boxes starting arriving at my door or at guild meetings and before I knew it, I was saddled with a huge mess. I've been whittling at the pile over the years, but nothing serious. With my little decluttering tirade, I'm tackling this mess. There are five zippered IKEA bags of scraps (all the zippers are closed and not bursting), as well as five big tubs (which I plan to get rid of when they are empty).  The IKEA bags are in the cold room and the tubs are under the stairs in the basement. It's all tucked away, nice and neat, but I want that space. I don't want to put anything there - I don't have anything to put in those spots. I just want the areas to be clean.

I also inherited a LARGE, heavy box of decorator samples. The world is FILLED with these samples. I can't even begin to imagine the waste these samples bring to the landfill sites. It's HUGE and all because we want some pretty fabric in our houses.

Through the years, if I didn't have pillowcases, I sewed some of the samples together and made the pet mat to put the scraps in. Well - it's time to clean out that darn box.

The box with the decorator samples

I sorted through everything - mostly by size. There were a few odds and ends that I had thrown in the box as well.

The samples are sorted

Some of the samples were too small or too large to make one pet mat on their own. They had to be joined and then cut down. But there was very little measuring involved here. Soon I had three bundles that after being sewn together would make two pet mats per each bundle.

Bundles to be serged together for pet mats
Then before I knew it, I had six pet mats done - well the bag is done - they still need to be turned and filled.

Six bags for the pet mats - DONE
 I found several pieces of yardage. Some were 1-meter cuts and some were larger. Hmm - I don't really need these and I know of a group of women that use pretty much anything so I put these in a bag (that I pulled from my "easy to assess" bag storage area) and put the yardages into the bag to be delivered later. These would make good tote bags or gift bags or toiletry bags - I'm not sure what they make. Not my concern. Consider this GONE!

Yardages of fabric
I found this lone piece of orange fabric. It's not big - about 12" square. Because it's orange, I decided to keep it so I need to find a use for it. Any suggestions??? I might some machine embroidery on it. But what to put on it?????

Orange fabric sample that I'll keep

I also found this table topper. It's cut out, but not hemmed. I decided to keep that as well - only because I want to practice making a rolled hem. It'll be perfect for that!  Should anyone want it when I'm done - you're welcome to it!

A table topper piece to practice a rolled hem
I had even stuffed a couple of my own pieces in this box. This was something that M pieced years ago. I think it was to be a mat for the dogs or a quilt for her dolls. Oh well - it's now one side of a pet mat. Seriously????  I didn't get the least bit sentimental. Why? It's nothing special. I took a picture  - I'm blogging about it and acknowledging it, but then it's time to move on!! I know she won't be broken up about it. And now some kitty cat is going to have a nice bed to sleep on. The bottom line - this piece is now going to be USED. Let's move on from being sentimental. I love you M and you're welcome that I'm cleaning up the mess now.

M's piece doll quilt is now part of a pet mat

Once I got all the small pieces used (because I did!!!!),  I was left with two piles of samples. The pile on the right which I'll show you in a minute and the pile on the left. The pile on the left is the perfect size to make zippered pouches and I know someone who would love them to do just that. So that's in the pile to be delivered. Yeah!!!!!

Two piles of samples left
The pile on the right are HUGE pieces. Mostly florals - does anyone still decorate with all those flowers????  These must be old - I can't imagine having this in my house. Oops - sorry if you have florals in your house. Couldn't the prints have been funky geometric prints? Then they would have made great modern totes or something. Anyway - I'm digressing again!!

I counted these - there are 71 HUGE sample pieces (about 24" square). For the moment, I've put them back under the stairs. At some point, they'll also be assembled into pet mats unless someone out there is desperate for huge floral samples. For the moment, I now have a nice collection of pet mats that I can fill.

HUGE sample pieces

I was in desperate need to make some bags as my scrap box on the cutting table is a tad overflowing. Just a wee bit.

The scrap box on the cutting table 

And the serger waste tray is jammed.

The serger waste tray is jammed

But look at the table from when I started. By the way - I started on Giving Tuesday right after all the pillowcase sewists left the house. All that's left is my orange scrap and the piece for practicing the rolled hem. All that technically got put back in storage were those big pieces, but they are organized and I know what's there. Everything else got dealt with!!!  Now if that doesn't excite you - well, nothing will. I'm jumping up and down knowing that one more piece of that mess is under control.

I don't know why, but I love taking scraps and making something from them. It's just my nature and I can't help it. I'm sure my family roots has a HUGE influence on me. This is one "set" of pieces that went together to make three mats. After I sewed them together, I realized that each row would make a good-sized mat (folded in half) so I cut them apart again. There's no finesse to these mats which honestly is a great thing. I don't worry about matching colors - I don't worry about matching sizes (if it's too big, I serge off the excess). I don't worry about pressing or flipping seams. In fact, it's rather therapeutic.

One of my wonky pieces made with lots of scraps

I seriously doubt if the cats are going to care what they get to sleep on as long as it's something fabric related.

Here's one more scrappy panel that I made. Again - I realized after I serged it together that each row was good on its own. I even looked at it before I serged it together. Once it was together, I cut it apart. DUH!!!! There are days!!!!  Hey - did you notice that I made a 9-patch??? I made a tote bag (years ago) with that blue floral. I have no idea why - it's ugly as sin, but it's a great tote bag. There are no scraps left. I used them all and that feels great!!!!

One more wonky piece

All that remains are these 7 bundles to serge together to make pet mats. Once those 7 bundles are together, I'll have lots of pet mat bags to work with and that'll make it easier (and faster) when I start going through the tubs and bags of scraps to get some pet mats made up before the end of the year. I have a lot of other stuff to do before the end of the year, but seriously - I have to get this under control. I'm very careful now about what I wish for!!! These bundles are NOT scrappy like the previous two, so they should be very fast to serge together.

Seven bundles to sew together

In case you're wonder what Studio B looks like these days (it doesn't take long for me to fill those tables), it's a mess. But these are things that I'm currently working on. Yep - all of it.

I took two pictures to show you. This one is boring.

The work in progress tables
But with the new camera (in my Samsung Galaxy s10) and the wide-angle lens, you get a shot like this which I think is way more exciting. The mess is actually not that bad - there are currently five machines on the table. I haven't had a chance to put them away yet and I might not until I have to as I'm using them. Well, I'm using the two sewing machines and one serger. I could put the other two sergers away.

The table from a bird's eye view

I also emptied an IKEA bag (filled with projects) that was stored upstairs. It's time to get working on those UFOs before the end of the year. If I could STOP doing all this paperwork, I might get to the sewing machine. Today is a sewing day and a quilting day. I have a custom quilt on the machine and I need to get that off today.

I found this pile of fabric in the IKEA bag. Why was it there?? I've no idea, but I sure could have used that when I was making my North Star quilt. Sigh......   That's why things shouldn't be taken out of their home place - like the appropriate basket of fabric. Anyway - it's on the cutting table so later today, it'll go into the appropriate fabric basket. Gosh - I wondered why I had nothing in this color range. Because it was hiding somewhere else!!!

Bundle of fabric found!

Don't forget the craft sale at The Hobby Horse. I sorted through my finished things and took up some quilts and zippered pouches and other stuff. Here's one of the quilts that went up. It's a mermaid panel with a side border. It's got a hanging sleeve so could be used as a wall hanging or you could use it for a quilt. It's up for sale!!!  Quilted on the long arm by me.

Mermaid panel for sale

And a couple of zippered pouches that I made.

Zippered pouches

The sale runs today from 10 AM - 7:30 PM, Saturday during store hours and Sunday during store hours. Be sure to check it out. YES - you could make your own gifts, but you know you're not going to get them done - go and see what's available.

On that note, I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Going paperless

It was a very quiet day around my house yesterday. Of course, I had work to do. I had lots and lots of paperwork to get done. I've started sending out e-mails with dates for next year's events. Like the Sit n Sews and that list of people is already long - I can't add anyone else to the list at the moment. Sorry!

But watch the blog because there'll be upcoming events that you can participate in no matter where you live. Those have to be up by the end of next week.

I do have to laugh because I sent out a couple of e-mails with pretty clear instructions in them. Not one single person responded the way I asked. Holy!!!!  I'm trying to not have to go back and forth to clarify things as it just takes up more time. But I ended up doing that! Sigh.........

The timing couldn't have been better for this pillowcase class at Oh Look Fabric. Yep - I had a pillowcase class to teach on Tuesday evening. The night of our pillowcase marathon. There were two students in the class - one had sewn years ago and the other had never touched the sewing machine. By the end of TWO hours, they had each cut (with a rotary cutter) and sewed their pillowcases - French seam and all.

Happy pillowcase owners

I love teaching this class. At the end of the class, the students are totally amazed that they have made something using a sewing machine. How can that not make you happy????

The previous week was the final class of the Learn to Quilt class - also at Oh Look Fabric. We had two students in that class. This is Maria's quilt. You can't see the ORANGE binding in the photo as she didn't have the right color of thread to stitch it to the front. But it'll have a nice pop of orange around the outside.

Maria's quilt

This quilt belongs to Ashleigh.

Ashleigh's quilt

Hers was completely finished. They did an awesome job!!!!!  The next "learn to quilt" in a four-part series will start in March at Oh Look Fabric. Andi's just waiting on me to give her dates. What else is new?

This was my setup for part of the day yesterday. Playing with the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2. Well, technically not playing - I was finishing off a sample. And testing something for someone who just bought a Designer EPIC 2. The instructions for the project were on the iPad and I was writing out a list of comments on the computer. ZERO paper involved.

My setup for testing and proofing project instructions

The more I do this, the more I know I'm going to be able to give up paper. Now there's going to be somethings that I still prefer paper for. I do LOVE my notebook for writing things down - To-do lists and notes - I know I could do them through an app, but honestly, I know I'm going to forget about them. I'll get better. Rome wasn't built in a day!!!

Today is going to be a run around day. I've got a bunch of stuff to deliver and I need to get it all done by 4:30 when I have a conference call.

Don't' forget that there's a craft sale at The Hobby Horse this weekend. It starts TOMORROW - that's Friday and runs through to Sunday. Scroll down on that link to get the hours - they're open until 7:30 on Friday. There's going to be loads of samples for sale (including some of mine) and other gift items that have been lovingly made by the staff. Be sure to check it out because you know that you're running out of time to get the gifts made that you said you would.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!