Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 49 (?) Really?? How time flies

So - it's Jan 31.... 49 days into my 60th year

Searching for joy and doing fairly well!  It's been a little touch and go the last couple of weeks (hence my absence) but nothing major to complain about..

I've been really busy with my quilting and crocheting projects..  I'll tackle the yarn things in a post tomorrow...

But the quilting....  I pledged last year to begin to FINISH projects.. and I did.  And I learned more and more and am even more determined to continue the 'finishing' journey this year.

My focus this year is three-fold:
              #1: to continue work on (and finish!) projects left over from 2007-8 when I first started quilting.
               #2.  To continue learning from classes, from the internet, from books... wherever I can... (to work on and to finish!)
               #3.  To sort, organize, play with - USE - my fabric..... particularly scraps.
               #4 To make quilts as gifts...  I've been doing a little of that but am having so much fun that I want to continue.

So - for January..
  starting with #3 and the scraps:
      I focused on the color blue - thanks to inspiration from the So Scrappy blog ( )  Last year I had begun to separate scraps as I worked into a little chest with 3 drawers - 1-inch, 2-inch & 2.5-inch pieces, a tub with 3-4-inch, and a tub with 4+inch size pieces....    Soooo.... I went in the little plastic chest and pulled out the blue scraps and put them in 3 sandwich bags of the appropriate size.  I pulled the larger pieces and put them in a larger bag [and put the whole bit into a larger yet bag!]
    So I had a bag of BLUE to play with and have been collecting scrappy ideas all month!

          I started with the larger pieces, cutting out the appropriate size pieces for some Sunbonnet Sue and calico cat blocks.  I have set those aside (in their project bags with instructions :-) to work on later.

     On the SO Scrappy blog, they are doing a color sampler quilt with stars and I thought that was cool... but sort of got bogged down in the learning part of the 6-inch centers.... so - rather than get stalled and/or give up completely.. I decided to take a 12.5-inch star block (with a 6-inch center) and do a simple 9-patch  in the center.  I used 4-inch random blue pieces for the star points and 2.5-inch squares for the center 9 patches.

I found a picture of a quilt with color blocks and decided to do my own version with 3-inch squares..

I found a picture of a potholder that used 2-inch squares and decided to make the tops for those as a potential Christmas idea

I got hooked on the 2.5-inch blocks and decided to make an 8X8 block to do something with later.

And, finally - I have a book of ideas that use 1-inch pieces to make log cabin blocks with and decided to play.

They are all seasonal wall hangings or table toppers and should keep me busy all year.  The Easter one starts out with 35 light blue blocks and the 4th of July needs 4 dark blue....  I made a list and will work on each season as I move through the year...

That is the scraps - I kept with the blue theme though and cut out a quilt I've been wanting to make (Constellation quilt by Kitchen Table Quilting ).  So those pieces are now in a project bag waiting in line.   I started working on a quilt top I purchased from Christa Quilts called Sea of Squares  This is a quilt along but I bought the materials from her and they are BLUE.  I am using it as a leader-ender project and it's moving along..

#4 - gifts:
   First off - I'm collecting scrappy gift ideas (like the potholders) for Christmas and will be working on those as I go through the colors....  I like the idea of starting the Christmas gift projects NOW.
    Second - a little book called Gabby Quilts with Friends by Michael McCormick inspired me to make quilts for my grandgirls....  I finished the tops this month.

One of my girls loves blue - and one loves pink..

I've decided to make another 'book' quilt for the backing and add pockets for the books on both sides.. so stay tuned!

And another gift quilt I saw on Kitchen Table Quilting - Cloudy Day Quilt.  There wasn't a pattern so I chose the fabrics and went on my merry way.  I guess this is part learning goal too because I had to re-design it for myself.  Anyway - I made all the triangle blocks this month and the solid blocks cut out.  Now I need to get with the recipient to determine the layout she likes best!

And today I started 2 BLUE snowflake dresses for the grandgirls....  I also have pink fairy fabric so I will do those dresses at the same time..

Let's see... #2 - learning - I have been taking a class on an Underground Railroad quilt using the book by Eleanor Burns.  I finished the blocks from the book and am working on some specialty blocks now - I think I have 3 more blocks to finish and then, of course, assembly and all the finishing work!

    Oops - new projects......   I can't help myself!  A BOM from Pat Sloan with a vacation focus... and a new elephant on parade BOM that starts in February....  but with a new grand on the way, I have an excuse to make a quilt with little elephants on it, right?

And #1 -
     from the 'really old' projects... I have 2 really messy tops I completed in 2008 - a pink & green sampler and a very blue and white sparkly snowball quilt.  Very early learning so really crude attempts!  BUT... they are squared... and backing is ready.  These two (and a sandcastle top I made last summer) are ready to be 'sandwiched' and put in the line-up for actual quilting.

      From a class in 2013 - my Irish chain blocks (dragonflies in the pond) are assembled!

   Still need borders but I love how the blocks went together!

    From last year - 2 quilts that were pieced and  'sandwiched' - my yellow brick road (gold with red poppies) and sea star (large star of sea fabrics on a sand background).  I quilted them enough to bind.  At this point they need the binding finished, more quilting and a label.  So they are in a pile of now 3 for this part of the process.

Wow!!   Busy month!  I might need to make more than one blog post next month if I keep this up!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 28.. Jan 10 in my head

what a day!!

I planned to get up and do a few bills and start to quilt one of my projects....  and also to take the photos & measurements necessary to enter a challenge with an exercise I have dvds for and haven't utilized well yet....

No problem with the measurements - I don't like them but that is normal.  What shocked me though was my reaction to the photo taking [mind you, NOT the photo LOOKing]

Just standing and allowing the camera to record my body.


I was in tears by the time I was done.


After a while I uploaded the pix and sent in the paperwork.... and that was fine.... but the actually standing in front of the camera.  I have no idea what that is all about but I will not allow that to stop me.

Grumpy but fighting it the rest of the day....   i did put in one of the dvds.... made it a little while - not long....  but I tried anyway

I did get a bill or two handled

I did work on my quilt

I did catch up on laundry and do my usual kind of chores

and I am doing something different tonight - and meeting up with some folks who want to learn to crochet.  Out of my comfort zone (the peeps, not the crochet....) so a good thing for me to do.... and there will be joy

if only in knowing that I did what I set out to do and didn't let nerves

or misplaced emotions

deter me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 26... Searching for Sparkle

Today was one of my days at home... which I love....

I love getting chores out of my way...
I got a head start on taking down Christmas (I never start until after January 6 - Epiphany)..
I got the weekly laundry loads done (sheets and linens changed out)
I walked 1.5 miles - not bad for the cold day
I did some pantry and meal prep for the week ahead
I worked on my crafts..... putting borders on 4 quilt tops in order to buy the backings today and get moving on finishing them up.

AND I saw a fantastic brilliant orange moon casting a net on the river...

But somehow the day didn't have sparkle.

Do you ever have days like that?

Days that go well but somehow don't sparkle like you think they should?

Days that make you take a big dissatisfied breath  <sigh> and long for tomorrow?

Yep, it's natural.....  but not too often.

I decided to go to bed early.... read my book..... and take this up again tomorrow.

It really was a good day.

But a disgruntled me - and THAT is my job to fix.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 25..... Jan 5... How time flies!

Where do the days go??

I know that part of my lapse here is not that I am not seeking JOY... but that I have been involved in other pursuits.  I've been working on a set of reflections on the 12 Days of Christmas for my prayer blog (and of COURSE, I am writing them ongoing instead of in advance!) - so that has sucked up a little time from my sharing JOY with you.

And I am working on other more typical January activities (for me!)

In January I work on NOT spending... so it's time to see what is lurking in the corners of the pantry and figure out how to use it up.  (made some beef barley soup last night - and searched out some possibilities for both giant dried corn (aka dried hominy) and lentils (why did I buy them anyway?)  Needless to say there are several questionable purchases that are not getting any younger and I need to figure out ways to use them in meals.

AND then there are my craft projects...  I LOVE to go through my supplies and set up projects for the year.  Usually it's yarn.... but this year I really have learned enough about quilting that I have worked up quite a stash of scraps to use up... and have a pile of quilt tops in various stages of completion... might be worth a blog post about them one day.  I get a lot of JOY out of my crafting but I have to be careful not to overburden myself.  My brain sparkle with ideas... and I have to be careful not to line up too much or I can be my own worst enemy.

It's a Monday morning - and I must go into town.  I will be helping a friend set her business up on Quickbooks... something I am knowledgeable with but HATE!  It's not hard but it is BORING... a good exercise for me.. but not a fun one :-(   I will find JOY at each stage of completion though, I can honestly say that!

And a ton of JOY over the weekend as I set up a plan for quilting for the year.  I don't have much of a crochet plan - a few hats I've promised others - and FINISHING!  I've spent the last couple of years using up yarn - making just a tiny dent in my supply.... but I have squares and squares that need to become blankets..   After that, I don't know yet...

I will be setting up a page here soon with things I want to do.... and hopefully use 2015 to do some of them!   A dream page.  I do love to dream but am at a weird place in my life... where I am trying to figure out what some of those dreams actually are!  Do you ever do that??

Where you think you want something... and then your life changes and what you wanted so badly doesn't quite any more?   That is where I am.....  and it's kind of a fun place.. because it has opened my eyes to possibilities...

I am watchful for classes and opportunities that come my way... and I take the idea and turn it over and over in my mind until I decide if I want to try it or not...

One such.. at the moment... is a local class on growing your tomatoes from seed....  3 sessions.. and for the life of me I can't figure out why so many.  All I've ever done is stick the plants in the ground and let God take over....  but it is intriguing to me to find out more (and I WILL walk away from session 3 armed with my heirloom tomatoes for the season... so then there is that)   Anyway....  life is intriguing....

and on I go...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 19 Happy New Year!!


I love starting new things on my mid-December birthday so I have a couple of holiday weeks as a reality check before starting new projects gung ho!

I did two things consistently:
     I set myself a goal of logging my walked miles (55.5 miles)
     I decided to write a '12 Day of Christmas' devotional.

I can say today that I have completed the mile logging AND am close to finishing the devotional..

So, it's fair to add to my plate!

For January:
     30 min exercise daily - Log Miles (2 miles = 30 minutes)
     daily green smoothie
      write daily (blog, reflection, manage Children's Liturgy)
      experiment with raw meals

there's more... in my excitement....

but I need to make FIND JOY be at the TOP of the list!!

The last few days I have been sick....
    still plugging along...

but there has been JOY
     in beautiful sunrises
         in quilt blocks that are actually going together well
              in a soup that was absolutely perfect....
                    in a dog curled up beside me snoring softly

May I never be so absorbed in projects and To Do lists that I forget the truly important things

that bring JOY.