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!!!!