Something good from COVID-19?

Something seems wrong about the title of this post. How could anything good come from the ongoing pandemic?

Even though I didn’t have extra time during the lockdown, for some reason, I have had tons of time this summer. Part of this is because of the new paradigm that I initiated in 2019, where I am using blocks of time to accomplish my goals. Part of it is because of the many gatherings that have been canceled and part is because our usual overseas travels have been curtailed!!

Because of this extra time, I have been able to finish many of my ongoing projects and am ready to try some different techniques and just do a little bit of playing!! So on Saturday, my goal was to look for inspiration…..

……for future projects, especially thinking to expand my knowledge of drawing, painting, and surface design.

But first, I wanted to get my studio cleaned up again, including cleaning and oiling my machine…..

It looks SO clean!!!

When Kaitlyn and I were both sewing a few weeks back, I had put up my Viking and enjoyed having both machines up. But, once I took the machine down it seemed like a nice area to leave open for other tasks… inspiration planning…..

The first thing that I did was watch a video that I bought many years ago featuring Jane LaFazio and her ideas about drawing, watercolor and keeping a journal……

This video ALWAYS inspires me and encourages me to start trying some drawing….something that I don’t really believe I can do.

I pulled out my art supply box and was pleased to see that I have all of the tools that she talks about, plus a few others…..

So starting on Monday, I am going to try to draw something at least 3 times each week.

I decided to do a quick run around the yard to get ideas of things that I could sketch and ran into some pretty butterflies along the way…..

Next I pulled out a stack of books about art quilts and design techniques, found a comfortable chair and started working thru them one by one. There were two that stood out to me….

“Art Quilt Workbook” contains exercises that might help to get me thinking in a different way, and “Fabric Art Workshop” has lots of surface design ideas. I am thinking that I may try to do some of these exercises as well.

BUT, all of these are designed for making Art Quilts and honestly, I don’t see myself as an art quilter. However, I am sure that trying new techniques will give ideas for future projects.

Finally, I remembered a book that I bought at a Quilt Show some years ago…..

The idea behind this book is to first layer and stitch a lot of textures onto a background piece that is only in whites and creams. Then you paint over the texture that you have developed and add the featured designs on the top. This sounds really interesting and something very different to anything that I have ever done.

So, I am planning to make this quilt……

I really don’t like copying designs that someone else has already done but I will follow the instructions for this quilt and use it to learn this technique.

The final thing that I thought thru was whether or not I needed to make more quilts that weren’t necessarily meaningful to me. What will I do with any new found inspirations? Do I want to put them on ETSY and see if I can sell them? Maybe put them in the member’s boutique at the next guild quilt show?

Or maybe it is okay to just make art pieces without having a reason? Can that be right? It sure doesn’t fit with the way I think but it seems that this may be a good time to take a chance and change that thinking!!!

Summer 2020….week 1 review

Well, the first official week of my summer has passed and I am happy to look back and see all that was accomplished!!

On Tuesday, Michael and I visited a local Art Gallery (Lyndon House) and enjoyed seeing their 45th Annual Juried Show. We enjoyed many of the pieces and I particularly enjoyed seeing works by some of my friends.

from local quilt artist…..Elizabeth Barton
“Girl in Yellow Hat” by guild member, Terri J. (One of my favorites ever!!)
“Razzle Dazzle Maze” by guild member, Diane K.
“Circular Intersections” by guild member, Charles N.

After touring the gallery, we headed to our favorite restaurant and enjoyed seafood on the deck…..

This week I also switched over to my summer decorations……

These pretties were purchased in Australia!!

I had two friends over for lunch one day and Michael and I had another couple over for dinner on Saturday.

BUT….the most enjoyable thing of the week was my cooking segment!! I was looking thru recipes trying to find something new to make and came across a German Chocolate Cake recipe. It looked interesting so I decided to give it a go! It was complicated and dirtied almost every bowl and pot in the house, but the batter was beautiful….

….the icing was fun to make…..

….and the resulting cake was both beautiful AND oh so tasty……

I also spent some time in the studio and will post about that in the next day or so.

On Thursday night we had a gorgeous moon and I will leave you with that…..

On to week two……

What I did this Summer….a preview

For me there are five seasons each year….

  • Tax Season (January thru April)
  • Tax Season recovery (May)
  • Summer Fun (June thru August)
  • Travel Season (Sept thru mid-November)
  • Holiday Season (mid-November thru December)

For many years, the summer season was when we traveled but in the last few years more of the travel has moved to the autumn months meaning that Summer is MY FUN TIME!!!

As I got to this past weekend I was stressed knowing that June 1st was just around the corner and I didn’t have a plan yet!!! You see, I am a girl who LOVES a plan!!!

As Michael and I were walking on Sunday morning we were talking about my dilemma and the ideas started flowing. I started thinking about the things that I had missed so much in the last few “sheltering” months and decided that it was time to do something about it!!

I started off by making a list of friends to have over for coffee or lunch and then we added couples to have over for dinners. Since several of our favorite restaurants have opened back up, we also added going out for dinner at least once every two weeks……dinner IN a restaurant and NOT in our house!!

And speaking of food, I made Marinara sauce on Friday and REALLY enjoyed spending time in the kitchen….NOT a usual feeling for me. So, I added cooking a new dish each week.

Okay, that takes care of the social side of life….now let’s talk about the creative side. I am going to need some…..

One thing that I am really feeling is the need to get out of the house so I am going to visit some art galleries, museums, antique stores…..basically anything that is open right now!!!

I have recently pulled out the Color Wheel quilt and am starting to work on it again…..

It is a fun project but it takes a lot of thinking and planning and isn’t something that I can just pick up and whip out. So maybe I need to be working on two projects at one time… that is more creative and needs lots of thought and one that is super fast and easy. Since I have enjoyed piecing so much maybe I will aim for a Scrap Quilt. I hate to start a big one and then decide that I don’t like the pattern so maybe I will make a charity quilt in the design first…..just thinking out loud here!!

Finally, I need something to stretch my mind a bit. I love this quote…..

One of the local universities has several free online courses about creating websites. I have signed up for three of them and am already over halfway thru with the first one. My goal for the summer is to finish all three and hopefully use what I have learned to develop a website and strengthen this blog.

So now I have a basic plan for the summer and a more detailed plan for this first week. I am hoping that I can get to the end of August and happily look back on everything that I did last summer!! And if you are following this blog, you wont have to GUESS…..

….I will take you along for the ride.

And, in case you are worried, the year wont be devoid of travel. Covid permitting, Michael and I will spend 3 weeks in Mozambique in November!!! More good times to come.


It’s Accountability Time!!

As I have come to the end of January, I am looking back over my goals for the month and found that I did pretty well with them.

The first of my “Big Three” (I actually had FOUR) for the month was to finish all of my quilts for the show.  To that end, I finished “My Favorite Earrings” and finished the quilting on  “All Tatted Up”, although I haven’t blocked it yet.  Here  is the final corner and my VERY blue quilting gloves!!


I still have my hand-embroidery “wall” to finish so will see how that goes!!

Next was to get organized for tax season and I think that I did that very well.   My client letters were out a week earlier than normal and today I filed my first individual return for the year. 

Next of the BIG THREE was to write one blog post per week and I have written FIVE in January!!  Not to mention moving my blog over to Word Press which was a VERY simple process.  I was so impressed that I could migrate all of my posts from Blogger AND was even able to combine the series of blogs that I had written about trips so that it is all in ONE place.

On the creative side, I kept to my goal of spending at least 20 minutes in my studio, at least 6 days per week.  I maybe missed 2 days during the month.  It has been amazing to see how much I can accomplish in that short time!!

On a fun and recreation side, Michael and I scheduled 2 dates out for dinner.  Even though he was sick on one of those nights and we ended up getting Chinese and eating at home, I will count that as a goal finished!! 

On the health and fitness side, I did manage to hit the gym 4 or 5 times each week but did NOT lose any weight, even though one of the BIG THREE was to lose 2 pounds!!  

So, heading into February, my BIG THREE    FOUR are to:

  • Blog at least 1 time each week
  • Keep current with my accounting work
  • Keep up with my creative time
  • Lose those 2 pounds!!

This month will include a lot of Quilt Show stuff….Receiving is next week, Judging the week after that and 4 weeks from today is set-up day.   It will all be over before I know it!!

AND, my motto for the month is to “Love what I am doing….when I am doing!!!”

Onward and upward……