Sunday, January 7, 2018

Have to's versus Want to's

So the entire east coast is in the tundra.   19 degrees and sunny today could be considered a heat wave.   So with a snow day on Thursday and it too cold to be outside expect for the necessary shoveling I should have gotten a lot done.    Right?   Wrong......I became a slug.     I like to think it is a day we all need to have every now and again when you flit between reading, stitching, putzing about and really get not too much of any value completed.    That's not to say I get all the holiday decorations down and the winter ones up.   As well as all the shoveling, trash and recycling while Mr. W. was in Indianapolis for 6 days.   And I did manage to finally finish the summer/winter clothes switch out.  Leniency has been unseasonable warm.   And look how I arranged my tops and sweaters.    I saw this on some morning show when I was off for a week.   OMGosh, it makes perfect sense.   No messing everything up while you root around for what you want.  Now if I could just get better about saving things that I think I will fit into one day.

I admit to being distracted by a new indulgence.    Peaky Blinders on Netflix.   It is kind of a Boardwalk Empire meets Birmingham, England.    I admit to binge watching all four seasons (6 shows per season) starting on New Year's Eve day.  So much for a New Year's Resolution to not waste time better manage my time.

I did do a sort out of my stitching bag and stitching basket and all my project bags.    Look what I found.  Most in strengths that don't help me any more.

Resolutions Smechzalotions it what I usually say.    Always, the diet and fitness resolutions loom to the forefront for most of us.    I am not vowing to exercise more.   No. 1 I always end up with an injury; and No. 2 because of No. 1 I fall off the wagon and become disappointed in myself.   And then there is that wallpaper project that remains half completed.   Good thing it is the upstairs hallway and no one sees it.   Time to call in recruits on that job.   

All that denying, I would like to work on these self-improvement projects this year -
  • I think I would be better to try to work on allowing enough time to do things.   I am not showing up late or missing deadlines.  But I don't appreciate how long things take so sometimes it is down to the wire.   Take the yard for instance.....I believe I can whip it into shape in a couple of weekends once spring gets here.   ENRT!  (you are wrong buzzer noise).   We know it takes all sooner all the beds are ready for the season then we need to revisit and start the weekly maintenance to keep everything in check.
  • I need to finished what I start.  And this is not related to any craft project whatsoever.  THEY get the "Pass Go Free Card".   Here's an example.    I wash the clothes, I hang the clothes, I take them down and fold the clothes......and there they remain in the basket for the next week for me to dig through for my unmentionables all week long!   Wouldn't it just be easier to take that 4 minutes it would take to put things away right away?  Yes, but I am the original side-track person.  No worries, I have found the diagnosis - Aged Acquired Attention Deficit.
  • Do my "Have To's" before my "Want To's".     I am so bad at this.   Why do I not follow the simple edict I gave my kids growing up?   How nice those words taste with a little salt.    I all too often make my current craft project the "have to" item I need to get to.  I tell myself it is to relax and the need to get in more stitches and not fall behind.    Why do I not follow the advice I give my employees when they are faced with a task or even how I create a timeline when I am the Project Manager on an assignment?   
  • I am my own worst enemy expecting too much of myself.  I just need to accept I am not Wonder Woman, the rest will fall into place.  

All that admitted and out there for the world there is a good possibility none of it will change.  And that will be alright too.

Looking back over last year, I realize and admit how truly bless I am.  And not in priority order -  House/home, not rich but financially secure, children doing well in life and careers; husband who has integrity and has been a good provider;  great job; friends; travel; hobbies; health; retirement in the future (79 weeks but who's counting) and just generally happy.  

So enough of my baring my flaws and foibles, let's talk crafting.

Here is how far I have gotten with Quaker Halloween.  It has been sidelined for Corsica River.

Starting to introduce some other colors besides Blackbird and Black Coffee.

I did get some help when I was preparing my quilt 'sandwich' for one of the two quilts I am finishing up.   The entire house and Buddy needs to lay on top of my quilt back.

 Buddy out of the way and backing, batting and top sandwiched and I started my stitch in the ditch to quilt this.   This has been in the 'to be completed' pile for more years than I care to mention.  Glad to be able to soon take it off my backlog.
Back at Corsica River.......I really love this piece and enjoy working on it.   But.....and there is a but.   It is large.   Not complaining about the size of the pattern but I am having trouble finding a comfortable way to stitch this.   I just removed it from the scroll frame thinking it would be easier but I am not sure.    I felt pretty comfortable  I could keep the fabric clean when it was on the scroll frame.

 Now on q-snaps, I have used clips to keep the excess out of the way.

Getting close to finishing this portion of this row of blackwork.   Hopefully today.

 And with luck, maybe the rest of the row by Friday before Camp WannaStitch.  I will leave it off the scroll bars at least until after Camp WannaStitch.   I hope to be able to share real progress after a weekend dedicated to nothing but stitching.

To help with the excess fabric I adopted the use of an ace bandage around the edges like some friends use.  Check out Larene's progress on our FB page.   I think she may be ahead of schedule.   Seeing her work, makes me want to keep on going.

  In closing, another new thing for 2018.   I've become a tee totaler.   Not in the sense that I am abstaining from alcohol....don't be silly.   But during a sort out of the closet, I found I have half a thousand tea bags in half a hundred different boxes and tins.   Enjoying a cuppa and some of the best darned chocolate ever.   Thx SW!

 Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

It's a wrap

And here I sit in my comfy little TV room and having to be reminded for a second time this week what day it this what retirement will be like?  If so, those 80 weeks won't go fast enough.  It's chilly today and the Uggs are on and the fireplace is roaring.  I've got a big pot soup ready for lunch.

I've been reading your blogs a bit but no time to read them all and to comment.    Actually I must confess, with the holiday rush I had to whittle down to only a few I've been able to follow religiously.  Everyone posts such beautiful stitching and pretty decorations and it is to my total enjoyment to read all the goings on.  I know I have some catching up to do. I hope to be a better follower after the holiday craze dies down.
Actually the photo is from YESTERDAY when I start the it is much the same but it is SNOWING!
First off, I have a great D-in-L who believed I needed more grandbaby time and she arrived by train three days ahead of my son.  That little man was so excited to ride on the Choo Choo.    Funny thing is that I had bought him some train related things for Christmas without even knowing.   I guess grandma's just know.   I am still nameless but that is alright.   He'd run to me, put those little arms out  and say 'up', or pat the floor when he wanted me to sit with him and play blocks.   Oh my it was heaven.

I did  finished his stocking with time to spare!  Sorry, no picture of stockings all hung with care....but I got one with Will in the stocking.

I took my son's quilt re-do and used it to scoop up all his presents in one big pile tied at the top with a big red bow.   Evidence enough that he was pleased was him snuggling under the quilt his entire stay.

Project wise I am pretty pleased with how many UFO's I crossed off my list this year as well as some other's I started and finished.   (need to update my 2017 finishes tab!)   And just maybe I should checked my WIP basket before I boast too much!
I stayed true to my pledge.....I was all wrapped BEFORE my daughter arrived from Boston. More years then not, she arrives back in Jersey and has ended up wrapping for a day.  I think I surprised her.   It is always my plan so I even surprised myself that I met my deadline!

I made this little pin cushion early in December.   It is a quick and easy Etsy pattern.  Really took only about an hour.   The 'pie plate' is a mason jar lid.  I didn't want to use it as my EGA pin cushion exchange until  I  could perfect it a bit and until I actually knew if it would stay together......I only finished about a hour for the meeting.    I could never gift it and then find out it fell apart!

A couple of stitching buddies and I agreed on a SAL pattern to start on January 1st and I admit, I started it already.   My excuse was I didn't have anything else to stitch.....which was meant with groans.   I guess I just didn't want yet another start that would be sidelined so I started our SAL. Trust me, they will pass me in no time at all.  It is called Halloween Quaker by Lila's Studio.   I've only recently discovered this designer and I like her patterns.

I am stitching on the called for fabric, PTP Murky, in 32 count with the called for WDW Threads.

On the sewing front, after all but Amy left, she and I spent a day quilting.   I had these two quilt tops pieced and managed to assemble one.  It is quilted and only needs the binding hand sewn.   They are not quite twin sized quilts but will  complete my vision for the twin beds I have in the guest room.   
This one was assembled using the 'race car' pattern.   Since I used larger strips than a jelly roll, I didn't like the end result.    So, I cut 16 1/2  inch rows and them cut each row into 16 1/2 squares.   I then did the quilt as your go method.   It was something I had been wanting to try.  Some squares came out better than others.   I reassembled the squares alternating every other one 90 degrees.    I like the variation I got as a result.

The before....end result is much better

 The second one, it is on the agenda for today.   I had to piece fabric for the back and now I am ready to make my quilt sandwich and put the presser foot down.    

And my sweet indulgence.....a few Christmas pix of sweet William.

 This is my cross stitch lap frame that was quickly turned into his 'ride'.   Brrumm brrumm brrumm motor noises were prevalent as he pushed this around the house that is unless he was banging it on the floor......he returned to it time and time again and it was hysterical.

To the right is how it was INTENDED to be used.   Did I care if it was bet I didn't.   I would just have to order a new one.

 I am not too ornery am I?

Every time I got the camera out, he came running.  Little ham.
Of course, grandma gave him a balance bike.  He knew right what to do....threw his leg over and then.....not so sure.    By spring, he will be tearing it up.

 A quick bath was needed and pop-pop was occupying the bathroom, so into the kitchen sink we went.
That's right Little Man it is OK to drink from the hose too!

What a whirlwind of a week that was just perfect.   Albeit exhausting and a full day was needed to wash linens and towels and clean up the dog hair and I can't wait to do it again.  We are in the planning stages of a week together at a cabin in the mountains in the summer and I do hope we can pull it off.

Wishing everyone a continued safe and happy holiday and a bright and happy new year!   Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Snow Flakes are falling

Yeah!   I love snow.....and yes, not just from the window.   I've shoveled my share of driveways.   Looks like this snow storm won't bring much shoveling though.   But what it will bring is a day inside all toasty finishing up the decorations.

I was off to a great start Thanksgiving weekend.  Outside done, inside done except for the Christmas trees (yes trees, only three this year).   And then I have not been able to make any progress since and the boxes of ornaments seem to have become a permanent fixture in the middle of the living room.

Work seems to continue to require extra hours.    83 weeks until retirement not that I am counting!  Work caused me to be in a cloud of funk this past fall due to turnover of employees.  I know these decisions are business and not personal.   However, because a friend was involved, it was personal to me.   Nothing has changed but I have moved on and back to my happy place at work.

So besides 10 hour workdays and crashing and burning on Friday nights, I have made more project bags.   I really enjoyed making these.   I gave myself a self imposed deadline to complete them (16!!) by my Thursday night needlework group's Holiday Dinner.   Below are some that I saved for myself, daughters and other stitching friends.   It was a great way to make use of finishes that were just collecting dust in the basket of finishes.

Wool applicate that is going in the mail.
A pattern from a visit to Williamsburg.
An embroidery piece from a pattern bought at the Longaberger Homestead shop in Dresden, OH 
Sweetheart Tree design
Flowers stitched by my friend Carol
Daughter No. 1 put her name on this one before it was even assembled!
The girls were thrilled even after my disclaimer that no two were stitched the same and none were exactly perfect.    I managed to get the assembly down to about 45 minutes each if all the fabric was already cut and pressed.   My sewing room/gift storage room/kids stay in during the holidays room looks like what Santa's workshop must be like on December 26th.   Time for a sort out for sure but not until the trees are done.

I did finished William's Christmas stocking and feel pretty sure I can assemble it prior to their arrival on the 22nd.  I did watch Vonna's tutorial on Floss Tube about how to assemble it.   I wish had watched it before I stressed about a lining fabric.   She suggests a plain lining because with charms and buttons it is best not to interface.   She does beautiful work so I won't argue with her methods.

Even added a charm that says "stitched with love" 
Also another monster of a WIP that I am thrilled to get off that backlog list.   This was originally my son's childhood (twin-sized) quilt.   Several years ago, he asked that I make it queen sized.   I added about 10 to 12 inches to all sides and at this point, it is what it is.   Along the way I damaged my machine just because of the sheer weight of the quilt as I dragged it through the machine.   The quilt went back into the closet for another couple of years.   Along came a free day in August, spray basting and a daughter for a day who helped guide the quilt as I finished up the quilting once and for all.   I added the binding and then hand stitched it in place during the evenings.   I just only need to go to the laundromat to wash and dry it and have it crinkle up.   I plan to put all his Christmas presents in one box and wrap them all up with his quilt for Christmas.

I managed to squeeze in a weekend in Lancaster County with my friend from work.   Deb and I always have a good time together and this trip did not disappoint.   Now get this, we stayed at the Caboose Motel......the rooms are actually in train cabooses.  We were not lucky enough to get a caboose room but had a suite in the Shady Rest Hotel.  It was just what we both needed to decompress from work and family and holiday stress.   We actually want to go back and stay for a long weekend in the spring.   We are both looking forward to sitting on the porch with a beverage in hand and taking in the beautiful view and mellowing out after a day of visiting all the cute shops in Paradise, Bird-in-Hand, Strasburg and Intercourse, PA.

Sunset in Lancaster County
Early morning Lancaster County

We ate in the dining car.
Our view from the dining car.  It was the Santa Christmas Breakfast Train.   Fun to see all the kiddos so excited. There is something about little boys and trains.  
OK, I am off to complete the decorating, clean up the snips and bits of ribbons and greens and hopefully get in some wrapping before the day is over.  I made a big pot of soup made last night, have some Chiabatta bread ready for dinner.  Christmas music is on.   Going to get another cuppa coffee and attack the day.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

SB Stocking Progress

I have made fabulous progress on William's stocking.   I have to finish  the row of garland, add a row of snow flakes and them add his name!  Not stitched or sewed anything else!

And as I was rooted about in the drawer I keep buttons in for some small buttons to attach.....lo and behold, I had bought the embellishment pack.   Wahoo!  

Now I need to carve out some time at lunch to go to JoAnn's for lining and backing.    I just may get this done by Christmas!

We had unseasonably warm weather (60's) yesterday and I managed to get all the Christmas decorations out of the garage attic, the outside decorated and some of the inside done.   Wow, so very far ahead on this note but not so with the shopping side of the coin.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mothers and Daughters

Ahhh.......had a mother/daughters couple of days and enjoyed it.   I think I really needed the girl time to decompress from WORK!  Anyway, middle daughter was in the Philly area for work.  I picked her up after her conference and headed to my eldest daughter's.......laughter ensued.    Giggles, fun, food, wine and it is over too quickly.   We dropped middle daughter at the airport for an 8:00 a.m. flight (Really Amy!  An 8:00 flight!) We got to see the sun rise at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).  We were back at my eldest's daughter's to craft all day and then back to PHL at 5:00 pm to pick up my S-in-L who was flying in from I saw sunrise and sunset at the airport.

Silly me, I didn’t take photos before I left Heather's, but she made three of the cutest things.   A play mat for William for Christmas, a collapsible scrap catcher and a compartmented wallet.....

and I finished up a soft sculpture 12 Dogs of Christmas Book for William.

....I made progress on William’s stocking....

There are parts of the pattern that have no symbol so I did not stitch there.   However, when looking at the color version on the leaflet, I see I need to go back and filling in these areas.   Having never stitched a Shepherd's Bush stocking I am not sure if this is how they do all their charts.   No counting needed will make filling these areas in good lunchtime stitching at work.
....and I started making project bags!   This all started as an idea a few months back when a friend was purging her stash.  She had a bunch of little motifs that she stitched and didn't know what to do with so she was going to toss them.   The wheels were turning and I said I think I could find a use for them.     I then went through my own basket of finishing.    Things I enjoyed stitched but had no intention of framing.  You know the kind.....class pieces or little tiny finishes you stitched to try a new technique....and what are you going to do with them?   I set off to shop my stash and find compatible fat quarters to match each piece.  And we know what kind of rabbit hole that can lead one down. 
I had some trials and errors with my work but I got seven done!    I have some designs for 8 more bags!  And what I am going to do with all the project bags?........hmmmm, got another idea.  Wish me luck that I can get the rest sewn up in the next couple of weeks!

What was fun was finding a bold inside fabric.

And I have 8 more queued up to stitch.   There were definitely some trials and errors.  By the time I was done,  I managed to get a complete bag stitched from start to finish in one hour.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on stitching.