Wednesday, January 31, 2018

End of January Already!

Since every blog post needs a picture, I'll start with my current project, a UFO of course.  I've reworked the plan several times until I came up with a design and sizes that will work.  Not loving the colors yet, but I hope they will grow on me by the time it is finished.  I need a name for it too.  Nothing comes to mind yet.

This month has just flown by and I don't feel that I've accomplished much. Our home-in-progress has barely changed, although Hubby did get a bathroom somewhat usable, and the washing machine is now in it's permanent spot. Yay, I can wash with warm water again! He wanted a bathroom for two reasons. One, for the guys who came here for Amateur Radio Winter Field Day, and two, for the hvac and sheetrock guys when they spend all day here. Since we had the porta-potty picked up, workers have to drive to town if they are here very long. So far, we have had very few workers here for more than a couple of hours. But putting up sheetrock will take a day or two, so we really needed a bathroom for them. Although I have no idea when that will happen. Apparently, brick is next on our to-spend list.  I've given up calling it a to-do list.

We started building last year around this time, and the weather was very pleasant. This year, January has been very windy. There have been only a few days where it was enjoyable outside. We have had a burn pile growing outside for months and haven't had the perfect conditions to burn it yet. Either it is too windy, or we are under a burn ban, or both. Ideally, we need a calm, drizzly day. Those days are rare. Last year, February wasn't bad either. There were a few windy days that kept the builders from putting up siding, but nothing like we have had so far this year. I hope this February will bring some nicer weather. We need to tear out a dam blocking the flow of water into a creek. It is causing spring rain to flood our lower pasture. We also need to do a lot of tree trimming before the poison ivy starts growing again so we can run the mower through there.

That sounds like goal setting. I've been thinking of my 2018 goals lately, and the statistics that show most people don't keep up their New Year's resolutions past January. I wonder if that is because they make their goals at the end of December and forget what they've written by the end of January. So I've decided to review my goals at the end of each month and see what progress I've made, if any, and what to concentrate on in the next month.

1. Organize my sewing space. Since I don't have a real sewing space, this one has been tough. Our new home is going to be half the space of our last house, and I really didn't have a dedicated sewing room there either. What I've decided to do here for the first few years is have my sewing desk and cutting table in the living room, and put my stash and accessories in a closet in the attic. Not ideal, but that's the space I have. To that end, I am rebuilding a cabinet and will put glass doors on it to keep out dust. So I can report success here.

2. Find and list my UFOs. I have found quite a few, but not all. We still have one storage unit in town, and it's possible that some are in boxes there. I can't go through those boxes like I can the boxes in the attic here, so if it isn't here, it will just have to wait. Semi-success here.  In reviewing my list, I see that I left out an actual goal to work on UFOs.  I talked about it on the same post and listed the UFOs I want to finish this year, but I need to make that an official goal when I revise this list.  For now I'll call it goal #2b.

2b.  Participate in monthly challenges on blogs and facebook to finish these UFOs. My 12 UFOs for both are 1. Cars, 2. Trailer Quilt, 3. Second Saturday Sampler, 4. Christmas Among Friends, 5. Antique Tile, 6. Gairden Walk, 7. Depression Blocks, 8. Baby Bow Tie, 9. Double Irish Chain, 10. Raggedy Hearts, 11. Sweet Sixteen, 12. Summer Crossroads. So far this is a success even though I did the January quilt in my order rather than the one called for by American Patchwork & Quilting.

3. Pull out fabrics bought to make specific quilts and put them in boxes with the patterns, thread, and everything needed to complete the quilt. Again hard to do. I've found a lot of the fabrics I know I bought for a special quilt, but I have no idea where the patterns are. With the above UFOs most likely. So far, this is a fail.

4. Organize scraps by color and participate in scraphappy's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Luckily, I found my blue scraps and that was the January color. If she picks red or yellow for the February color, I'm in luck. I can't figure out where I could have put the rest of my scraps. Semi-success here

5. Participate in 2018 Monthly Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen. Well. That didn't work out for me at all. Her color this month was red, so that was good, but I had fits making the block. She gave directions for a twelve inch block and a six inch block, and I wanted to make the six inch. But the measurements didn't work for me. I don't need the aggravation right now, so that goal is out. Kaput. Fail!

6. Start the cross-stitch quilt block project that first made me want to learn to quilt. Luckily, I didn't say this had to start in January. I don't need to start any projects right now. So far, another fail.

7. Take up Kate's Life in Pieces now official 15 Minute Challenge. This one has been a success and is helping me stay on track.

8. Limit my current projects to four. Success here too. So far, I only have three projects going.

9. Start Christmas projects in June. This is neither a success or fail yet as it isn't June yet. No use getting a head start, right?

10. Go to guild meetings. Now this one is kind of odd. I printed the membership form and thought of going to the January meeting even though it wasn't something I was particularly interested in. But then I noticed the fine print that said membership was half price after January. I guess their year starts in August. So that is something I'll do next month.

11. I want to find a Sweet Sixteen sit down quilting machine. This probably isn't going to happen until we finish building, and I don't really think that's going to happen this year. So fail here.

12. Take a Craftsy fitting class. I may have to call this one Kaput too. Without a real sewing space, sewing clothing is on the back burner. I'll wait until next month to call this a fail though.

13. Make a clothing project once a month. This one I am calling a fail and kaput. No way is this going to be possible every month. Removing it from my list. Maybe next year.

14. Build something for the house every week until the cabinets and organizers are done. I may have been over-zealous when I wrote that one. I have been building every week, but can't complete anything until we have sheetrock and final dimensions. So a fail here.

15. Take a scroll saw class. I haven't done this, so is is also a fail so far.

16. Exercise 15-30 minutes a day. Now how hard can this be? And yet, I haven't done it. A definite FAIL.

17. Cut out sugar and find 15 good autoimmune recipes by the end of January. Didn't get that done, so it's a fail but I'm not going to abandon this goal, just changing it to the end of February.

18. Stick to an autoimmune diet in February and then re-evaluate for March. Since #17 was a bust, obviously, this is a fail also. I'm changing this to read March and April.

19. On days that are over 50 degrees, work on landscaping 15-30 minutes. I'm changing this one to read "wind chill over 50 degrees" as I am a total wimp and 50 degrees with the wind blowing is just miserable.  I'm not calling this a fail just yet.

20. Join a book club. Well, finally. An out and out success. I have joined a book club and so far enjoying it.

My results this month were 7 successes, 10 fails, and 4 pending out of 21 goals.  2 of those failed goals will be removed from my list, which will help next month.

Recently, there was a segment on the local news that said people who write down their goals for the next day before going to bed tend to sleep better and longer than those who don't. I'm sure it is the peace of mind that comes from identifying a problem and planning the solution. That's one of the reasons I wanted to review my goals and hope I remember to do it again next month.

What about you? Do you review your goals every month or even more often?  Now I am off to exercise, so January won't be a complete loss.

Linking to:
Works-in-progress On Wednesday at Esther's Quilt Blog
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday Sewing Reports

I didn't have a good week with either 15 minutes of sewing or stash reduction. I got in 3 days putting in 15 minutes of sewing, but it was just barely 15 minutes each of those days. Because I wasn't sewing, I also didn't need any fabric, so didn't add to the stash. So that's good. But the downside is that I didn't use any stash either. The fabric I used was either the fabric I just bought, or fabric from my scrap boxes which I have already counted as used.

This was a week of cleaning and preparing for Hubby's Amateur Radio Winter Field Day held here at our home, or rather the field behind our home. That's when radio clubs across North America spend twenty-four hours outdoors on the radio trying to contact each other. Yes, that's right, those hardy souls in Canada, Alaska, and the frozen north United States set up their radios and antennas outside to talk on the radio. It was even cold here. It was supposed to be in the 60's, but it was a cold, gray day with intermittant showers and the guys who came took turns going outside to talk on the radio while the others came in to drink hot chocolate and coffee. They did a lot of chatting too. It seemed more like a grown up slumber party than a serious radio event, but what do I know. What I do know is that I spent Friday and Saturday cooking and washing dishes (two kinds of chili, potato soup, cornbread, beans, and cookies, plus making hot chocolate mix), and I was glad when my part was over.

I've got a few hours left today, so I can scoot up to the sewing machine and get some sewing done. I'd like to see 100% on next week's report. Check out the links below to see how everyone else is doing with their sewing time and stash reduction. See you next time.

Linking to:
15 Minutes to Stitch at Life in Pieces
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate

Sunday, January 21, 2018

End of Week Reporting for the Third Week of January

I had a fairly good week as far as spending 15 minutes in the sewing room. I spent six out of seven days sewing or prepping fabric to sew. I just couldn't work it in on Tuesday when bookkeeping took up my day and fried my brain. I'm keeping a spreadsheet to show how many days of the week I'm sewing, but I think I need to have a page tracking each day. I know I did something Wednesday, but I don't remember now what it was. That sounds like a good rainy Sunday project.  I don't expect to have good numbers next week.  Hubby went on a business trip early this week and brought home a cold.  Today, I woke up with a sore throat.  Drats!

I didn't unpack any fabric this week, at least not any of the quilting cotton I am tracking right now, but I did buy some fabric so I can finish a UFO. The sad thing is that I know I have enough scraps to finish this but I can't find any of my green or orange scraps. So I bought some inexpensive fabric from Walmart to finish this. It is going to be a wall hanging, so a cheaper fabric will be fine.

Linking to:
15 Minutes to Stitch at Life in Pieces
Sunday Stash at Quilt Paint Create

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Day of Loss Is a Day of Discovery

That's actually what the guy at Walmart told me as he was helping me. My day started out with me getting out of bed on time. Before you say 'so what?' in your head, let me tell you how unusual that is. I have a terrible time waking up in the morning. Insomnia does that to me; I feel like a big blob of molasses in the morning. The alarm rings and I turn if off and fall back into bed, melting back into my warm spot. But this morning I had a meeting at the library where someone was going to teach knitting and I actually stayed in solid form after turning off the alarm.

I bought my needles and yarn a couple of weeks ago and took it to the library last Saturday only to learn I had come on the wrong day. So I just left my supplies in the back seat so I would have them today. Except they weren't there. That's the bad thing about sharing a car. Hubby cleaned out the car so he could use it, and he remembers bringing in my needles and yarn, but he doesn't know where they are now. So I went to the library to tell them I wasn't coming, or rather wasn't participating and drove on to the next town to get some fabric for one of my quilting UFOs. That was the first frustration of my day.

The next frustration was not being able to find my scrap fabrics. I knew I only needed a few little strips of each fabric, and I really didn't want to go to the store. But last night I searched through at least twenty boxes and I never found even a scrap of fabric. I found a box marked winter clothes, so not all time wasted. But it meant a trip to town. And since I was going to town, I decided to take a pattern I made for foundation paper piecing. Somewhere, we have a printer with a scanner, but it must be in storage because I didn't find it in any of those boxes either. So my first stop was Office Depot. They have fancy new self-serve copiers since I last used them, and I couldn't figure them out. When I pressed the start button, it wanted a name and password. I had to wait in line at the printing desk while someone ordered business cards, and then I asked if there were directions how to use the machines and set up a password. The guy there said that wasn't needed, just push the cancel button and hit print. So I did. And it only printed half my pattern. Now there were three more people in line. So I just left.

Next stop was for fabric. Normally, I would pay for fabric with my credit card, but our card had fraudulent activity on it this week, so it was cancelled and we won't have new cards until next week. So I needed the cash I keep in my billfold in the car. Since I stopped carrying a purse, I don't carry cash with me. Just a driver license, credit card, phone, and keys weigh me down these days. My shoulder thanks me. Everything I used to carry in a purse, I now carry in the console of the car. But remember how I said Hubby cleaned out the car? Yeah, no billfold in the console either. I was limited to the twenty dollar bill I tucked into my pocket before I left home. I don't know if I've ever bought fabric for less than twenty dollars. This was going to be hard. I was going to have to tell myself no. And no. And no again.

That brings me back to the clerk-in-training at the store. I must have had a sour look on my face, or maybe that's just my usual look. I prefer to call it consternation as I deliberated the fabric choices and my limited budget. Finally, I made my decisions and he, being the chatty sort, asked me what I was going to make, and what all I needed to make it, and why not buy the batting and backing now too. That brought out my confession about losing stuff today. "Well," says the young philosopher, "your day of loss is also your day of discovery" as he pointed to the fabrics I picked out to complete my UFO. "You're a delightful optimist," I said, bringing a beaming smile to his face. "Of course, you aren't the one who lost your billfold either." Now I'm home, and ready to start working on this UFO. This is one of the UFOs on my first quarter list for Marci Girl Designs Finish-a-long.

This is the plan I made last night in MS Paint. I intend to use patterned fabric, but that's not on option in Paint.

And these are the fabrics I bought, some of which I may or may not use. I just didn't want to have to go back to the store once I get going.

Linking to:
UFO Busting at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland
MOP at Tweety Loves Quilting

Sunday, January 14, 2018

End of Week Reporting for the Second Week of January

I was hoping I wouldn't have to buy any fabric to finish the quilts I've started. But I didn't have enough of anything to bind the Cars quilt. I'm pretty sure I have some of the same stripe fabric I bought this week, but it must be hiding at the bottom of a box somewhere. So yes, I did buy a yard of fabric, a half yard of stripe and a half yard of yellow so I could make Susie's Magic Binding. Love that technique!

My stash numbers have also grown this week because I have continued to unpack fabric. So while my stash number has gone up, the actual fabric in my home is really not any different. Just a difference in found and unfound. Unpacking is not all bad though because I found my favorite ruler, a much needed space heater, a desk lamp, AND three UFO's. I might be able to play along with the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge by number after all. I thought I'd probably have to do them as I found them.

So without further yak yak, here is my stash report.

I'm also pleased to report that I have gotten in at least fifteen minutes of sewing every day this week. After posting this, I need to get to the machine or I won't be able to say that next week.

Linking to:
Sunday Stash at quilt paint create
15 Minutes to Stitch at Life in Pieces

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Prairie Dog Town

This prairie dog town is next to the campground at Caprock Canyons State Park. These little guys are fun to watch as they seem to be running around not paying any attention to cars or people on the road. But just take a step too close and suddenly, they whistle an alarm and then they all run toward their tunnels.

This town is on both sides of the road. What looks like lumps of clay or rocks in this picture is really lots of prairie dogs. The mounds around some of the holes are a little easier to see. Some holes are small, but others are quite large. The hole under the trash dumpster in the top right corner was so big that it looked like the corner of the dumpster could fall in.

Above is a cropped section of the same photo. See the prairie dogs now?

After a few minutes, they all come back out again as if nothing happened.

This little guy (or gal) was in an area by himself.  When he saw me watching him, he stood up and looked around like he just realized he was all alone.

He looked like he was about to jump in his hole, but then decided to stop and watch me.

I was ten to twelve feet away and keeping as still as I could, and he sat up again and just watched me.

After a few minutes, he turned his head to look around a little, but he never took his eyes off of me. When I walked off, he ducked into his hole. Searching for his friends who deserted him no doubt.

As I walked toward a road intersection to join Hubby, a startled prairie dog ran across the road.

Here is her glamour shot as she stopped beside a pot hole in the road.

She paused for a moment and then jumped into the pot hole. We waited a few minutes, but she never came out, so we walked over to the pot hole to see if she was crouched in the bottom.

It wasn't a pot hole at all! The prairie dogs had dug through the pavement and she was long gone!

Friday, January 12, 2018

2018 Finish A-Long First Quarter Goals

Leanne at she can quilt posted her 2018 First Quarter Linky the other day. I could just link to my year's UFO goals, but I decided to do a separate post for the Quarterly goals because I've almost finished my January UFO goal and because I haven't found where all my UFO's are packed yet.

1. Double Irish Chain.

2. I would really like to finish my trailer quilt. I keep thinking it will be in the next box I unpack, and so far, it hasn't been found. I never even took a picture of the blocks as I was making them, so I have nothing to show and I can't remember for sure how far along I had gotten on it. So I should mark this as a maybe.  If I can't find the trailer quilt, I'll finish the Jacob's Ladder top.

3. Then there is this little orphan block.

It's been in the way for a few weeks now and I really need to make use of it in something before it gets messed up. I could make a bin for orphans but that would only encourage them to grow. No, I need to do something with it.

So there is my list, and I am linking to she can quilt because I. Am. In!

Now if I can just remember to link up again at the end of the quarter.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday

A couple of days before Christmas, we camped at Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, Texas. This is my favorite camping destination. The park has a herd of wild buffalo, prairie dogs, and some pronghorn antelope. We have yet to see the antelope. This time we walked the canyon rim.

On one side of the trail is the flat plain of the caprock.

On the other side of the trail is the canyon dropping down from the caprock's edge. Here and there along the trail are paths that lead right to the edge of the canyon for great shots of the canyon and surprise shots of husbands taking photos of the canyon.

From these vantage points are breathtaking views into the canyon.

Linking to:
Wordless Wednesday at Comedy Plus
Wordless Wednesday at Wordless Wednesday
Wordless on Tuesday at image-in-ing
Blog Hop at Curious as a Cathy

NC Sue, if you are reading this, I wanted to comment on your cotton boll pictures but can't comment on your blog anymore without joining Google Plus. I love that you grew them and got them to go through all the stages. I've always thought it was a pretty plant, but never noticed that the blooms turned pink. Driving down the road, that isn't very noticeable I guess, so I was thrilled to see it.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Design Wall Monday - Cars is Quilted!

This weekend and this morning, I spent just about every waking hour quilting and it will be the last time I quilt on my little Janome. My shoulder may never recover!

It looks distorted in these pictures but that's because I didn't have Hubby here to hold it and I had to stuff the corners in a couple of cabinets to hold it up. At least I hope it's not distorted. After all the pushing and pulling this weekend, I should probably block it before binding.

It didn't help that I was working in the trailer with my machine on a tv dinner table. I also haven't found my quilting gloves yet either, but found that my dishwashing rubber gloves have a better grip. Who knew? lol

Jo from Jo's Country Junction is doing a BOM Challenge in 2018. The challenge is to finish a BOM that is a basically a UFO. The assignment for this week was to find said project. That might be easy for some quilters, but when most of my stuff is in boxes, unmarked boxes at that, it made it a little more difficult for me. I didn't find my BOM. In her post describing the challenge, Jo said that the reason she doesn't like BOM's is that it seems such a waste to spend all that time reading directions and cutting just for one block. That clicked with me and I realized that I feel the same way. When people talk about doing a sampler challenge, I just cringe. So thank you Jo for not making me feel guilty when I say no to samplers.

Here is my BOM, even though I haven't found the actual project yet. This is what it looked like the last time I saw it. I only have one block left to finish. I'm not sure why I never finished it, except it was the first BOM I had ever done and I was tired of it by the time I got to the last block.

I'm linking to:
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts
Moving it Forward at Em's Scrapbag
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Sunday, January 7, 2018

End of Week Reporting

Although my numbers don't show it, it's been a really good week for me. I've been quilting the Cars quilt the last few days. It's a toddler size quilt, but it feels like a queen when I'm trying to pull it through the neck of my little machine. I thought of sending it out, but I want Hubby to deliver it next week and the quilter has backlog, so that wasn't going to happen.

I've also been working on a cabinet that will house my stash. After stripping the interior, I stained it, but it isn't taking the stain as dark as I'd like it to be. I may just call it good and go on. It's the inside after all. Friday, Hubby and I went to Fort Worth to find some wood to replace the cheapo backing that was originally on the cabinet, and we bought some plywood to start building cabinets. He spent the weekend wiring which freed me to quilt. My shoulders and back are killing me but I should be finished soon. I've been almost glad to spend time ripping out stitches so I can relax a little.

Starting with the stash report. Although I didn't use or buy any fabric for the stash, the numbers have changed nevertheless. I found a box with scraps and some fabric.

I'm using Kate's format to track my 15 Minute Sewing Challenge.
I spent at least fifteen minutes sewing for five days this week.
And since it's the first week of the year, that's five days this month.
And five days this year.
That's a 71% success rate for the first week of January.

Linking to:
15 Minute Challenge at Life in Pieces
Stash Report at Quilt, Paint, Create

Monday, January 1, 2018

Getting a Fast Start in the New Year

The sun is out today, after what seems like a week of misty, gray skies. Yesterday was cold, gray, and windy. Today is just cold and windy, but it seems so much better. Happy New Year sun!

Yesterday, I was going to iron the backing fabric for Cars, but I had been sorting my scraps by color and didn't have another place to put them. So I shelved the ironing plan, or rather, I wanted to shelve it, but I have run out of shelves! Instead, I put together a hutch I found on craigslist a couple of years ago. I had painted it black to match my dining room table, but when we put our house on the market, I took it apart and put it in storage to make the house look uncluttered. After putting it back together, I realized how much my eyes have gone downhill. I have been having trouble seeing dark things against dark backgrounds, but I couldn't even tell where the outside frame ended and the open inside area began. This wasn't going to work at all.

By evening, I had decided to strip the paint inside the hutch to make that part lighter. The temperature in the attic was a balmy 44 degrees and dropping, and I wasn't sure Citristrip would work in that temperature. I usually do my stripping in summer and have to worry about it drying out, not freezing. lol But I brushed it on and went back to the trailer to eat dinner. Afterward, I ran a wide blade across it and the paint peeled off like skimming froth off the top of a boiling pot. It was amazing. Today, I'll sand and stain, and I should be able to use it in a few days.

In the meantime, I need to find a place to put my sorted scraps, and get Cars sandwiched. Today, the top is in the flimsy state. Finishing Cars is my January Goal at One Monthly Goal. I've already decided that the UFO challenge at American Patchwork & Quilting won't work for me. I've already lost it on my facebook feed among the random crap that people post.

If I can get the backing made today and pinned tomorrow, I think I can set up a sewing table in the trailer where it is warm. If that doesn't work, I'll have to wait until it is warmer in the attic. Hubby is drilling through studs for wiring today, so it is too dusty downstairs to do anything. His January goal is to finish the bathrooms in the house. I will admit, taking a shower without running out of hot water sounds pretty good.

In 2014, scraphappy at soscrappy posted a tutorial for making a Twinkle Star block. I made a couple and then put them aside, and then forgot about them. I found one the other day and after watching Kate at Life in Pieces make her Twinkle Stars quilt, I've decided to make that my block for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month's color is blue. I also hope this will make a good leaders and enders project.

Linking to:
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts