Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hell has frozen over!

Or so it feels like. It's a wee bit cool this morning and even the girls were quite happy to be back in the house after about 2 minutes outside! I'm guessing we won't be going to the dog park this morning.

Which is great - more time for sewing! It's the last day of the year and time to review that list of UFOs for 2017. I told you, I'm not throwing in the towel until midnight tonight!

I did NOT get any quilts quilted yesterday. I went to the gym for a class - I never go there on Saturday. Anyway, it was a good class and I came home all relaxed and fired up to sew!

I decided to start with Amish with a Twist II. This was a class that I taught in 2015 so not too old, but old enough! I cut most of the little squares for the second to last border the previous day. I randomly sewed the squares together and when I was pressing the last border, I had a good chuckle. What are the odds that I would end up with TWO squares in the exact order and the exact same position as two pieces in the quilt? That was weird!

Two squares in the border in the same place as the fabrics in the quilt

Hey - that wasn't so bad. Let's move onto the last border which was pretty easy. Big hunks of fabric that only needed one join and cornerstones.

I'm a pretty neat presser, but what the heck happened here? My mind must have wandered, to say the least.

A badly pressed sam
 And it looks even uglier on the back.

Oops - let's try that pressing again!
 Even though I normally join my border strips on the diagonal, I joined these with a straight seam. It meant that I could get away with just two strips for each border and the border is 9 inches wide. It would have been a big waste of fabric.

Squirrel! Oh - I needed an ender and leader project while I was working and I just happened to have two of these blocks cut out. This is the block (designed by me) that appeared in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 16. But now those two blocks are done!

Two blocks - done!
Very versatile block as it can be turned in many different directions.

Another way to position the blocks
 Then it was onto the telephone for hours (or so it seemed) chatting with family members. Oh - can we please get this quilt top done?  So one more push and voila - the top for Amish with a Twist II is DONE!

Amish with a Twist II - top is done!
 It's actually a very nice quilt - I really like it and can't wait to get it quilted! I've resolved that if I'm going to be finishing more quilt tops this year, I had better get my butt in gear and get some of them quilted as I do not want to add to those tubs of tops that are currently sitting there waiting to be done.

Here's a bit better picture of the top - well a quarter of it. It's so big and it was dark by the time I got it finished, it was hard to get a decent picture with just the camera flash.

A quarter of the top - Amish with a Twist II
 Oh, let's take a few minutes to finish trimming those green/white half square triangles which if you were observant came from the blocks that were in the magazine. And that's all I'm saying about for the moment.

Bag of squared up half square triangles
As I was putting on those last two borders, I did have a wee bit of a panic attack. Hmm, all the border fabric appears to be here, but what about the binding? I couldn't find any binding fabric. And I REFUSE to buy any. Well - it was getting late in the day and I knew I wouldn't find what I was looking for. And I was determined to cross this item off my list.

After cutting the big outer border, I had this much fabric left over. I must have intended to use that for the binding! Sound goods to me. I needed 11 strips at 2 ½" wide.

Enough fabric for the binding
 I think the original color was supposed to be purple or something like that, but I think this will work just fine.

Cut, cut, cut and voila - 11 strips. It must have been meant to be because there was just a small scrap leftover.

Eleven strips and a wee bit leftover
 The top and the binding are done! Yeah!

Binding and top - done!
 Time to clean up the project box. We had bought these fusible appliques to go on the back. I seemed to have ended up with a few extra. Anyone want to buy a fusible horse and buggy? And I have a kit (no pattern) that was part of the row by row a couple of years ago that came with two horse and buggy appliques.
Extra fusible appliques of Amish horse and buggy

Now I have added my fusible applique of the horse and buggy to the mix.

Are we done yet?

 Then it was time for me and The Task Master to have a little bit of review and to set the goals for this coming week. For those of you not in the know, The Task Master is simply a plain notebook where I dedicate one page per week to write down the things that I need to get done that week. I'll go into more detail in another post. My list of 12 UFOs for the current year are listed on their own page and the list for 2018 are also listed.

I like to post quotes in my book - something fun to do, but not necessary. I had an extra of this book of positive quotes so I keep it with my Task Master.

The Task Master tools
 While I was very excited with my progress, The Task Master reminded me that I could NOT cross that item off my list just yet because - yep - I still had to make the piping for this quilt. I know - PIPING! I'm not sure why the designer chose piping since that's kind of a fussy thing and the Amish are known for simplicity. Not too worry - I want to make the piping.

I need 11 - 1" strips. Good thing I didn't need more because I had 12" of fabric.

Just enough to get the required amount to make the piping
 Oh yes, forgot to mention that I started a new ender and leader project. When I was tidying up one storage area, I came across this bag of cut bits. Notice that I seemed to be very focused on NOT working on that quilt! Anyway, all the bits were shoved into a bag (very neatly labeled), but I couldn't sew it all crammed up in the bag so I found these containers. They are way too big - I need to find something smaller.

New ender and leader project
 And the bits are small! But I do believe that the entire quilt is cut out.

Small bits - perfect for enders and leaders
 Back to the piping. I had this much leftover after cutting my 11 strips.

Leftover strip from the piping fabric

Then I had to join the strips together and press it in half. Yes - a horrid job since it was only 1" wide. But it got done. And guess what?  YEP -- the binding, the piping, and the top are DONE!!!!   The backing is coming later so I can't get that prepped at this time.

Amish with a Twist II - DONE!
 Didn't you hear that cheer? I'm sure my entire neighborhood heard it! OK - so it was silent cheer - didn't want my family to think I'm off my rocker - well any more than I'm currently off it!

I ran to The Task Master and with her permission, I happily crossed that project off - which was actually two projects because the item also included Amish with a Twist I. I did a count - there were 13 items on that list - one for each month of 2017 and one for December 2016. BUT in total, there were 20 quilts as some of the quilts had been grouped together. What the heck was I thinking??  Obviously, I was new to this goal setting thing and had no clue! Let's hang onto that thought!

When I went to Fabricland earlier this week, it was to buy 25 meters of cording. This is all that remains.

Leftover piping cord

That's what I like - buy something and use it up right away!  I'm going to try and make that my new motto for this year. I'm not sure how successful I'll be, but I'm going to try. We need to have something in our wallets or our heads or attached to our VISA cards that will remind us that we don't need more stuff unless we have an immediate plan for it. I was at the mall the other day with M. We went into a tea place and I ALMOST bought a cute little teapot for using loose tea. I even took it to the cash and then thought that I didn't need it. I put it back on the shelf! We need a code word to make us think before we buy. Hmm - what kind of code word?

 I have a small project in mind where I can use that leftover piping cord so I'm going to dig that out - well, it's already out. Something small that needs to have binding put on it.

I'm close, really close to completing the projects that I committed to in my blog yesterday. There are still TWO quilts that need to have the binding stitched to the front. Let's push and get this done! I got one done this morning.

Binding on construction quilt #3
 That leaves ONE more quilt to put the binding on today. I have all day to do it and it only takes about ½ hour.  If I can't get it done, well, I've no one to disappoint but myself and The Task Master of course!

Let's go back to that UFO list for 2017.  While there were a total of 13 items on the list, in fact, there were 20 quilts on that list. TWENTY! And some of them had to be started almost from scratch. I obviously had dilusions of grandeur! While I completed 6 of the 13 items on the list, in fact, I finished 11 of 20 quilts. Including the one that I'm going to finsih today!  I feel pretty good about that! No I feel FABULOUS and I wouldn't have done it without The Task Master to keep reminding me of what had to be done.

I forgot to post the link to the last QUILTsocial post that I did last Friday. In case you haven't seen it - check it out. There is some really good stuff in how to design a quilt.

I didn't post pictures of the quilting of my table topper, but here's a better look. I'm super happy with it! And if you want to learn machine quilting and free motion quilting, in particular, I'm teaching an awesome class. More details on that in the new year when I post my class listing.

Quilting on the table topper

The back of the table topper

And there you have it - a very successful year in the quilting world for me!

Tomorrow is Monday and I'll be back with more details about The Task Master as I believe there are new people who have joined the Facebook group! I've got some great plans on what to do with my time in 2018 and I can't wait to share them with you. We're all in this together!

Have a wonderful day!!!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

The clock is ticking................

I have two days to finish up any of the remaining 2017 UFOs. Did I focus on them yesterday? Of course not! I have no idea why, but I'm a last minute person in case you haven't figured that one out! I'll be there at 11:00 PM tomorrow night, trying to get that last bit of binding pressed so I can cross another UFO off the list!

To be realistic, it looks like I'm going to complete those two that I'm currently working on and that will be it. But I'm OK with that. I have plans for how to improve next year.

So while I didn't get all twelve UFOs completed, I finished a number of them and those projects are DONE which is super exciting. I know that if they were NOT on that list, they would have been forgotten. I look at this UFO program as a smashing success. Not only did it allow me to get those projects completed, but it gave me a HUGE wake-up call. If I don't start dealing with those UFOs now, well it isn't going to be pretty when I'm no longer around to do that!

For the count, I started with 13 items on my list (one was for December 2016). Of the 13 items, 6 will be crossed off by tomorrow night. However, many of those involved multiple items so in fact, I did get TWELVE items done!  Yeah!!!!!

If you've no idea what I'm talking about, here are the basic details. Choose TWELVE UFOs - could be big ones, could be small ones, could be almost finished or just started. Could be something brand new if you really want to get it done. Can be hand or machine, can be anything! Can even be something that you're not sure you want to finish. Write them on a piece of paper. This is crucial to the success of this program! I used to write everything on pieces of paper, then I couldn't find the papers so I have a book that I leave in my sewing studio. One page lists the twelve UFOs.

Then on a weekly basis, I set an appointment with myself and set the goals for the week that will help me to finish the UFO. Be specific and REALISTIC in these weekly goals. Don't just say - finish Quilt X. It's much more fun (and realistic) to cross off the items as you get them done. Blocks are completed, the top is assembled, borders on, etc. If I don't get the items all completed in the week, I don't bring them forward. I just leave them and I go back to do those things that I missed. I hate rewriting things!  But you choose what works for you. Perhaps there were too many things on the list. Perhaps you didn't plan your time properly. The nice thing about this is that it makes me accountable to the only person who matters and that is ME!

There might be weeks when you have nothing on your weekly list and that's OK. If you're on vacation or just need some time away from the sewing machine, that's OK. If you only have one thing on the list, that's OK too. This super easy method can be geared to everyone's work schedule. I don't just put the UFO items on that weekly list which I call The Task Master. I like to put the other sewing related projects that I'm working on as well.

Another page in your book that is very useful and I'm NOT good at this one. Keep a list of the things that you finished in the year. It's so easy to forget what we've made and this is a great way to go back and see what you've done. Even better - take a picture of the item and put that in your book! I'm going to go back and see if I can find at least some of what I did this past year. If I have time  - I still have two quilts to bind and two borders to add before the year ends!

There is a group of us working on this method and we have a Facebook Page where people check in once a week to report on what they've accomplished. You don't have to, but it's fun to see what everyone is working on. It's also nice to know that support is just a quick post away. We all struggle - could be our health, could be skill level, could be time. Whatever it is, there is someone who understands in the Facebook group and knowing that we're in this together is a good thing!

If you're interested in joining the Facebook group, check it out.

And now very quickly, here's what I did work on yesterday.

One more customer quilt - DONE!
Besides getting this customer quilt done, I did get one of the little quilts for the magazine photoshoot quilted as well. The next one is already loaded and ready to go today. 

And I got all the pieces for the next border on one of those UFOs ready to sew together. Of course, I didn't have enough fabric in the little baggie so I had to go searching for more.

Bits for the next border
Well - a miracle happened. I did find the missing fabric but more importantly, I found a project that has been missing for a LONG, LONG time. It would help if I would put the fabric containers back on the shelf. The basket of solids was sitting on this project and of course, a few things had spilled out of the solid fabric basket so I didn't even know something was sitting underneath!!! Yeah!

All is good in the sewing world. I'm going to try and do a tidy up in the sewing room and then take pictures tomorrow night so I can compare what the place looks like in ONE YEAR. Getting that gift of an extra 50 hours a week (basically, got laid off!) has been a huge eye opener and I want to be able to make good use of those 50 hours. I can't sew for 50 hours every week - well I could, but I don't want to, but I want to make good progress in that studio! And as we move forward in the year, here's a great quote about organizing.

Something to think about when you're out shopping - anywhere for anything!

On that note, I'm out of here to make progress on those last items to finish for the year.

Have a great day!!!!


And if you're into dogs, check out Lexi's blog today!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Not throwing in the towel yet

At the beginning of last year, I created the Dirty Dozen list. Twelve UFOs that I wanted to get done this year. Things didn't progress quite as nicely as I would like and of course, I'm not done them all. BUT there are still three days left in the year and I'm doing what I can to get as much done as possible. Oh, that's a bunch of crock! I don't sew after dinner so I can't be too motivated to get them all done! Whatever I don't get done is getting rolled over to 2018 PLUS an additional new 12 UFOs.

I think it's important as we work on those UFOs to evaluate why it became a UFO. If this became a UFO for a specific reason, perhaps that reason will cause another project to become another UFO. Let's say, you don't like applique and that's why you stopped working on the project. Then I'm pretty sure that if you come across another applique project that that project has a high likelihood of becoming a UFO as well. Perhaps it would be best to NOT start another applique project.

I was thinking of that yesterday as I was working away. NO - I didn't get any quilting done. I had a couple of interruptions and well, I just didn't get to it. BUT I did get two of those small tops done for the magazine. They are done and waiting to be quilted.

And then I thought I had better plunge right in because the end of the year is fast approaching. YES -- I finally got ONE of the Amish quilts done! The top anyway! Why did this become a UFO? It's huge, it had applique and it wasn't a priority.

Amish with a Twist I  - Top is done!
 This was a project that Joann at Cockadoodle Quilts ran as a block of the month. She even had these cute little labels made for us. Notice the date - April 2013. That's not bad - four years!

Label for Amish with a Twist
 Actually, it was a label for our kit bag - it's a plastic laminated one so can't be used as a label on the quilt. But I intend to transfer that to fabric and use it on the label. Sadly, Joann and Cockadoodle are gone. Miss that store - we had a lot of fun there! And the store closed half way through the block of the month and thanks to Marlene, who got us geared up, we were able to get the remainder of the missing fabrics to finish the quilt. And the top is DONE, DONE, DONE!!!!!

But that's wasn't just the end of the process. Oh no - I had to make binding and lots of it because the quilt is huge. By the way, this quilt measures 88 by 104. That's TEN strips of fabric for the binding! Not only did it have the binding, but this quilt has piping in the binding. I know that I didn't have to make the piping, but I figure, what the heck - I might as well. I've never done it before. Besides, that is why I went to Fabricland the previous day - to get 25 meters of piping cord.

Piping is made!
 And yes - I had to make piping to fit in TEN strips of fabric - that was a lot of piping.

Amish with a Twist top with piping, binding and a fusible Amish buggy for the back
 I'm waiting for something very cool for the backing so I can't consider it completely done, but as much as is going to happen for the moment.

In case you're wondering what piping looks like in the binding, here's a sample. It's not finished. I hope to give it a whirl on a smaller project.

Piping in the binding
 Speaking of binding, I had better get a move on for those three remaining construction quilts. I got one more binding done this morning.

Construction quilt - DONE
 That makes two construction quilts completely done and two more that need about a half hour each. I do have a couple of errands today, but I could potentially get out of them and keep my head down and focused today. Yes, I know that sewing and quilting are supposed to be fun and that I need to do other things. Honestly, if I wasn't quilting, I have no idea what I would do. I can't read all day. I can't do puzzles all day - I would be bored out of my mind. So sewing keeps me busy and happy.

Although I did work on that list of UFOs yesterday and made good progress, I can't cross anything off the list as these are part of MULTIPLE quilts in the list, so I have to be completely finished the multiple items before they get crossed off!  Stupid me to have done that!!!!

I'm just super excited as the new year looms ahead - how can I tackle this mess and get it under control? The big thing will be to NOT start anything new that I have no intention of finishing! I'm thinking of all sorts of plans and ideas and I'm going to outline them on New Year's Day or maybe New Year's Eve. Depending on when I can remember!

So this is what remains of my 2017 UFO projects. Plus the two construction quilts. I - well - let's just see what happens. I can't get them all done, but I will do what I can!

UFOs from 2017 that are not completed
The other day I was at the grocery store to get stocked up. I was in the water aisle and remembered that I was getting low on distilled water for my iron. So I stocked up on water. The lady at the cash asked what I was doing with all that water and I said it was going to be used in my iron! She probably thought I was one of those kooks who irons underwear and sheets. Not in this house!

Distilled water stocked up
 I go through that darn stuff pretty quickly - well, this will last a couple of months!

I'm not a big user of pins, but I was pinning like crazy yesterday. Almost everything I worked on required me to use pins - joining strips for borders, bindings or piping or adding borders to quilts. All fiddly stuff. I like to keep one pin cushion on the cutting table where I do the pinning and the other one is by the sewing machine where I put the pins when I'm sewing. As one empties, I swap them. It works for me!

Two pincushions are very useful!

Oh yes - I should say that in 24 hours and ONE minute, I received the e-mail from Apple with the link to reset the password. What's with that? Most other places, you get the reset password e-mail in minutes.  I've no idea and we didn't get the e-mail that will allow me to get rid of that old e-mail address. I'm going to try and figure that out today. Maybe!

On that note, I'm out of here. My most productive time is early in the morning. I'm trying to decide if I should take the girls out. I'll wait until it's minus 10 - it's minus 14 right now. A wee bit cool for me, not them!

Have a great day!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Quilting up a storm!

So while I'm not addicted to the computer and my technology tools, there are times when I feel like I'm addicted to my sewing machine! Obsessed with sewing? I suppose although I do squeeze in time for reading and other things.

It wasn't a super productive day yesterday for a number of reasons. Lexi mentioned one of them on her blog this morning. We have company now for the next couple of weeks but that's OK. The company is pretty self-sufficient, although there are a few things around here that I want her to sort through so I'll be cracking the whip on that one! Otherwise, what doesn't get looked at will get tossed. I'm on a tear to rid this house of all clutter.

I'm not sure what's happening with the quilting. I'm not the most dedicated person to the long arm, but this past week, I'm on fire. Stuff that has been sitting there for a while and I want to get it cleaned up. Like I said, getting laid off at this time of year has been a godsend! I want to finish the customer quilts, then I've two bunches of charity quilts that need to be done and then guess what - all that will be left are MINE! I'm going to be back doing customer quilts but I won't have openings until February or March as my long arm is going in for an overhaul in January and I might need some time to get it back together when it comes back.

BUT - there are a couple of issues that have come up with the last couple of quilts and I'm sharing them with you so that you can be aware and NOT make these mistakes when you take a quilt to your long arm quilter.

Here is the second to last of the Ronald McDonald quilts!

Community project quilt - DONE
 Here's the last one!
Community project quilt - DONE
 Just one wee problem with this one. There are THREE blocks with 3-D flying geese. While they are nice, how the heck do you quilt them? And on a long arm?

I ended up marking all the spots on my pattern where there was going to be an issue. Then I operated the long arm with ONE HAND (I could use a wee bit more practice on that) and used the other hand to smooth out the 3-D bits so they didn't flip! Yes - I had to lean over the machine in order to do that. Not ideal and if it were a customer quilt - well, I just wouldn't do it!

Quilting over the 3-D bits
 If you're planning on having your quilt long arm quilted, I would highly suggest that you do NOT include any 3-D elements. NONE, not even that cute flange in the border. NO 3-D bits for the long arm quilts. However, if you're using a machine that has a computer on it, this would be an opportunity to let the machine do the work and you could be on the other side of the machine smoothing out those 3-D bits. Still - wouldn't be something I'd recommend. Also, if you're going to donate blocks for whatever reason especially to a charity, the chances of those quilts being long arm quilted is high. DO NOT make blocks with 3-D elements in them.

I also pieced a small quilt destined for a magazine and it got quilted. It's super cute and I'm very happy with the concept of it. It's going into a trade magazine, but hopefully, I'll find a way to share it with you or you can see it through your local shop, as they'll be able to share the pattern/quilts with you.

The second of those four small quilts for the trade magazine is also pieced and I hope to get the third one pieced today and get both of those tops quilted today!  That will leave one small one to do and then three larger ones for the retail magazines.

I've had a box of quilt tops and batting for one customer for a while and it's time to get those quilts done! I loaded the first one yesterday morning. That was a wee bit of a challenge as the back wasn't the straightest and there wasn't very much extra backing that I could trim it straight. But after some messing around and having to join the batting, I got it loaded.

Customer quilt - DONE

See what I mean?  There was ZERO extra on that backing! 

Zero extra backing
 Nice fabric choice though - a bicycle collection that I've never seen.

Bike fabric collection
 All these quilts belong to one customer. Time to get them all done!

Quilts for one customer
 Well, all those belong to the customer except the bottom one which is for my Mom.  The next top (which had loads of backing) is loaded on the long arm and ready to be quilted today!

I've been piecing lots of batting and I was running short of interfacing that I use to join the pieces. And I needed some cording to finish off one of my UFOs for this year. I had been to the local Fabricland the day before, but it's moving to a new location and has now closed until they open in the new location. I hopped in the car and went to the next closest one. I went shopping like I had blinders on. I didn't look at any thread, no trims, no fabric - I just got the two things that I went for. I searched my wallet for my loyalty card and it wasn't there?  I did look briefly at the pattern books and saw one cute thing. But since I didn't have my card, I wasn't paying full price. Oh shoot when I got to the cash, I saw that patterns were $5.00.  I told myself NO and I paid and left. Less than $10!!  On the way home, I thought about where that card could be. Arrived home and found it right away!

Pointy things that need to be turned upside down
I need some advice - I'm using this sewing machine caddy thing to try and keep my tools organized. I only use three things - my snips, my seam ripper and my quilter's awl. All three are pointy, making them hard to insert with the point down so all the points are pointing up! I know one of the Monday ladies used some kind of a long plastic container that she inserted in those pockets. Any ideas on what to use for that container?

I'm still not liking this new keyboard. It's still very sticky and I just had to give it a good whack as the caps lock wasn't working properly. Here's a very bizarre situation and this is why we have young people around. I miss having my young person around! I hadn't cracked open that iPad Pro so of course, M was all eyes when we talked about it. She said she would get it set up. That's perfect. But that meant that I had to remember my Apple ID.  No clue and no idea what the password was either. Tried various e-mail addresses and got the Apple ID, but no clue on the password. Tried to set up a new account and that wasn't going to happen as well as my other e-mail was associated with the old account. After a call to Apple Support, I have to wait TWENTY FOUR hours for them to send me an e-mail with the information on how to recover my password and to reset the old account to reflect the new e-mail address. TWENTY FOUR hours?  Seriously????   That's just crazy!  Oh well - the kid is here to fix it up for me. Thanks M!

On that note, I'm out of here. I've a lot that I want to get accomplished before the end of the year - I refuse to tally my UFO projects until New Year's Day! There's still hope that a couple more will get done!

Have a great day!!!


Don't forget that there is another QUILTsocial post today.   This one has some great tips on pressing seams.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Time to reveal my new toy that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I did have the use of this toy while I was working. For those who know me, this pains me greatly to admit that I bought an iPad. Not just an iPad, but an iPad Pro. I'm going to blame it all on my friends. I was very hesitant to buy the iPad Pro and then what size of a screen to buy? I started off with the small one, but after consulting with a few people, I took it back (hadn't even cracked open the box yet) and got the big one. You know how it is - Go BIG or go home. I decided to go big!

iPad Pro - new toy for me

So why did I buy an iPad? I plan on doing some cool design work when my long arm becomes computerized. This purchase is all thanks to Marilyn BTW - it's all her fault. Helen Anne just clinched the size issue for me! I also want to consider myself moving into the 21st century and I like having manuals on the iPad. It's convenient (no danger of losing them) and easy to flip the pages. Oh my god - I can't believe I just said that!

And I feel it was a parting gift from my ex-employer. I used the money I received from days owed to me, including vacation and lieu days for the remainder of the year to buy it. Thanks, ex-employer - I love my parting gift! And all those extra hours made it so worth it. I bought a case for it, but I have to confess that it's still in the box! Now here's the thing - even though I called it a toy, I didn't buy the iPad as a toy. I bought it as a tool! I'll be getting it set up later today as I'm going to need it as a tool for the other "toy" that I opened up yesterday. The one that I can't share with you yet!

In light of the iPad story, I thought it was time to share with you that book I was reading about how addicting technology can be. I want to prove that I'm NOT addicted to technology. Oh trust me, I know all about addictive behaviors with computers. I remember playing Tetris so much that I could see those little brick shapes falling when I closed my eyes. And one Christmas holiday many years ago, I played computer games non-stop for days. My neck was so sore that I could no longer hold my head up without major pain! I was slouched in my chair with my head resting on the top of the chair and popping muscle relaxants.  Oh yes - I know about computer addiction which is why I choose to NOT use my devices as games! They are TOOLS!

So here's the book - Irresistible by Adam Alter.

Irresistible by Adam Alter

I must have had a very good social studies teacher when I was in Grade 6 or 7. I remember we went through the entire psychology of what makes people buy. That was years ago and for some reason, that lesson has stuck in my head. That's what makes me so skeptical of everything as well!

It was interesting to read Adam's take on the whole business of addictive technology. A couple of things to note - the inventors of this techie tools NEVER allowed their children to play on the devices - like the iPhone and the iPad. Steven Jobs would NOT allow his children near them because he knew they were addictive!  Technically it's not the device that is addictive, but the apps and functionality of it all.

I think if I could sum it up in one paragraph - it's that ALL these developers have GAMIFIED whatever they put out there. They've made it fun, they've made it measurable and they've made sure that all the blips, whistles and whatever else that will fill our needs are included in those apps. That addictive stuff is INTENTIONALLY put in those apps. They want you to become addicted to them. Even something as simple as Facebook. How many shares? How many likes? did each of your posts get. If you post a more outrageous picture, it might get more. What about trying to make a viral video? What about click bait? Can't resist checking out that cleverly worded headline to make you dive in to see what's happened. Play a game? Can you beat your score? Can you get on the leaderboard?

I think the most outrageous thing I read in the book was about the app that had Kim K's name attached to it. I cringe whenever I hear that name or any of the other family members. We are a society of sheep that allows them to become rich and famous for doing NOTHING! Anyway, this game app allowed you to increase your "star status". At the beginning, it's free to play the game, but if you want to increase your star status, you have to cough up money.  And so as a result, society has added MILLIONS of dollars to the K coffers. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing ever?  Blows my mind, to say the least!

And why do people get addicted? It's easier to have a "relationship" with the device than it is to have a face to face conversation with someone. People get lonely, people get bored and they get addicted. It's very sad but true. I like all those apps - Facebook, Instagram, but I'm not addicted to them. God - I I can't even remember to go on Instagram because I'm busy reading a book or sewing or walking or whatever.

While I LOVE my technology, I'm in no way addicted to it. There are some days when I don't check e-mail, I rarely get texts and sometimes it takes me hours to answer it. I play ONE game on my phone - Scrabble which is hard to be addictive unless you have mega multiple games going. I try to play one turn in each game a day. Sometimes two if I'm (or my opponents) are lucky!

Children under two - absolutely NO to any screen. They need to learn social skills because if they don't learn these skills before two, they will have a very hard time to learn them later. They become good at technology but people skills are non-existent. It drives me crazy when I see kids watching a video on their screens in the car in the city. Isn't that the best time to talk to your kid?

Anyway - that's my soapbox story for today. I'm going to crack open that iPad and get it set up for what I need it for today.

As for quilting stuff, I had another amazing day yesterday which I'll share with you tomorrow. Company just came through the door and I have to run.

Have a super day!!!!


Oh yes - check out QUILTsocial today. Tips for cutting fabric!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Clean up in Row H

Before I get to what I've been up to, I have to share this story because it's so funny. A couple of years ago, we started to go to the movies on Christmas Day. Why not? A couple of weeks ago, we decided the movie would be Star Wars and as a treat, we booked seats at the VIP theatre. Oh - let me rephrase that - it was DH's job to book the tickets. I remember him telling me, "I booked them and printed them right on my phone".  Before leaving yesterday, he hands me the tickets and I threw them in my purse.

We arrive at the theatre in plenty of time to order a drink and order our food which we would have delivered to our seats. Ah - nice and relaxing. Nothing like popcorn and a beer while you watch the trailers and just enjoy the nice seating.

I did think that the lounge was a tad quiet for a nearly sold-out movie that started in 40 minutes.

I handed the tickets to our server so he could take note of the seats to arrange delivery of the food. "AH - excuse me folks - but these are AVX tickets, NOT VIP. AVX is on the opposite side of the theatre." WHAT???  Can we switch theatres?"  DH goes to the desk and finds out that there is a 4 PM showing of Star Wars in the VIP theatre - it's now about 4:05. Yep - we should be good. Can the food be delivered? Yep - we should be good there too.  However the best-laid plans - it took forever for the tickets to be switched. And I should have gone and claimed our seats when we realized we could switch. Some codes had been changed in the system and didn't like what we were doing.

We arrived at our seats - that would be Row H, Seats 1 and 2 (on the right). The movie had already started and the theatre was pitch black. Remember this is Star Wars - it's a dark movie! Couldn't see a thing, but the moment I moved into the seats (thankfully we were by ourselves on the side row), I felt something fall over. OH NO - that would be my popcorn! The manager had assured us that they would NOT drop the food at the seats if we weren't there. Well guess what - they did! DH didn't even realize he had knocked his popcorn over and was grumbling that there was popcorn in his seat! 

The server comes with our HOT food - yep - we ordered that as well. So I had a wrap and a salad and NO IDEA what it looked like. Did I have a fork? DH had both of them. Oh - they put the dressing on the side. Yum - yum as I dipped my fingers into that! Now I know how a blind person must feel when they are served food. You need someone to tell you what is where or you have to feel it all up!

I don't think the server was too happy about several things. First that we dumped the popcorn on the floor and secondly that she had to bring us the food in the dark! I'm sure the people behind us weren't too happy either and I'm sorry for that!

Let's just say that when the lights came on - it was a mess!!!  There was popcorn all over the place. Our dirty dishes were on the floor. Thankfully I didn't drop my beer out of the cupholder. Oh no - I felt for that darn cupholder ever time I placed the bottle down!

There is a lesson to be learned here. Several lessons actually, but the most important one - CHECK the damn tickets. I think DH is going blind and he can't see the small print like on his phone!

It was a bit disconcerting to arrive a few minutes into the movie starting - oh yes - it's 3-D so where the heck are the stupid glasses, your food arrives in the dark - it took me about 10 minutes to get settled.

Let's just say - it was good for a laugh after the fact!

So that's my funny Christmas story! Now let's get into what happened the day before Christmas. I told you I was motivated and I'm going to get this all done even if it kills me!  Here's what happened.

I want to get those last few quilts done for the Ronald McDonald project - so I got myself organized. Here's the first one for the day.

Community project quilt - DONE

Community project quilt Number 2 - DONE
Community project quilt - Number 3 - DONE
On a roll here - might as well keep going. And so I got ONE more done for the day.
So yes - I got three more of the quilts done. That makes seven done and only TWO left. I had to make backings and piece batting. The backings are all together and the pieces for the last batting are set aside. The second to last quilt is loaded on the long arm and it will be done today! That leaves one small one as you can see below and my goal is to get that done today as well. 

One community project quilt left on the rack

So Jane --- better get ready for a big binding day!!!  I think some people went a little overboard with the sizes. The quilts were supposed to be 3 blocks by 4 or 4 blocks by 6 and yet some of these are a wee bit bigger than that. No worries - this batch is almost done and I know how to say NO now!!!  

But let's not just do one thing at a time. I can multi-task and I tell you that I'm on a roll here. I fired up the embroidery machine as well.  Look what happened......................

Halloween blocks are DONE

Yes -- ALL the blocks for the Halloween quilt are done!!!  All twenty-five of them. I did three of them on the day before Christmas and I completed the last two yesterday. I was determined and so at 5 AM, I got the second to last block started. 

Close up of two of the blocks done yesterday
Now you notice there is also a green block at the bottom. What's with that? That would be the sashing! Yes - there are a couple of options for the sashing or borders. I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to do, but if I need sashing, I need a LOT. I can stitch three of them in the hoop at one time. And there is only ONE thread color so that makes them somewhat easy!
Sashings for the Halloween quilt
All these blocks and sashing have a product underneath them called battilizer. It's a thin batting but helps to stabilize all those stitches. As I was using a big piece for the sashings, I remembered that we used this product for a rug project a couple of years ago. I still have the bag of scraps and sure enough - found that within seconds. I might have to join a few pieces, but I can easier use this up for the sashings. 

Scraps of battilizer
Between the long arm and the embroidery machine, I was using up spools of thread and bobbin thread like crazy!! And getting in a ton of Fitbit steps as the machines are in opposite corners of the studio. 

But that's not all!  I managed to get ALL the applique done for the Amish With a Twist. OH MY GOD - that's huge! It's not my best applique job, but it's done and that's all I care about at this point. 

Applique borders for Amish With a T
Sometimes the embroidery machine doesn't like to finish off the spool of bobbin thread so I save them and they were perfect to use on the other machine for applique. 
Empty bobbin and full bobbin of pre-wound bobbins
I love having two machines going at the same time, but in future when I've got huge embroidery jobs, I prefer to NOT sit right beside the machine - it's noisy. I'm going to have to get earplugs or something. 

When I sat down to piece the backings for those two community project quilts, I thought it funny that the needle wasn't quite as dead center as I thought it should be. No worries - it didn't break.  BUT when I went to do the applique and had a much different foot on the machine, I noticed that the needle was rather bent. How the heck did that happen? 

Bent needle
It's hard to tell in the photo, but trust me - it's bent!

When I had a wee bit of downtime, I was trimming half square triangles. I'm almost done with this set of green and white ones.  What to make? what to make? A mini quilt of some kind to be sure!

Trimming half square triangles

Whew, wasn't that exhausting!  I was so happy to get some of those ugly jobs done! They've been hanging around forever. Now the big thing is - can I actually get those borders on before the end of the year? And how many of the remaining projects can be done? There are SIX days left. Six days when I don't have any commitments per se.  Let's forge ahead!

Oh - I should mention that I had to write some QUILTsocial blog posts that were out of my normal schedule. I forgot to post the links yesterday.  Here are the first two.

QUILTsocial - Monday   - All about Northcott basics

QUILTsocial - Tuesday  - working with digital "fabrics" to design quilts

On that note, I have two very impatient girls who are demanding to go for their walk!

Have a super day!!!