Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What's On The Bookshelf Wednesday - Just In The Nick Of Time...

Hi, all!

It's Wednesday, the holidays are over, and I got a bunch of new books for Christmas!  And there's one that's just perfect to share today, because I'm sure I'm not the only one cleaning out my sewing studio and attempting a reorganization...

This week's book is called Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter, by Carolyn Woods.  Ms. Woods, a professional residential organizer, has done an excellent job of showing the steps to go from this.... a useful, organized, and functional space that will spark your inner muse and make you want to create!!  The first section of the book walks you through determining the causes of your clutter, then helps you set goals to deal with the clutter.  Goal setting includes setting a time frame so it doesn't take forever!  Then she moves on to Storage Options.

This section is broken down into three parts:  fabric storage; thread, notions, tools and more; and project and UFO storage.

I particularly liked her use of all types of organization products that might not immediately spring to mind when organizing a sewing studio.  The under-shelf basket shown above holding ribbons is a great idea!

She also shows some very unexpected and very inexpensive storage options, many times repurposing common household items that would ordinarily wind up in the trash.  The picture above shows repurposed deli food containers...

...while this picture shows repurposed baby food containers used to sort tiny notions!  I recently threw away piles of these I had stored in the attic - sure wish I had them now!

And how about using a dishwasher utensil basket for holding your small tools?  This section of the book will make you look at things with an eye to storage - you'll be surprised how many places you see unexpected storage!

I also love the idea of using an over-the-door shoe storage unit to hold fabric - I use mine to hold large cones of thread!

There's also a section about quilting on the go - a great place to find ways to stay organized when you take your quilting on the road!  

And then there's my favorite idea and picture in the book - this adorable pincushion on the head of a golf tee - and the golf tee holds a matching bobbin on the spool of thread below it!  

All in all, I found this to be a great book, and very useful in my current "The Space Between" project (see more about this in my post from Monday) as I reorganize my sewing studio.


So that's what's on my bookshelf today!  Have you taken a look at yours lately?



Monday, December 28, 2015

Make-A-List Monday - The Space Between

Hi, all!

I've entitled this post "The Space Between" because that's what this week - the week between Christmas and New Year's - feels like to me.  The mad rush up to Christmas is over, but the new year hasn't yet begun.  This is the week when I work on regrouping for a new year.  Do you have a similar tradition?

But before I get into my plans for this week, let's check and see how last week's list went....

1.  Finish the repair work on the antique quilt top.
Done!  This was quite a job, but I learned a whole lot while doing it.  And it turned out really nicely, if I say so myself!

Here it is, laid out to be basted.  

2.  Make a back for the top and determine the best way to finish it.
Done!  I backed it with 90" wide muslin, and no batting.  The quilt was too delicate to do much quilting on, so I just ditch-stitched along the lines of the blocks and around the border before binding.

3.  Have a very merry Christmas!
Definitely done!  In fact, we had so much fun we actually forgot to take pics. Fortunately, my husband captured this moment when the girls both found recorders in their stockings, and gave us an impromptu concert.  Don't you love Lilli's earmuffs?  I think they may have been her favorite gift - she literally wore them all. day. long....

And, in addition to a whole lot of great fabric and quilt kits (and an OlisoPro iron!) I got a big surprise...

A FitBit!  I'm really enjoying seeing just how active (or inactive) I am each day, and it is motivating me to get up and do more.  Now if it can just help me lose more weight (faster)!  One good thing about losing weight - people tend to buy you fabric instead of clothes...

4.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Only one request last week - this quilt went to a young woman who was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer...

So all in all, not a bad week at all.  Of course, it was a pretty simple list.  But I'm really glad to have finished the antique quilt and returned it to its owner - I've had it w-a-a-a-y too long!  I really work much better under a deadline...

And now for this week, better known as The Space Between... or...

I have already started on the work, but here's a few pics of what it looked like at the beginning...

This is pretty close to normal, except there's usually tubs of scraps under the front of the long arm frame.  I had already moved them when I finally thought to take pictures.

Behind the frame.  It's become a catch-all/hiding place for all sorts of things, plus there's drawer space on the right that is still empty.

Oh, this mess!  Piles on the floor under the window (and in the window) that look just terrible and are gathering dust...

My sewing/cutting/ironing table and the shelving behind it.  Generally, a cluttered mess.

And a better shot showing all the mess on those shelves. No organization at all!

And here are some shots of the progress so far...

Who knew there was a floor in front of that window?

And I've made some headway on the shelving unit at the end of the cutting table, and the top of the shelves behind my sewing station.  Still need to tackle the shelves, though!

Unfortunately, I managed to throw out my back sometime between last night when I went to bed and when I got up this morning, so I've been moving a little slowly today.  Did some template making on the kitchen floor for my husband this morning - he's putting down a new floor for us in the kitchen this week - and helped him bring in some pieces of sub-flooring, but that was about all my back was taking.  I did some light cleaning in the studio, but the heavy stuff will have to wait.

So this week, I will be cleaning and re-organizing my studio in order to have a great fresh start for the new year!  Because...

That number needs a little tweaking - it's really 362 days now...

I'm really looking forward to the new year - on my horizon, there's Hands2Help 2016 (of course), the Twelve Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop (stay tuned for details), and a special project I'm going to be working on for a big celebration.  You'll be seeing more about that as time goes on.  Plus working with the quilt ministry to keep putting quilts in the hands of those who desperately need them!  It's going to be a great year!

So now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Thursday, December 24, 2015

For Unto Us A Child Is Born!

As you go to sleep tonight, instead of thinking of hooves on the rooftop and a jolly old man saying “ho ho ho”, think of this….

A brisk cold winter’s night, the air so cold it chills all it touches.  Sheep drowsily resting on a hilltop, watched by equally drowsy shepherds.  Silence spreads across the landscape, but there is an air of anticipation in the silence…

And in the town below, in a small stone stable, a young woman labors to give birth.  The animals surround her with the low sounds of chewing and breathing, a gentle background to the sounds of pain as she struggles to bring forth her child.

In the heavens, all of the angels are watching and waiting for the fulfillment of the promise made by God over the centuries.  Watching to see what will happen in the tiny town of Bethlehem….

And then they hear the tiny cry of a new born babe!  Unable to contain their shouts of joy, the angels burst forth in song, praising the Glory of God born to set man free.  All of creation joins in the song that cannot be silenced, the song that still goes on today - for the work of that tiny babe has been completed on the cross, and mankind has been redeemed for all time. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Make-A-List Monday - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Hi, all!

As I write this, it is the shortest day of the year - the winter solstice.  The days will start getting longer from here on out, but with the cold weather, it's a great time for quilting! I hope each of you will have some time in the next couple of weeks during the holiday to get in some fun sewing time...

But for now, it's time to see how last week's list went.  Here goes...

1.  Prepare luncheon for our church staff on Wednesday.  (This involves a lot of cooking on Tuesday!)
Done!  And of course, I forgot to take pictures - but we had a great spread of ham, sweet potato casserole, warm potato salad, green beans, broccoli salad, cranberry relish, and rolls, plus pies for dessert for the twenty-plus staff members to enjoy!

2.  Sewing with the folks at church on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
Done!  Wednesday night, I actually managed to finish a quilt top and back for it, and Thursday morning I spent pressing and folding blue scraps so they can be cut into usable sizes next.

3.  Lilli's Christmas program at school Thursday night.
So much fun!  The second grade did a production of "A Bug's Christmas", with the termites invading and stealing the lights from the Christmas tree (they're HUNGRY!) and the fireflies coming in to save the day!

4.  Supervise cookie-making on Friday with the grandkids - all three, because school lets out that day!
My husband is such a great Papa - he baked cookies with Lilli all morning!  I supervised decorating of sugar cookies with the little ones - they had a blast - then we moved upstairs to play while Lilli and Papa baked.  Both littles are w-a-y too interested in the hot ovens to make baking with them around safe!

While we were upstairs playing, Emmy found a roll of fabric ribbon.  The look on her face reminds me of me with fabric!!

5.  Work on an antique quilt top repair job for a friend.
In progress!  I'm happy to say this project is coming along well - I finally figured out that I can secure the illusion over the worn pieces using my sewing machine and invisible thread, and that is moving the process along much faster!  But there's a lot to repair on this quilt, and I've got a long way to go!

Here's a  pic of the repair work in progress...

... and here's a really good example of why this quilt is worth the extensive repairs I'm making!  The embroidery on this quilt is quite stunning - I can't wait to show you the quilt in its entirety!

6.  Finish wrapping the Christmas presents.
Done - and actually early! I'm so happy I won't be wrapping for hours on Christmas eve!

7.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.
Done! It was a quiet week, only two quilts...

This quilt went to a gentleman just diagnosed with terminal cancer...

And this quilt is now covering a woman with serious kidney issues.

We also received this wonderful picture of a recipient of the quilts we sent to an Ethiopian orphanage earlier this month. That smile says it all!

I finished the binding on this sweet baby quilt, too - those sunflowers are 3-D and so cute!!! The top was donated to the ministry, and Lisa, one of the ministry members, quilted it on Grace, our BlockRockIt.

So all in all, a really good week. I feel like I'm ready for Christmas, plus I'm making good headway on the quilt repair job, which has been sitting around for much too long.  Let's see what's in store for this week!

1.  Finish the repair work on the antique quilt top.

2.  Make a back for the top and determine the best way to finish it.

3.  Have a very merry Christmas!

4.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

That's going to be all for this week - I would really like to finish the antique quilt top before the new year and put it back into my friend's hands.  He's been waiting way too long, having told me that there wasn't any rush (always a mistake - I work much better under a deadline!)  Then it will be time for my annual quilting studio clean-up!

So now, the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?

Hugs and Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? All The Quilts Are Done!!

Hi, all!

It's Friday, the LAST ONE BEFORE CHRISTMAS - - - yes, it's finally here!  And I'm so happy to say that all my quilt-y gifts are finished - actually early!  I hope you'll be able to share some of your crafting, too - so let's get to it!


Let's start with Nathanael's quilt...

Lots of bright colors...

...and a really cute focus print with letters and line drawings of monsters, octopuses, dinosaurs - lots of "boy" things!!  

The back is made with a great "I-Spy" strip print - once again, lots of boy things, like cars, space ships, rockets, hippos, airplanes - there's something new to see everywhere you look!  And I appliquéd his name on the back, too.  Since Nathanael is just now learning his letters, I thought this would be a fun quilt to help him learn new words and a great chance for us to learn some ASL signs together!

Just for fun, I took some pics of Nathanael's quilt on the jungle gym.  I like the colors of the climbing footholds with the colors in the quilt!

And one last shot just for fun!


And now for Lilli's quilt!  Lilli requested rainbows and princesses this year, so I chose to make a Princess and The Pea quilt.  This was a fun quilt to make, with plenty of appliqué to keep me on my toes...

Of course, there was a princess, and I made her to look a lot like Lilli, with pretty blond hair and a nightgown in her favorite color...

...and a pea under the bottom coverlet!  (Because you gotta have a pea to make the story work!)

And speaking of the story, I printed out a short version of the story on label fabric and pieced it into the back of the quilt, so she'll always have it!

And then it was time for quilting!  Lots of "peas" (pebbling) and some pea pods, too...

...some feathers and swirlies...

I guess I should say lots of peas, swirls and feathers...

...I mean, LOTS AND LOTS of feathers, swirls and peas...

But finally I made it to the end of the quilt!  I love graffiti quilting, but boy, it takes a long time!!

And oh, it is so worth it when you see the beautiful texture!!

Take a look at the finished quilt - princesses and rainbows, as requested by Miss Lilli, gray to work in her bedroom as requested by her mom.  Think she'll like it?

And for any who are interested, this is what the back looks like - it doesn't show the quilting very well because the print is busy, but it is also rainbow colored and matches most of the colors in the front well.  It also has a lot of purple and pink in it, which are Lilli's favorite colors!

And so, all of the annual quilts for the grandkids are finished!  (You can see Emmy's quilt on last week's Whoop Whoop post.)  

Can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you dance a happy dance?

Share - we want to dance right along with you!

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight - 

Hope to see you there!