Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Laying Down Some Best-Made Plans

It's time to blog.  No matter that the dog hasn't been fed and the cat just knocked over my glass of water (and is licking it up off the floor, leading me to believe I need to refill their water dish...I'll get to it later).  No matter that there are dust bunnies in every single corner of my bedroom from lack of vacuuming.  No matter that I have about fifty things on my to do list and it's getting longer.  No matter that I need to exercise...I'm gonna blog instead.  (It's quite excellent to be a grown-up without a day job sometimes, ya know?)

So I did it - I bought EQ7.  I am both excited and slightly nauseated by this occurrence.  You see, while I have infinite patience with human beings, my actual frustration tolerance with inanimate objects is approximately one nano second.  Especially with computer programs.  So it was with more than a little trepidation that I opened up the program.  First thing I did was watch the little videos that come with the program yesterday and I have to say, they cracked me up.  My son said "Mom - what's that voice?  She sounds like she's talking to a preschooler!"  I was like "I know, right?  Isn't it GREAT? "

I personally LOVED them - they treat you like you are a complete idiot, which in my case is quite apropos.  They go over and over the same thing until by golly, you REMEMBER it.  That's precisely what I need.  Unfortunately, there were only a few of them that showed the very basics.  Now I must learn how to actually do the things I want to do.  Hmm, I feel my enthusiasm waning...

Luckily there are classes one can take to learn the program (for about $40.00 or more a shot, I might add).  I think I have to do it - I'm not going to subject my innocent cats to the kind of language they might hear if I try to learn the program on my own - it would scar them for life!

On another front, I'm happily looking through and using my wonderful Quilter's Planner 2016 created by Stephanie over at Late Night Quilter.  But apparently it's  a little underdressed, so I'm going to have to make it a covering garment so it won't be embarrassed (or cold).  Luckily some clever chica has already modified a book cover (!) design just to fit my little fledgling planner.  (What a relief - now my poor planner will not be indecent, although I can't promise it won't have a few profanities written in it before the year is out...

As I said, I'm quite excited about using the planner - it's really quite perfect - it has a monthly page and then weekly pages, and lots of room to sketch AND wonderful, cool quilt blocks and quilt designs and tips in it,  What more could a crazy, obsessed quilter person wish for?

All I ask is that someone remind me in a month or two to go back and actually LOOK at it.  Because I often write all sorts of stuff on my calendar and then forget to actually look at the thing - so very sad, I know.  So I'm asking y'all to remind me (when the newness wears off) to actually make use of the thing.  Lets set a reminder for, say -  March, okay?

And then another one for May or so, and so on...

I'm currently making lots of plans for 2016.  I'm planning to do a best of 2015 post, really I am, and I'm also planning to sit down and make some goals with Yvonne over at Quilting Jet Girl and I'm planning to finish up all my unfinished projects. I'm planning to be more disciplined, exercise more, eat healthfully, be more present, be more organized, curse fact I'm planning to plan more, so I can be an all-around, super-perfect person in 2016.  That's the plan, anyway.

Sorry I'm laying all this on your planning tool, Stephanie but hey, I'm shooting for the stars here.  Hope I hit a couple of 'em, anyway.

Okay okay, I guess I need to share something I'm working on, too, since it is WIP Wednesday.  Here is a pattern I tested for Amy Garro over at 13 Spools.  (FYI, I did not plan this very well, and so didn't have enough blue fabric for the middle panel, it should be all the way across, which indeed made me very cross, but I still love it and btw there is another planning reference I'm on a SERIOUS clever streak!)

 She's a rock star, as many of you know, and she's got some plans of her own (see how I got planning into this segment, too - phew - I ROCK!) I had an absolute blast working on this piece - it's called PUNK LOVE.  This pattern and several other brilliant stuffs are coming soon so get your cyber self on over there and check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Spitting Out the Grapes

Yesterday I received six (6!) rejection emails and I must admit to feeling a bit discouraged as I went to sleep last night.  I kept wondering what the judges were looking for and why my stuff wasn't good enough.  I questioned my talent and my abilities and even my judgement - do I even know what is worthy and good?  Because I really believed that at least a couple of my pieces were, based on what I see at other shows and around the blogging universe.  I wondered, "Am I completely kidding myself and are my creations just not special at all?"

 On the other (zen)  hand, why spend a moment being unhappy about this?   This is just one thing, and there is so much talent out there, why not embrace and enjoy it?  I love to create; I LIVE to create.  I'm creating because I am driven to do it by some deep primeval force, not to compete with OR be recognized by others.  For the most part, I'm challenged by and learn from everything I create in some way, so there's always something gained.  I'm always pushing myself to try something new and it's somehow so deeply soul-filling to see how a creation turns out from idea to finish.  I get a LOT of joy from it - what more is there?

So.  Why even enter the show?  I think we all participate for different reasons.   For me it's exposure - I would really like to sell more of my work, and I would love to teach (you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but...) and I'm working on some patterns to sell and I even have a couple of book ideas.  But will anyone want what I'm offering?  If I judge solely by not getting a piece into Quiltcon this year the answer would be no.  (Too - the proposal form for Stash books is a little intimidating if one hasn't been recognized (a lot) by one's peers, I have to admit.)  But again, this is just one thing.  That other stuff is my ego inserting it's obnoxious little self again.  Just do.  Focus on that.

Also, it's my truth that I don't spend very much time marketing; in fact, almost none.   I can't blame anyone but myself for that.  And full disclosure,  I was actually lucky enough to have a piece selected for last year's Quiltcon, and although I thought it might lead to something more for me, it really didn't.  I feel like I've gotten a lot more exposure from blogging, following others' blogs, getting involved, and from the New Blogger's Blog Hop (thanks again to Yvonne, Cheryl, Stephanie and everyone else who worked on that, by the way!)  Not to mention the real prize - I've met so many wonderful quilty friends (I really hope I get to see some of you in Pasadena in person!)

And of course, spiritually speaking (I'm reminding myself), it's the journey, not the outcome...

So by golly, I'm rejecting any sour grapes that might want to worm there way into my thoughts.  I don't want to not be happy for those who get pieces accepted.  I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing (and being inspired by) the creations at the last two Quiltcons, and I will enjoy and be inspired at this year's show too.    I absolutely do NOT want to be negative or feel negativity about anything, but most especially not about creating or fellow quilters.  I want to enjoy what the creative universe has put out there, and lose my ego completely.   (Obviously hasn't happened entirely, yet - it's a goal, anyway.)

So instead of questioning the choices or spending another second on negativity, I'm sending out sincere congratulations to everyone who had a piece chosen for the show.  You deserve it!  And I can't wait to see how the creative universe has come through you.

And also,


             for sharing.

  (I'll be there!)


Saturday, December 12, 2015

I'm Dreaming of a Haaaand-made Christmas...

Just like the ones I've never known,
Where their eyes will glisten,
With teeeeaaars,
For all the love you've shown....


Well, it's not gonna happen again this year, either.  See, it's all my fault - I just can't seem to get it all started in August, which is when it needs to start for it it actually happen.  Somehow I seem to have difficulty getting in the Christmas spirit when it's 105 degrees and humid as Venus.  Then suddenly it's October and November and oops - where did the time go?  Again.

And I did have ideas - oh did I have ideas!  But unfortunately I got sidetracked by all my non-Christmas ideas, and now I fear it's simply too late to make meaningful gifts for those I love because I'm having so very little sewing time lately, and it's only going to get worse in the coming days.

I actually managed to make three pillows based on Lorna's (Sew Fresh Quilts) adorable deer pattern, but haven't gotten any of them into the mail yet.  They're all three done wrong (apparently I'm not a direction-following genius) but I still like 'em.  My loved ones don't have to know they're wrong - I mean - I'm not gonna tell 'em.  What? - I just did?  Well then, if they dare complain they just might get a midnight visit from the Grinch, who will take those precious, thoughtful, hand-crafted gifts right back and give them to someone (blind) who won't notice their flaws - huh!

Here they are, side by side - you can see all the antlers are different, and none of them are the way they are supposed to be..oh well.

Guess I'll have to fall back on dear old Amazon. com for some commercialized, only somewhat thoughtful gifts that say, "I love you, just not enough to make something for you."  Wish that they were already delivering by drone - that would be a present in itself, wouldn't it?  Although since I live pretty far out, I doubt I'll ever get to see the little suckers out here, dropping a package at my country door.  (Boy would that freak out my dog!  He's led a very sheltered life, limited to barking at large, scary hay bales, chasing deer, frightening raccoons and armadillos, sniffing out the occasional skunk, and of course there was that one (quite upsetting) time he tangled with that mean old porcupine...)

But I digress.  Christmas.  It's fun to give, ain't it?  But even funner  (yes, I'm aware of my bad grammar - it's for effect, okay!) to give something you put a lot of thought into and made especially for that person.  Guess I'm going to have to settle for mediocre level fun this year...oh well.  Bring it on.

But next year, Handmade Christmas is gonna be a reality.  Really.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wedesday - No WIPs, But Two Finishes!

The title of this blog may be misleading. OF COURSE I have works in progress!  Three to be exact.  But there is no progress being made on them at the moment, so they don't really count.

 I would have been slaving away at quilting the hockey quilt for my friend Helen's son, but after I spent four hours (no that isn't a typo) on Monday sandwiching it, I left it on the floor and one of my (soon to be homeless) cats PEED on it!  (That isn't a typo either. Unfortunately.)  I wasn't about to un-sandwich it to wash it, after it took all afternoon to get it done, so I just took the offended part and rinsed it out and am letting it dry.   I think it had literally just happened because it didn't seem to have soaked in, so that's good (if you can say anything good about such a disgusting, annoying happening). Yes, I did curse like a sailor.  The good news is, it seems to have recovered - even my dog-like sense of smell can't smell the pee, and will be ready to quilt tomorrow.

I was really happy when I got it all together and I put it on my bed and it looked like this:

I did a happy dance.  But now: the QUILTING.  Should be a pretty decent challenge to quilt something that size and weight with all those raised appliqués on it...can't wait. (said in a Garfield the cat-like voice).

On an easier note, Mountain Majesty is complete.  I'm pretty pleased with it.  I wasn't sure about the yellow around the edge before I put it on, but I decided to take the chance anyway and I'm super glad I did.  It works.

At least I think it does.

Last, I also finished my fun improv minimalist piece.  It's called Soicles. (Soy-kuls).*  

I did a BUNCH of straight line matchstick quilting on it that you can't really see in this shot.  The black side is horizontal and the white side is vertical.  Had some other ideas, but left it at that.

I'm about to be super busy, so you probably won't hear from me for a little while.  Lots of sewing and other stuff to do before the holidays.  I have so many blog ideas, but just so darn little time to write, it seems I can barely post on WIP Wednesdays lately, and that's it.  Maybe things will slow down in January a little.  See y'all around cyber space.

* That's "circles" in a Jersey accent.

Oh and today is my Prince Charming of a husband's birthday.  He is really the poi-fect guy for me! Love you Paul Wikander.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Faded Glory and Jonas's Bed Quilt

I love Throwback Thursday.  It's so fun to explore where everyone started,  fabric-wise, skill-wise, and taste-wise, including oneself.  I don't have any Christmas shares, though.  I am right now making my first Christmas stuff ever. (I guess I'm kind of a Scrooge - don't want to spend much time on stuff that will only be out for a few weeks...)  Sadly, I also don't have a lot of my old quilts - I gave a bunch away when I first started quilting, and my very first quilt, made in 2002, is completely worn out - had to trash it, sadly.  But it was well-loved and well-used.

Here is one I've shared before - it's the one I made for my bed.  One of my first, so it's twelve years old, and it's been ruined by the sun.  I have west facing windows in my upstairs bedrooms, and since we live in the country, I don't have window coverings on them and the Texas sun has literally eaten holes in it.  But until I have time to make a new one, it lives on...(barely)

The colors used to be really bright - pink, magenta - those squares were a blue batik!

I still love the bright, sort of sari-like colors of this, and the pattern is quite fun, too.  It was only the third quilt I made, I think, and it wasn't super easy but I had help from my mother, too.  Plus after making enough squares for a queen sized quilt, I had it down.

Oh it's so sad - look what the sun has done - going to get window coverings before I make the next one, just to protect it!  My mom had this hand quilted for me - it cost her a fortune because it was so large!  Really hate to get rid of it....

I know a lot of people want calm, quiet colors in their bedrooms but not me, I guess.  And no, I don't have a bit of trouble sleeping in my room - I love it.  And my husband has never complained about the colors and  frankly, he could sleep in the middle of a tornado!

I'm sharing another one, too, that I made for my son Jonas - who was in first or second grade at the time.

Here it is on his bed, of course I had to make it - he was home for Thanksgiving but didn't make  the bed before he left.  Humph - college kids!

close up of the blocks - oh I LOVE those cute fabrics!  There's the frogs, and you can't see my favorite, which is turtles. 

It's a Mary Mashuta design. I love this pattern - to me, it's very George Jetson - somehow reminds me of tv.  I recall that this was a challenging pattern for a newbie, too.  When I was making it we spent some time in California that summer and I had the layout set up all over the beds in  one our cabin in the Sierras - that's how obsessed I was from the beginning - I even took my quilting on vacation!

One of the things I really love about this quilt is the backing.  If you get up under it, it glows - so cool.  Jonas loved this quilt!  It's still on his bed, in fact.   It is also quite faded, but it has been loved, let me tell you.

So I rarely use repeat pattern blocks or batiks anymore, but looking at these two pieces, I still really like them both, fabrics, design and all.  I would definitely make them again.  But I probably won't of course.  Too many other new ones to make! (And I don't think Jonas would be quite as excited about his quilt now, he's rather outgrown it...)

Going to go check out more throwbacks. Thanks to Jennifer Trot Zisserman from Quarter Inch From the Edge for her brainchild - it's super fun!