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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Machine Embroidery

OK, I confess, I haven't used my embroidery machine since October, but I have been a tad busy.  Prodigal Son wanted me to embroider his name on his welder's cap (the one I was supposed to make yesterday), so I fired her up.  After dinner, the guys were having a Bible Study at the house and I headed off to the sewing studio.  I will just warn you, this story goes downhill fast....  I cut out the pieces for the cap and start to load one of the pieces onto the hoop.  Crap...my stabilizer is in the room we use for shipping orders.  To get to this room, you need to go through the room where they are having Bible study.  Not wanting to disturb them, and in my infinite wisdom I might add, I decide that since it is a batik, it just may be stiff enough not to need the stabilizer.  **Mistake Number 1**

I set up my practice piece and the machine makes a huge knot of thread and locks up.  I have to turn it off to keep it from beeping at me.  She is really upset with me!  So, I tug a little, snip a little and I still can't get the hoop off because there is so much thread in the nest underneath.  I grab my seam ripper and gently slide it between the underside of the fabric and the slot where the bobbin thread comes up.  **Mistake Number 2**

I've torn a small hole in the fabric, but since it is a practice piece I try again.  **Mistake Number 3**

I get the knot out--re-thread the machine--re-load the hoop and go through Mistakes Number 1, 2 and 3 AGAIN.  I move where I want the embroidery placed on the fabric and this time I put stabilizer on again.  She starts to embroider and it looks really cool, afterall, I am using varigated thread.  The design continues onto the part of the fabric that doesn't have stabilizer and I am back at Mistakes Number 1, 2 and 3.

So, today, I won't be so cheap with the stabilizer...I will re-load another piece of fabric...make the old girl happy and try again.  I sure hope Prodigal Son likes the #$%^@ welding cap!  :)

I'm sure PETF (People for the Ethical Treatment of Fabric) are on their way!

Blessings

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wool Happy....

Yesterday's trip to get the passport went off without a hitch....so, my paperwork is on it's way!  :)

I finished longarming a quilt for Customer J yesterday.  I love wools and I love this pattern!  She bought it as a kit when she was in Canada from the ladies who wrote the book Tis the Season.  (I told her there was more than one Tis the Season book...)  I do love it.  They have mixed wool, flannel, cotton and brushed cotton into one quilt.  J intends to use it for a lap throw.


See that big thread to the right...ugh!  It's just laying there waiting to get it's picture taken.  The whole quilt was stitched in the ditch.  I went back in and did echo quilting and the X pattern through the chain.  With the thickness of the fabrics, it is hard to see.  Hopefully, J will like it!  :)


Today, I am working on a welder's cap for Prodigal Son.  He doesn't like the ones they sell at the school because they are too stiff.  I have taken measurements of his little head, so hopefully he can model it for you tonight! 

Blessings.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Passport Saga....

Hubs and I need to go out of the country on business.  Therefore, I need to get my passport.  Hubs has nagged me to get this done daily for a few weeks, and it's getting old.   Nope, I've never left the country before, except for Cayman and Canada, and you didn't need a passport at the time.  Yesterday, I decide that when I take all of the orders to the post office, I will take care of the whole passport situation.  I go over all of the paperwork, making sure I have my ducks in a row...and head over to AAA to get my passport picture taken.  The ladies there were quite pleasant, and in 10 minutes I was on my way with two pictures *free* because I am some sort of Premier Member.  I'm feeling good....

Then....the Post Office!  Since you can only get your passport at the larger post offices, I had to go to the one downtown.  Stood in the long line, took care of my packages and they tell me there is a different line for passports.  Not a problem...afterall, I'm feeling pretty good.  The little fella (I am being facetious--he was rather large and intimidating, with a booming 'not-so-quiet' voice) calls me over and asks if I have an appointment.  Excuse me?  An appointment?  No, sir, I do not.  I did not know I needed an appointment.  He shows me his pitiful little appointment book and says he is booked.  He does, however, offer up that across the street at the Clerk of Courts office, you can get your passport without an appointment.  Sweeeeet!  He tells me to cross the street, turn down the side street and it is right there.  Thank you little fella!  I'm still feeling good.....

I cross the street, go down the side street and nothing.  I round the block...nothing.  I keep going.  Now, I have walked completely around the block and the door for the Clerk of Courts office...well, it was right where I started!  I'm still feeling good....but quite winded.  I go through the metal detectors and the deputy sends me to the second floor.  I pass through the lines of people waiting to go into the courtroom and make it to the office.  Girl 1 looks at Girl 2....do we do passports here?  (My heart flutters...please....)  No, she says, ask Girl 3.  Girl 3 sends me back down the STAIRS to the Title Office.  She says they do them there.  OK, still feeling good...a little winded...but good.....

I go in the Title Office, take a number and wait patiently for my turn.  Yippee...my number is called.  Passport?  She asks....well, you will have to wait for Carmen.  Carmen instructs me to come through the gate and have a seat.  Oh yeah...I'm almost done....woot woot!  Carmen looks at my application.  Thank you for printing so neatly.  Carmen looks at my photocopy of the front and back of my driver's license.  Thank you for remembering to do this....most people don't read the instructions and forget this.  Carmen asks me if I know that I cannot use cash or a debit card to pay, I must use a check.  I flash my checkbook at her and tell her Yup I've read the paperwork!  She starts to log onto the computer.....and then it happens.  Oh, I can't use this as your proof of citizenship.  WHAT??!!!  But, Carmen, this is what I used even when I got my driver's license.  I'm so sorry sweetie, she says *hmmpf* but that was AND I QUOTE "a few years ago, and things have changed since then".  OK, I think I am going to hyperventilate.....it has the raised seal, it is signed....  But, she says, even though the passport application doesn't say so, you need the raised seal proof from the Bureau of Vital Statistics.  I could try to use this, but they would just reject your application and you would have to start over.  OK, not feeling good anymore....feeling like I got socked in the gut.

I go home and get on the internet.  It takes approx 3-4 weeks to get a copy mailed to you.  I don't have that long!  So, I get in the car and drive 1 1/2 hours to C-town to go to the State office for the Bureau of Vital Statistics.  Twenty minutes later, I have the paperwork in hand and head back home--another 1 1/2 hour drive.  I get back to my world at 10 minutes until 4.  This is relevant because they close at 4!

Soooooooooooo.......guess where I am headed off to this morning!  Nope, not the post office.  I am going to see my new BFF, Carmen....who will undoubtedly make sure that my trip to Cancun goes off without a hitch!  Oh, and I will have my passport before hubs does.....neener neener neener!

Blessings......

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Alas....I'm doing laundry!


We got the laundry room to the point yesterday that we could move the washer and dryer back in.  I painted all the walls, the closet, the bathroom and the ceiling.  Hubs re-installed the woodwork (we stripped the paint off of it and re-stained).  He is still working on the bathroom and the doors, but I can FINALLY do laundry!  So, if you are in the neighborhood and just love ironing....folding towels....matching socks...I will be chained to the washer and dryer.  Oh, did I mention the added bonus?  I also get the priveledge of going to the grocery store!  :)  Life is good!

Blessings

P.S.  For those of you who don't know...I have been without a laundry room for 10 days with 5 men living in the house, due to a remodel.  And....I HATE going to the grocery!  LOLOLOLOLOL

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lucky Number 13!!!

Alas, I have completed 13 UFOs this year!  Can I get a Woo Hoo!!!!

This runner is called Honey Milk and Hydrangea Runner.  Really--what is Honey Milk?  I know there are bees in the light blue fabric...but honey milk?  I love the muted gold in this fabric.  It could go in a bright room, or a toned-down muted room.  I'm a fan of hydrangeas, too, so this one did speak to me.  :)


This is a pic of the back.  I did mostly stitch-in-the ditch for the quilting, and I haven't quilted anything in the borders....yet.  I don't know that I will.  I traced out a few different patterns, and I didn't like them.  So, there you have it!  If I decide later I want to put something in there, I will just re-load it.


On the laundry room topic....I hope to be painting it today.  Hubs has to do a little more sanding of the drywall if the 'stuff' has set up.  I really really really need to get that washer and dryer back in there.  It has been over a week and I am going crazy.  If he says I can't paint today, I will be loading up HIS car to take it all to the laundromat.  He won't be happy, but I will.

We have snow in the forecast for today.  Mother Nature is a cruel cruel woman!

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sisters....

Let me preface today's post by saying for the record that I love Jo Morton fabrics and her designs.  When we were doing last year's JLWC, there was one quilt that didn't appeal to me.  I love hand work, just not hand embroidery.  I would rather piece and applique, that's just 'me'.  So, when it came time to do the Sisters quilt, I negotiated with one of my employees to do the hand embroidery part of these itsy-bitsy heads that were the center block.  :)


The only reason this quilt didn't get quilted sooner was that I was toying with putting some sort of border on it.  I auditioned every color...several bordery-type prints...and nada.  Nothing worked.  So, I gave up, called it a quilt and threw it on the longarm.  The same thing happened with the binding.  Couldn't figure out what I wanted to bind it in and finally decided to use the same print for the back and the binding.  There.  Done.

I thought if I did an "X" in each block, it would look cute.  I should have done less quilting.  With these blocks being so small, those "X"s made my poor little quilt stiff!  I even used a cotton batting.

Regardless, this is finish number 12 this year, and for that....Woo Hoo!

I do like the quilt, don't get me wrong.  I just wasn't up to the task of doing the embroidery work.

Well, I am off to hit the longarms.  Hope your day is blessed!  :)

Eleven is Heaven!

Yesterday, I told you I have been "playing".  Well, below are the results.  I have finished another UFO, and this makes ELEVEN for the year!  I'm a little behind, but I hope to catch up.  This quilt is a super simple quilt by Meme's Quilts called Meme's Star.  The pattern had a few boo boo's in it, but it is just a large star.  To foo-foo it up a bit, I decided to feather it--to death!  I went a little overboard, but that's what we do when we "play".  :)  I learned a few things about locking aspects and ratios, and to 'save' your project as you go so you don't lose your border dimensions *ahem*.  But, I was downright giddy when I looked across the top of the quilt and saw the quilting.  It is a little bright, which is usually not me, but it will make a great throw.  It is approx. 70 inches square.  The fabric line is called Maypole by April Cornell.  I love the purples in this line!


This is an absolutely horrible picture.  I played in PhotoShop trying to make it all better, and I think I just made it worse.  The middle picture more accurately reflects the colors of the quilt....





It is about halfway bound. I snuck into my sewing studio, turned on mindless television and worked on it. Have you ever watched the show "19 Kids and Counting"? Well, I did. The family is amazing. But, I'm thinking I need my own TV show. Those people have nothing on me....afterall, their 19 kids jump in and do all the chores, she has 4 washers and 4 dryers, 2 or 3 commercial refrigerators, 4 commercial stoves, a "hot kitchen" and a "dry kitchen".... Think about it, I have 1 washer, 1 dryer, 1 small refrigerator, 1 regular stove and NO HELP! Sure, they are good at laying tile, but really???? The film crew couldn't keep up with me running around doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, longarming, sewing....I'm just sayin....



Blessings.....

P.S.  Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quilted....

Alas, I finished custom quilting a quilt for Customer S yesterday.  This was a Nancy Halvorsen BOM being offered by another LQS.  What I love about Customer S is that she will try anything.  She knows no fear.  She is an accomplished quilter and I think I have quilted a little bit of everything for her.  She has paper-pieced with the best of them...appliqued....Hunter's Stars....anything and everything.  If things are off a little, she doesn't stress about it.  For her, it is about the process, and I love that about her.  Here, let me just show you....

 I love these colors.  You could put this quilt just about anywhere.

 This is a close-up of the applique portion...stippling behind the flowers.

Close-up of the quilting.  Flash ruined the center for you, but the close-up above should help.  Most of the blocks were stitched-in-the-ditch.  The borders got quarter inch stitching in from the edges.  Gridwork in the background of the setting triangles.

Another thing I love about Customer S is that she lets the quilt talk to me.  She drops them off and just says 'whatever'.  Now, sometimes if I don't know a customer well, this would be a problem, so I would probe a little deeper.  However, with S....well, we are 'in sync'.  Another thing I love about Customer S is that she "stretches" me.  It is never the same quilt twice and sometimes I have to think outside my normal self.

Speaking of which.....if I get my next UFO done today, you are going to be so proud of me.  I've been "playing"!

The guys have the floor grouted.  Today they sand the drywall and I am potentiall painting tomorrow.  Most people don't look forward to painting.  I, however, LOVE IT!  There is nothing like a freshly painted room.  But, there isn't a white wall in my house....

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chaos, I tell you....and utter Madness!


Remember when we talked about my daily routine and how 'ouchy' I get when it is compromised?  Well, as we speak--my washer and dryer are in the dining room, along with the two doors from the laundry room.  My daily load of laundry has not been done since Thursday, and it is piling up EVERYWHERE!  So far, I have handled it all pretty well, but I foresee a ball and chain with me stuck in the laundry room all weekend.  The tile is finally down in the floor.  Grout goes in today.  Painting tomorrow or Thursday.  Then, my dining room will no longer look like a laundromat!  So, here is what my tile looks like.....
I should add that this tile has been sitting in boxes in the laundry room for six months.  So, it will also be nice to have that space back!  :)

In trying to keep out of the way and not nag (no, I didn't ask a hundred times "is it done yet"....only about 99!), I have been working like a fool in the sewing studio and on the longarms.

I finished this one for Customer S yesterday.  If you notice, the pattern is the Mystery Quilt we designed.  She used a jelly roll from April Cornell's line Portugal.  Love it S!


This is a close-up of the quilting.  I think I have shown you this allover before, but it was the one that S picked.  The buttery yellow backing is lovely!

Hopefully, I will finish custom quilting the quilt on the other machine today and will be able to show you tomorrow.  :)  As for today, I just need a little patience as I crack that whip!

Blessings.....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome Spring!

I got out in the flower beds yesterday, and I guess I should preface by saying that we live in the woods, so I don't rake leaves in the fall.  There is just no point.  They swirl around all winter and it would just be a losing battle, so it is just a Spring job for me.  I got one flower bed cleaned out yesterday and about 2/3 of the "big bed".  Our driveway makes a loop at the top, and in my infinite wisdom, I decided to have hubs roto-till up the whole thing and I planted perennials.  Yeah....about that....  First of all, with me working, it was a never-ending battle with me and the tree sprouts that wanted to come up all last year.  Then, there are the leaves....15 wheelbarrow loads yesterday and I'm STILL not done!  But, look what I found out back...


Now, the reason I am so excited is I thought I had killed them all!  The crocuses were getting squeezed out by the Iris's, so I dug up all of the Iris's and re-arranged the back bed.  The crocuses didn't even flower last year.  Don't know how I did it, other than maybe they were taking a little break, waiting for me to get in gear, but I'll take it!  :)

I did spend part of National Quilting Day yesterday in my sewing room, also.  I'll show you the fruits of my labor later.  I had a rough night Friday night and needed to sweat out some of the pain....so I ended up in the flower beds.  Then, I was too tired to do anything other than sew, so I ended up in the sewing room.

Usually don't do this on here, but I have a small prayer request.  We have this couple who are good friends with Army son.  He is to be in their wedding.  They had to hurry up and get everything planned to be executed the last weekend of March because her mother's health was failing.  Her mother was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer around Thanksgiving and she was hanging on to see the daughter married and graduated from college with her Master's.  Well, to make a long story short, she probably will not be around until graduation and they have had to change the wedding plans.  She is in hospice at the nursing home, so the immediate family (and Army Son - as the best man) will be having the wedding at the chapel in the nursing home.  This is another sad cancer story, as this lady has children ranging in age from 25 to 13.  She also helps take care of her twin granddaughter's, who are 5.  I was looking forward to this wedding, as was the hubs.  It is absolutely heartbreaking for me---this lady is only a few years older than me.

Our time on this earth is precious.  We don't know when it will be our time to go.  Hug those around you...let them know you love them....and smell the fresh air of Spring.  Take nothing for granted.

Blessings

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sanctuary

Customer J is in the process of making quilts for all of her nieces.  This quilt she brought in is from a Michael Miller line called Sanctuary.  I love the teals in it.  This quilt has such a calming feel to it, don't ya think?  I think she said this was one of the Turning Twenty patterns, but don't hold me to it!



 This is a close-up of the quilting.  She just wanted a quick allover, so I used one called Retro Flower.  The flowers were the same shape as some of the flowers in the quilt and the swirls matched the swirl fabric, so it was just perfect!  :)


This is the back.  Sorry these are a little dark, but it is getting ready to rain here and it was hard to get good light.

Spent part of the day yesterday frog-stitching (Rippit Rippit) another quilt, and then I snuck to my sewing studio last night while the guys watched basketball.  I forget what lame excuse I used, but whatever it was, it worked!  I hadn't gotten to sew yesterday morning because we had too many orders and other things going on here....so....tee hee hee....off I went! 

Nephew had a lot of laundry, so in addition to my daily chores and my 'work', I did FIVE loads of laundry!!!!  Phew!  Today, I think there are another FIVE!  I'm not complaining, but I'll sure be glad when it is all done.  Having four men to take care of is even more work that I thought!

Well, I'm not getting anything done talking to you.  Enjoy this beautiful weather...and I will see you tomorrow!

Blessings

Thursday, March 17, 2011

So, what's next?

Here is what I have been working on now.  I'm averaging a block a day.  This is a Whimsicals project I had stuck back after longarming the wallhanging for a customer.  The book has since gone out of print.  I looked high and low and found the one I had stuck back for myself.  *whew*

I have to make nine of these blocks.  It's a great way to use up scraps.  They don't go together like this, but, now that I am looking at the pic, I can see possibilities of making a block that looks like this!  (You have to picture it with the blocks turned a tad differently!  LOL)  There will be no time in the sewing room today...I may, however, prepare some of the applique pieces for this project if I can sneak away.

Hubs has taken off the rest of the week and Monday thru Wednesday of next week to finish gutting the laundry room and get that remodel under control so we can finally list our house.  I just love this house, and I am not looking forward to moving again.  :(

Blessings...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can I get a drumroll please???......

Woo Hoo!  My French Farmhouse quilt is now a flimsie!  My back started hurting yesterday afternoon while I was longarming, and I still wanted to be productive, so.........I headed over to the sewing studio!  The real kicker is that it busted those 11 1/2 yards of stash!  Hubs and Nephew held it up as best they could, but you can get the feel for it.

Does it look a little wrinkly?  Well, after I painstakingly re-pressed the entire 100 plus inches after completion, I handed it to Hubs while I went to grab the camera.  He ROLLED IT UP INTO A BALL and laid it on the dining room table while he and nephew called AAA.  It has now been RE-pressed, folded, and put on the suit hanger with it's binding.  It will be a few months before I can quilt it, as I have a lot of longarming to do for customers right now and this one will definitely be a custom.

So, I have now completed two goals if you think about it.  I've used up that stash and done that pattern, but I've always wanted to make a 'neutral' quilt....and now I have.  I did end up doing 6" borders.  I have a few months to think about it and I can always cut them down, but I can't water and feed and make them grow!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Zen of Ten....

First of all, I would like to apologize....I've been trying to post every day (except Sunday).  We have several obstacles this week, and I'm working through them now.  The first obstacle was my computer.  My monitor started making hot sparky noises then just up and died on me.  My post this morning is coming to you live from one of the shop computers, which are both on their last leg!  I have three computers and not one good one between them!  I foresee a laptop in my future.....

Secondly, my camera was missing in action.  She tried to hide, but has been found....

And third....I now have an entire house full of men.  Most of my followers know that I had the hubs, Prodigal Son and Friend's Son while the two boys go to school.  Now, I have my Forty-Something Nephew while he gets back on his feet.  Hubs' gentle nudging will get him back on track.  (Trust me, you don't want hubs nagging you....he is worse than any woman you have ever met!  LOL)  Regardless, I see myself getting to spend much time hiding *ahem*, I mean sewing, in my sewing room!

Back to my Zen...  You all know that I am on a quest to get through these UFOs that have been accummulating over the 8-year course that was a shop.  Well, happily, I have finished quilting number 10!  I assure you it will be bound by Friday, because I just cannot stand to sit and watch TV.  I must be doing something! 

So, here is my tenth finished UFO.   Most of the fabrics were from April Cornell's Portugal line.  The pattern is out of the book Easy Living Quilts by Thimbleberries.  Sorry the pic isn't the greatest, but hubs was stretched out as far as his little arms would reach!  If you are looking for a quick quilt to make, this is the one!  I think that stripe just made it!

There is a special feeling I get from the tenth finished project.  It sounds like a big number and makes me feel like I am getting there!  How is that for motivation??

Well, I need to go longarm.  The fellas are almost all out the door and I have a kitchen to clean again...do they really need to eat breakfast??? 

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Addictions

I know our husbands consider some of us addicted to quilting.  But, I come to you today with the intention of starting another kind of 10-step program.  My intent is not to minimize real addictions, but to offer humor...before we continue.  There are many things in life that you can be addicted to...in varying degrees and forms.  Today, I want to talk to you about my hubs addictions.

Let me preface by stating that hubs wasn't thrilled when I started facebooking.  He didn't want his name mentioned, picture shown or anything that would otherwise jeopardize his position at his company.  He came to me with horror stories of how people lose their jobs or cannot otherwise obtain a job because of things represented on facebook.  Fast forward to Friday night.  His company insists that they ALL set up a facebook.  (Oh, the irony of it all!)  They are setting up a corporate FB and want the employees to join in as well.  (Ha!  Take that big boy!)  So, Saturday I do my wifely duties and help him set up a FB account, as well as a Yahoo! account....and by Saturday night, he was checking every 15 minutes to see if there were little red posts at the top telling him that someone accepted his friend request or posted on his wall!  Now, if you aren't laughing, you should be....because where do you think he is right now?????  He is in the other room, and if I want to talk to him, I need to post on his wall!!!!!!

OK, so that is his beginner's addiction....now to the more serious stuff.  We recently took a trip to the town where his grandfather lived when he first immigrated to the US.  Went to the library to do some geneology research and the lady there pulls up ancestry.com in lieu of pulling one of those dusty books off the shelf.  We came home and promptly set up an ancestry.com account.  I haven't seen him since!  (That was November-December.)  He anxiously puts in his password while sighing "I wonder how many of those leafy hints I have this time."  His family tree is so fun and interesting, and mine....well, let's just say it is plain boring.  Because my family is from Appalachia, there just isn't the quantity of info as there is from his family with his Italian roots!  So, yes, I am jealous.  PLUS, he gets to pull up awesome pics and newspaper articles...like the article documenting his grandfather's death as a travelling musician!  Look at the kind of stuff he gets!

This is his grandfather, a travelling musician.  Passed away at age 25 from carbon monoxide poisoning after a show while staying at a boarding house.
and me....well, let's just say my tree doesn't have very many limbs and call it a day!

Signed in 100% pure jealousy....

Blessings....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm getting there....

Worked on my French Farmhouse a little yesterday.  I finally have rows!  Hopefully, tomorrow I will have an actual flimsie to show you!  This will have busted 11 1/2 yards from my stash!  My quilt will end up being 100" square!

I was looking for a picture online to show you what it is supposed to look like and, unfortunately, found another pattern for it that I like, too!  The horror of it all!  I just need to say NO.  :) 

This is another little quilt from the same line.  Mine is in all of the neutrals, this one pulls the blues.  I got it from the Quilter's Newsletter site.  It's cute, too!  Here is the link if you want to download.  http://www.quiltersnewsletter.com/articles/french_farmhouse

This is what mine will look like: 



Well, I'm not going to get it done by hanging out here, so I am off!  Gotta go longarm for a bit, then hopefully finish piecing.  I'm thinking about making my outer border a little bigger.  What do you think?

Blessings...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tips on Finding Sewing Time

The most common question I am asked is "How do you find time to sew"?  Well, let's go back a little.  When the kids were younger, I worked a full-time job and did the usual running to sporting/school/church events, gardening, etc.  I'm also a little OCD (OK, a lot) and have been persuaded by constant nagging from MY Mother that your house should always be clean.  She used to say that you could tell how 'clean' someone is by looking at their bathroom and kitchen when you visit.  Talk about making someone paranoid.  I am not opposed to sneaking into the bathroom when I see her car pull up, grabbing out some Clorox Clean-ups, and wiping down the entire bathroom on the ruse that I was in there going to the bathroom!


I love having things organized!  I thought that once I opened my quilt shop, I would finally have time to sew.  Boy, was I ever wrong!  Customers would come into the shop and praise me for all of the things I had gotten done since they had last been in.  Well, kids, that was because I had worker elves that helped!  Owning a shop did not come without it's joys.  I loved ordering fabric, helping customers pick out fabrics for quilts, teaching classes, longarming, and just the face-to-face time with likeminded quilters.  However, all of these things kept me out of my sewing room!  Then, there was the paperwork!  Things got overwhelming within the first year.  As a result, I wasn't having 'fun'.  I decided to start going up to the shop an hour or so early and having some "ME" time.  I would work on projects, prepare binding, or otherwise get to plop myself down in front of that machine.  Thus, I got around an hour a day to actually sew.  You wouldn't believe how much I was starting to get done!

We moved, expanded the shop from around 1,400 s.f. to 6,000 s.f.  We bought the second longarm, had more employees, took on a sewing machine dealership....and I started falling away from it again.  Afterall, there was so much more to do.  I tried to get back into the 1/2 hour to an hour a day, but wasn't always successful.  I would try to hide in the classroom and just finish a little something.  I had to face the fact that the identity of the shop was me.  I'm not taking away from my employees at all.  My customers ALWAYS complimented me on the friendliness of my staff, and if someone was on vacation, I certainly got the inquiries from customers wondering where they were!  But, those stolen moments in the classroom ended up being 15-20 minutes here and there.

Fast forward to now.  The shop is closed after losing our lease and yet I STILL couldn't find time to sew!  I still have the website and the longarming PLUS the household chores.  Overwhelming?  You bet!  So, I did what I do well....make lists.  Yup, I'm a confessed listmaker.  I've made several that you have heard about, and some that you haven't!  I get a sense of accomplishment from marking things off a list that encourages me to move on.
  • The first list I made was of my flimsies that needed quilting.  It was on the post "Accountability" a month or so back.  Not only did I have MY unfinished projects, but those that my employees helped me with....94!
  • The second list I started to make, and talked myself right out of...UFOs!  Argh!  I had started so many projects for classes, etc.  Class was over, no time to finish, need to move on to the next class sample.  So, we chalked that list up as one that was detrimental and moved on.
  • The third list I made...some of you will groan and realize just how OCD I really am...I made a list of weekly household chores.  I divided these up into 6 days, dividing my house into zones.  (i.e.  Monday I clean our bathrooms)
  • The fourth list I made...well that was more of a schedule.  I am a creature of habit and routine.  So, here is how that one goes.....
The first thing I do in the morning--you guessed it--I head to my sewing room.  I give myself a half hour to an hour, depending on how much "work" I have.  Why first thing?  Well, how do you feel when you walk out of a little sewing time in your sewing room?  I am just downright giddy!  What a great way to start your day!  If I wait until the end of the day, most of the time I am just too pooped to party!

Next, I do my household chores for the day.  Bluck, but it needs done.

Then, I "work".  I have web orders to do, going to the post office, longarming, customer pick-ups and drop-offs, etc.

I told you I like to be organized....well, now you see.  My life revolves around it.  If someone messes with my routine, well, I am just downright evil!  :P

Here are a few things I do to keep "organized":

  • I keep all portions of my projects together in a kit.  This can be a pizza box or a big clear plastic bag.  The pattern, fabric and everything needed for the project is right there.  I keep these in order of what I want to do first, second, etc. 
  • Once a project becomes a flimsie, I use a suit hanger to keep them organized.  The backing goes over the slacks portion.  The flimsie goes over the other bar and the binding is pieced and hung over the hanger portion.  They are hung by size...small quilts, throws then larger quilts.  Depending on how much time I have in between customer quilts, it makes it easier to know which one I can pull to put on the machine.
  • I have organized my UFOs (somewhat) by what needs done.  All of the UFOs that just need borders are together.  All of the UFOs that need more piecing are all together.  If I start to get that feeling that I need instant gratification, I go for the UFOs that just need borders.
  • I have organized my cleaning duties by what they are.  For example, I just do all of the bathrooms at one time.  I do all of my mopping at one time.  I already have the mop bucket out, so just get it all done and over with.
  • I have a 'cleaning' closet where I keep my cleaning supplies organized.  I have one of those little carriers that enables you to carry cleaning products around with you all together.  I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it is a big timesaver.  If I am cleaning bathrooms, for example, the Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, etc. all goes in and I trudge from bathroom to bathroom until they are done.
  • I do at least a load of laundry a day.  Even when I worked, I did this.  I would just throw it in the washer in the morning before I left and in the dryer first thing when I got home...before starting dinner.
  • As soon as I get the mail, I tackle it.  I IMMEDIATELY throw away the junk mail.  I do online billpay, so those are all entered as soon as the bill comes in.  This came from my old days of saving a pile and writing out all of my bills after I got paid, then filing them.  It was taking hours!  No more piles of bills moving around the house waiting to be paid or getting mixed in with catalogs and magazines!
  • I "clean-as-I-go" when I am cooking.  While I am waiting for dinner to bake/boil, etc. I am unloading/loading the dishwasher, washing down the fronts of cabinets, cleaning out the fridge, etc.  If we have had take-out and don't have many dinner dishes, I fill the dishwasher the rest of the way with things that collect dust...i.e. vases, coffee pots, etc.  I keep two crocks on my counter for kitchen utensils.  Every once in a while, even though they are clean, I will take everything out of the crocks and put the crocks and all of the utensils right back into the dishwasher (to fill it up) and run it all through again. 
There are different personality types.  I know this doesn't work for everyone.  This may help someone.  I could go on and on, but this post is already way too long.  The point in all of this is....do a little every day and be organized about it.  You will be much happier for it and won't feel guilty about heading into that sewing room every morning to play!  :)

Blessings....

All of a sudden....I LOVE Weeds!

Kim over at Kim's Big Quilting Adventure set a goal for herself of finishing 11 quilts in 2011.  She asked if there was anyone else who wanted to join in on her challenge.  I'm sure she spewed her coffee all over her keyboard when I replied and told her how many I wanted to finish!  LOL  Of course, not all of mine are big quilts.  I have all of those flimsies of varying sizes that need quilted and bound.  There are UFOs I am going to tackle, but these flimsies are keeping me awake at night!  I envision passing on to another land and our children wondering what the heck to do with them all!

So, I have been a longarming fool!  While I work on customer quilts on one machine, I try to keep one of mine on the other machine.  (I have two Gammills.)  Even if I just throw on a little *quickie*, I am trying to get this down to a manageable pile!  It will also help me out when we move, as I intend to have an Open House to show my quilting in an effort to drum up some more longarming business.  After all, I am moving to a completely different area!  So, I guess you could call it a one-woman quilt show!

Hopefully, if the girls from the shop are reading, they are going to be very proud of me.  Wait until they see this one!  This was a pattern from Meme's Quilts called Button Weeds.  It hung as a flimsie for a little while, and who knew that the quilting and buttons would add so much!


  You can't see the quilting in the outer borders, but I stitched along the lines of the plaid.  I stitched in the ditch around all of the applique, and you can see the linear stitching in the background.  When I get an awesome project like this done, it just inspires me to be more productive!  GW are you proud of me????

So, what motivates and inspires you to jump in there and finish?  I would love to hear from you!  And....if you are counting, that's NINE finishes this year!  Woo Hoo!

Blessings

Monday, March 07, 2011

Civil War Legacies

We were having Jo's Little Women's Club at the shop, and the project we were working on called for cutting skinny strips of fabric.  I had just gotten in a line called Complements by Jo Morton.  My brain started working, and I grabbed a Civil War Legacies pattern called Little Nieces.  In 20 minutes, I had a quilt!  :)  Of course, I just got it quilted, bound and the hanging sleeve put on this week....but I was "pacing myself".  This was a great way to show off many of the fabrics in the new line!

Here it is....


This next one is also a Civil War Legacies pattern called Lincoln Logs.  This time, we used it to show fabrics in the Renee Neneman line called Blossom Lane.  I got this one quilted, bound and the hanging sleeve put on, too.  Can I get TWO Woo Hoos???

For both of these quilts, I just did stitch in the ditch and threw some feathers out in the borders.  But, that is two more finishes for me!  :)  I worked on these while I was longarming the quilts I showed you on Saturday.

Wait until you see what I have for you tomorrow!  I'm almost done with another!!!!!

Blessings

Saturday, March 05, 2011

LOTS of quilting going on here!

Several customers are coming to pick up their quilts today, so I get to show you pics!  Now, it won't ruin the surprise! 

 This is the close-up of Customer T's quilt.  It is called Fire Escape.  She wanted a large allover, so she got a Petunia Pantograph.
 This is a pic of the whole quilt.  These colors are so bright and cheery.

 This is a close-up of Customer R's Quilt.  Quilt is a gift for a sister-in-law who is going through a rough time.  This allover design is called Paisley Simple, and is a personal favorite of mine.

Here, we have the whole quilt.  This fabric line is Old Primrose Inn by Blackbird Designs.  She bought the fabric from us a few months ago.  I just love this fabric line.  I have made a Kim Diehl with this line and I just need to make the outside four cornerstone blocks and it will be a flimsie!  :)


 


This is a close-up of Customer T's second quilt.  It is a HUGE drunkard's path quilt made with 30s reproductions.  We scaled the baptist fan larger than the blocks for two reasons.  The first being that if we had tried to scale it to the exact size of the row, it would not have matched evenly--no matter how good the piecing or quilting were done.  Secondly, the smaller scale would have drawn your eye away from the piecing and focused on the quilting, making the quilt seem 'busy'.



Did I mention that this quilt was HUGE??  We had to lay it out on the dining room table just to get a pic of this much!  :)  Customer T made this for someone at work.  Yes, this lady works around 60 hours a week and still finds time to quilt.  She never says "NO" when someone asks her to make them a quilt.  She is a true gem! 

Well, I'm off for another day in the longarm studio,  Hopefully, the fellas are tearing out my laundry room floor today and getting it ready for tile.  If not, I'm not sure they are going to want to spend the evening with me tonight!  :)

Have a blessed day!



Friday, March 04, 2011

If you drink, don't drive, do the Watermelon Crawl.....

If you are new to my blog, you may want to read the post "It's all Kim's fault" on the sidebar before continuing.  It will explain the Watermelon Hooplah.

It occurs to me that I never did show you my Watermelon bowl after it came in.  Who needs to carve one out, when you have this handy little number??  I didn't show you the matching spoon, because I didn't figure you would be that  interested....I'm already pushing it a bit!  LOL  On the end, the artist has freehanded a vine similar to that on the pitcher.  Can't you just see this chock full of fresh berries and melon balls for a party?  Well, that is the plan anyway!

 And what reminded me to show you the bowl, you ask?  I finished my Melon Slice quilt!  Can I get a Woo Hoo?????!!!!!It is all bound and even has the hanging sleeve all done!  Another UFO bites the dust!  The Melon Bowl is actually posing on the back of the quilt.  I just love that fabric!
I couldn't get hubs to quit turning at an angle, so this is the best pic I could get.  I've been squeezing these UFOs on in between customer quilts, and here lately, I only have time for the smaller ones.  But, that's OK, because that is another off the list, no matter the size!

You know, it's funny, I wasn't as fond of this fabric when it came out approx 6-7 years ago as I am now.  I'm sure I will fall out of love and in love with it again more and more over the years, it is just that kind of color pallette.  I do have more of these patterns if you are interested.

Well, I need to get to work!  Does anyone have a recipe for Watermelon Wine?  I'm just sayin.....

Blessings.....

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Here comes Peter Cottontail....

hopping down the bunny trail....Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on it's way.....  Do you remember that song?  I loved Easter as a kid.  I was never a Peeps fan, but I did love those little chocolate eggs!  What kinds of traditions did you have?  While my kids were sleeping Saturday night, I would put their Easter baskets at the foot of their bed.  They were allowed to have one piece before church.  After church, the aunts/uncles and grandparents would come over for a big dinner at our house...the traditional Easter egg hunt....and lots of candy.  The kids all got Easter baskets until they moved out.  I still make one Longaberger Easter basket here at the house, and hubs pretty much claims it as his.  Sometimes he shares, but mostly NOT!  LOL

Well, I did it!  My Peter Cottontail Topper is quilted!  I'll get him bound this evening, and he will be ready to go!  This project was inspired by the Toppers books by Piece of Cake.  There wasn't one we liked for Easter, so we scrapped one up!  The bunnies are actually wool, so they are all fuzzy.  Everything else is a batik!  We did have one casualty while quilting....one rabbit lost an eye!  I usually tell customers not to put their buttons/embellishments on until AFTER I quilt.  We had put the buttons on this because it hung in the shop for *ahem* several Easters.


This is a close-up of the quilting.  I stitched in the ditch the piano key outer border.  The inner border was cross-hatched.  This background filler....well, I was trying a new technique, and that is why it took so long to quilt.  I way over-thought which way to turn....kind of like you do when you first learn to stipple.  Don't know that I am ready to do this on a customer quilt, as this was my first attempt.  Can you see the little butterfly I free-handed in there?

Well, I have to go add him to the "Finished" list.  I have played around with scrappy binding, and looks like he is NOT getting scrappy.  It's just too much.

Have a great day!

Blessings....

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What happened??!

I had these grandiose plans of everything I would get done yesterday....went to the post office shipped orders, went to the grocery...came home, cleaned the kitchen from the fellas' morning routine...then I just collapsed.  My grandmother used to have them and referred to them as "spells".  I have extremely low blood pressure and started feeling extremely lightheaded every time I stood up.  So, I did what any good trophy wife would do.  I crawled into bed, watched a movie on Lifetime Movie Network, and took an hour nap!

So, today is a new day.  I'll give it a shot again!  ROFL  I was having "spells" this morning while I was baking the fellas muffins for breakfast and making them coffee, so we will see how I feel after my shower.  Good thing I recorded a few more movies 'just in case'!  LOL

I do believe I am slowly turning into my grandmother.  I have a lot of the same interests she had.  She was an avid quilter, gardener and cook.  I also have the "spells".  I also have the Restless Leg Syndrome.  She used to get up and 'walk the floors at night' because she couldn't sleep.  The only difference--I'm a Lifetime Movie watcher.....she was into "Raslin".  That's the West Virginia way of saying "Wrestling".  She cracked me up.  Boy, do I miss her!

Blessings....

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Happy March!

It's the first day of March, and for me...it is the countdown to Spring!  :)  March, for me, means winter is nearly over and Spring is knocking at my door!  This year, more than most, I am soooo looking forward to working out in the yard.  When the kids were young, I had a 'real' job, so gardening was reduced to getting up early on Saturday morning and working outside until it was time to be 'somewhere'.  This is the first Spring I have not had to be somewhere every day and I intend to enjoy it to its fullest.  Can you tell I am excited?  I have my little greenhouse where I will start some of my flowers and veggies...and I've never had that before, either!  :)

If you are wondering about yesterday's househunting, it was a bust!  The house was beautiful in its day, but it needed a complete remodel--inside and out!  The land was wonderful and there was a white fence all around 6 1/2 of the 13+ acres.  There was a small pond, and even a little greenhouse...yup, it would have been perfect--except for all of the WORK!  Hubs and I are 'trying' to buy a house this time that isn't a fixer-upper.  That's hard for us, so we will see.....

Well, I have gotten a late start today.  Much to do....I still have to pack and ship orders, go to the grocery and get a shower.  Late start, but we are STILL adjusting to the new schedule!  :)

 This quilt is called Misselthwaite by Miss Rosie.  Sorry it is a little blurry.  I left the camera in my car last night and the lens kept fogging up.  Originally, this quilt was meant for fat quarters.  It would be great as a scrappy quilt.  I just love these colors!
Here is a close-up.  It was all stitched in the ditch, even the piano key border. 

Hopefully, tomorrow I will FINALLY have the bunnies quilted and can show you what I have been working on for the past few weeks. 

Well, I'm off to the races!  Have a blessed day!!!!