2019 in Review…..

Well, it is 7:00pm on the 31st, we have enjoyed our celebratory Dairy Queen Blizzards……

….so it is now one of my favorite times…..

On New’s Day, I wrote about a few of my goals for 2019, the first being to be fully engaged in two of the big events that were planned for the year….. out Guild quilt show followed quickly by Jenny and Kevin’s wedding…..and both event in the middle of a busy income tax season!!! To that end, my word for the Spring was “FOCUS”. And, I am happy to say that I got to May having fully enjoyed both events and being in even better shape with my work than I have been in many years!!!

My quilting goal was to do just that….find time for quilting and working to improve my free motion quilting and my ruler work. These were both accomplished with the final product being this quilt…..

As I worked on this goal, I wondered if I was getting any better, but when I was recently doing some quilting that had to be FAST, I found that I was able to do a better job with much less effort. That seems like a sign that I have improved some!!

I also had a goal to spend a few minutes every day doing something creative. Sometimes this was physically working on a quilt and sometimes it was simply sitting in my studio and thinking!!! But, the point is that I did it even during the busy times. Actually, I found that it was easier to do when I was super busy than it was when I had more time available!!!

This year I made three quilts for VERY special babies entering this world……

I finished “All Tatted Up”…..

….complete with a most unfortunately oil spot!!!

With the help of some very special friends, I finished “Vila do Conde Friendship Garden”……

The infamous “Christmas Pineapple” was at last finished and put into service during the month of December…….

I participated in two guild challenges this year. The first was “When I see a tree”……

…..followed by the Silhouette challenge…. “Dreaming of Sunsets”……

I took a class to start the process of becoming a NQA show judge but then decided that it wasn’t really for me. Instead, I started thinking about color and putting together another guild talk based on my thinking. But, then I got carried away with my Color Wheel quilt which is still very much a Work-In-Progress.

Finally, I put on my big-girl panties and tried my hand at a portrait quilt. It is also still in progress but I am hoping to get it finished this spring.

I also got to spend many fun hours with my sweet friend Claire and enjoyed working together to make a quilt for her mother, Liz……

Unfortunately, I am ending this year with one new UFO!! I started a challenge from my “Creative Eight’s Group” but just haven’t been able to see it thru……

I am doubtful that I will ever finish it, but if someone would like to, I will happily hand it over!!!!

On the blogging front, I am happy with my move to WordPress and pleased that I have been more consistent in posting blogs. As a result, I have made several new friends in the blogsphere!!!

Finally, Michael and I enjoyed a month in Italy, France and Switzerland, a week in hot West Texas and many adventures closer to home.

All in all, the year has been good and now I am fully ready for 2020…..

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Ready or not…2019 is here!!

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Some years we slowly coast into a new year with everything being same-old, same-old, but NOT this year.

The first four months of the year are going to be SUPER exciting!!!   Besides it being my uber-busy tax season, there are two fun events to look forward to.   The first is our Guild Quilt Show the first weekend in March and I am show chairman this year.   This is the 3rd time that I have acted as chairman or co-chairman and it is a super job to have. 

Then, just 4 weeks after the show, our daughter Jenny is getting married!!!   We are really looking forward to the event and are excitedly planning and organizing for the big day.  Even today I was working on prototype table decorations!!

Now the problem with having two fun events placed smack in the middle of a busy, busy work season is the possibility that I will get to the end of April and will not have been engaged in either event……they will have come and gone without my taking the time to notice.

SO, my goal for these first months is to simply “EMBRACE THE CRAZY”…..embrace-the-crazy-for-it-keeps-you-sane-5ca31

Now lets backtrack a bit to see how I came to this revelation….. it has been years since I have used a paper planner, having gone to digital a long time ago. 

But, while we were in China, I started listening to a podcast by Ruth Soukup of “Living Well, Spending Less”.   She talked about setting goals and putting the first things first and it started to resonate with me that I wasn’t doing that!!   She also has a planner that helps with goal setting and I decided to give it a try.  IMG_7488

It arrived in September and I  immediately started to use it and have found it to be a great addition to my life!!    The biggest help for me is learning  to do “block scheduling”……looking at the week as a whole and finding blocks of time that can be devoted to various tasks, both work and fun.

As I was thinking about my goals for 2019, I realized that I REALLY wanted to “up” my game with quilting.   This realization came after seeing the quilts at Houston and how, seemingly,  “perfect” they were.   SO, I have decided to block out a short time each morning to work on creative things with a specific plan to work on my machine quilting.   My goal is to add a lot of free-motion designs to my repertoire and then to work on my ruler work.

To help with this goal I have purchased a cheater cloth top from Spoonflower and have also asked our Guild Charity bee for a couple of tops that I can practice on.  

Now, I know that I have said before that I wanted to make time for creative pursuits  each morning but I have failed miserably!!  So I used Ruth’s suggestion and started my New Year’s resolutions in December and have been fairly consistent in getting to my studio for at least 20 minutes each day.

The trick will be for this to continue during the super hectic months to come but I feel sure that those few minutes each day will help to keep my sanity in tact.

So, I will end this post for now and wish you all a….49203507_10217718177684432_8114667508323057664_n

BRING IT ON…………

State of the Studio – 2018

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As the year is ending, I am once again reminded to look back at the year and see what happened in the studio.    My first thought was that I hadn’t accomplished a lot during the year, but as I worked thru it, I found that I had actually gotten a lot done!!  That is one of the many perks of writing this blog!!!   

First was “The Tiles of San Giovani”…..The Tiles of San Giovanni

….which took SEVEN months to finish!!   Of course, I did start over on it a couple of times!!!

Secondly was “Snowed Under”…..IMG_5449

….which only took about 4 days to make!!!

There were two Quilt-Of-Valor tops that were fun to make……IMG_5384

I didn’t get a final photo of this one but here it is before the borders were added……IMG_5447Probably the most fun that I had in the studio was working with friends who wanted to try a little quilting!!!   I continued to meet most weeks with 10 year old Claire and I encouraged her to “up her game” as the year progressed.   She started out making a small quilt for two of her brothers…..

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….followed  by one for her Mom and Dad…..IMG_5379

Next was a top that will be given to our Guild charity group to be made into a kid’s quilt for the Battered Women’s Shelter…..

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Th last part of the year was spent getting her 4-H Project ready to go.  She chose “Let’s Make A Quilt”!!!

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My final quilting project for the year was helping a special friend make a gift for her husband.   He had traveled to Angola earlier in the year and had brought back three very interesting fabrics.   We used two of those to put together this great quilt…..

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Ruth and I had fun working together and having “Sir Bo” (he calls me “Free-Free”) join us made it even more fun!!  Ruth sent a video of Austin opening it on Christmas day and his excitement just added to the fun!!

In these last few days I finished a small quilt made from a pattern that I bought at the Houston show.   For the last two years, Linda and I had visited the booth of Cynthia England and watched her demonstrate her freezer paper piecing technique.   She made it look SO easy and I wanted to try it for myself so I bought one of her cute patterns.    I used her technique for the first 4 or 5 sections and decided that it would be easier to piece it using traditional paper piecing.   Anyway, it is now finished and SOO cute….IMG_7404

And now it is on to 2019…..it is going to be a CRAZY ride!!!



State of the Studio – 2017

As 2017 winds down and we start gearing up for the new year, it is time to once again think about my studio time in the past year.

I was happy to start the year by finishing two previous year (or earlier)projects…..first “Pineapple Sherbert”…..IMG_2838 (2)

…..and then “Himilayan Hallows’”…..

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Both of these finishes were helped by the guild quilt show deadline!!!

Next came a special quilt for a very special little boy named Bo…..

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During the summer, I contributed my first quilt top to the Quilt’s Of Valor project…..IMG_3391

….and then had a marvelous time working with my Daughter-In-Law on her Tee-shirt quilt…..IMG_3731

….and with my friend Claire on her first quilt…..

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By the way, we have continued to meet once a week and Claire is getting really good with piecing.  She even got a sewing machine for Christmas…..

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and told me this morning that she has made two nine-patch blocks…..cant wait to see them!!!

The final finish of the year was also pushed along by a deadline….the Ombre challenge……

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I am happy to have this quilt hanging in my office for the next few months.

I am finally moving along well with the Roman Tiles quilt, leaving it here this afternoon…..IMG_4882

Hopefully it will be my first finish of 2018!!

Speaking of the new year, I have to say that we are REALLY ready for 2017 to be over.   It has been a long, hard year, punctuated with the various medical issues that Michael has had to deal with.  Looking toward 2018, we have pledged to each other to LIVE each and every day and to try not to waste our time worrying about what COULD happen in the future!! 

To that end, I have decided that my word for the year will be …..

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BRING IT ON!!!!

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The State of the Studio – 2016

Well, it is 10pm on New Year’s Eve so I guess that it is time to look back at my studio time for the year.  Unfortunately, it has been a bit slim this year!!

However, I did have a few finishes that I am proud of.   The first was for my friend Cathy who succumbed to cancer just a few days after she received the quilt……

Next was a baby quilt made for my Daughter’s good friend, Emily…..

Then there was the “Southern Thing” challenge…….

…..followed by the Sunflower applique…..

 ….and the final finish of the year was “No Fishing”…..

While not a quilt, I have one more finish that I am proud of for this year.  My husband Michael, is starting a new hobby in 2017…..building reproduction black-powder firearms….. and he needed a workbench.    We decided that we wanted to make it heavy-duty so that it could serve many purposes.  I had spent much of my childhood sitting in the garage watching my Dad build things so over the years I had learned a thing or two about construction.  So Michael put me in charge of design and production and he provided the muscle for the job.   And, it turned out great……

So, as we ready to head into 2017 there are lots of things running thru my mind …..

  –  will I get my Nepal quilt finished in time for the show???

  –  will I get my Queen Size pineapple quilted in time for the show???

  –  will I figure out the block placement for my Christmas Pineapple quilt???

  –  will I finish the Kaffe Fasset Needlepoint that I have been working on???

  –  will Michael be awarded the Fullbright fellowship which will mean that we be spending FOUR months in India in 2017??

  –  how will the new gun building hobby go???

  –   will I finish with digitizing all of our old photos???

  –  will I survive this year’s income tax season with my sanity intact???

But, most importantly, I am thinking of all of my friends and family and how they have been such special parts of my life in 2016!!!

I am truly looking forward to what 2017 brings…..

Time for the “State of the Studio” address…..

Well, I was getting ready to post a note about a new project that I just started, but realized that it was New Year’s Eve and I hadn’t yet written my “State of the Studio” address, also known as “what I did this year”.   So, here goes…..

Michael and I had a wonderful year together, enjoying spending time in our new home.  It was a bit strange that we didn’t have any overseas trips, but I think that we both needed the break.

I found some much needed creative time during 2014, enjoying working on several fun projects.

I started out the year with the Australia Fabric curves.  Michael and I are enjoying sleeping under this one!!!

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The second quilt of the year was the guild challenge that I have now named “Blue Light Special”…..DSC02351

 

Next came two “quick” quilts given to our two young Chinese visitors….DSC03009

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Then, my friend Diane turned 60 and needed a quilt to keep her warm…..DSC02621

This fun baby quilt was a joy to make……

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These two challenges from my Crea-8-tive group gave me a chance to try something new…..  DSC03341

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My stained glass challenge was fun…..DSC03876

Finally, there was this quick quilt for Jenny for Christmas…..

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Looking back, I see that my projects can be split into to categories…..1) quick and easy and  2)  be creative.   I am really pleased with the balance between the projects and have enjoyed trying some new things.

As I look forward to 2015, I know that we are going to have a fantastic year although it has potential to be quite hectic.   At this point we have 3 overseas trips planned…..3 weeks in Nepal in May/June with 10 days of hiking in the Himalayas, 3 weeks in Colombia in July/August  and the month of September in Bangalore, India!!     In addition, I am chairman of our guild Quilt Show in March!!!

I told Michael that my mantra for the year is going to be “don’t procrastinate” because I simply don’t have time for it!!!

All I can say is…….BRING IT ON!!!!

2013 in my rear view mirror

This evening I was sitting down to write my annual “this is what I created this past year” post and was feeling fairly down because I didn’t feel like I had done much.   As I started looking thru past posts, I became more excited as I realized that I had actually worked on several pieces and am very proud of each of them.

The year started out with the quilting work on “Flower Pot, Flower Pot”, the quilt that Mom and I made together……

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Next was a quickie Mug Rug for Valentines Day…..

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…..followed by a top made in a Rayna Gillman workshop that I turned into a chair back cover…..

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In May, my creative group started working on the “Use It Up Challenge” which resulted in this fun piece…

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I happily finished a quilt that had been started about 6 years ago and is now being used as my lap quilt of choice…..

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There was one other “finished” project during the year…..this little Christmas quilt….

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There have been two “starts” that will hopefully be finished early in 2014.

The Aussie Fabric quilt which is ready to be basted and hopefully quilted during the few minutes of relaxing during tax season…..

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And, finally, the Pueblo quilt that still needs a few hours of quilting……

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I could ALWAYS complain that I haven’t had enough time to create, but this year has been different.  I have greatly enjoyed my studio time and am VERY happy with the output for the year.

Tonight Michael and I are celebrating in our own way…..

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…..with Dairy Queen Blizzards and relaxing in our recliners!!!!

I hope that you all have a wonderful New Year’s!!!!

On to 2014!!!

2013, here I come…..

 

thYes, it is time to look to the upcoming year…..it should be an interesting one!!!

I will begin the year by having surgery on my knee this Thursday so that I will hopefully be able to easily climb the stairs to my studio!!!  My sweet husband has already agreed to bring my quilting tables downstairs for a few weeks until I get off of crutches.  Since it is my left knee, I am anticipating being able to continue quilting on the Flower Pot quilt.

I am excited about working thru this year’s Income Tax Season, especially getting to work in my new office…..now if Congress would just decide exactly what will be taxed, and how much tax will be levied!!!!

I am looking forward to our local guild quilt show the first weekend in March.  If you are in the area, be sure to visit!!!

At this point, we don’t have any overseas trips planned for the upcoming year, however we are looking forward to a trip to Chicago to visit our daughter and I may accompany Michael on a trip to Wyoming next December.

Basically, I hope to spend the year enjoying family, friends and the joy of creating!!

I wish the same for you and your family…….

Goodbye 2012…..

Like most bloggers, I have enjoyed writing a year-end post where I can think about the things that have been accomplished during the past year. 

This year, unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of quilting going on as I have only finished two pieces and one of those was done in a 24 hour period this past week!!! 

The other was my Complimentary Color Challenge quilt and is one of my all-time favorite pieces….

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I did work on two projects with my Mom and both are in the final stages of finishing and hopefully the Flower Pot quilt will be ready in time to put into our Guild Quilt Show in March….time will tell.

As I looked back at the past year’s posts, I found several small watercolor pieces that I enjoyed working on.  My favorite was this one…..

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I enjoyed a two day workshop with Lyric Kinard and completed this sketchbook cover that I enjoyed giving to my Daughter-In-Law as part of her Christmas present…..

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I spent a day with Pat Speth and have moved along with a pieced top and enjoyed another day with Mary Stori and am still working on my beaded piece.

But, this year has really been all about travel…..both around the world and across the county!! 

Michael and I enjoyed three weeks in Turkey and then three more weeks in China.  As we were eating dinner tonight we decided that our favorite memories were from our time in Turkey.  There were just too many enjoyable people and sights!!

The end of the year has been dominated by our move into a beautiful, new home and all of the work and excitement that goes along with such a move.  We know that we are truly blessed to be able to live here.

So, in just a few hours we will say good-bye to 2012 and hello to the exciting new world of 2013……cant wait!!!!