Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Off To A Good Start

I'm not sure where it went, but January has come and gone. Already. I sure could have used a few extra days.  But, I have to say, it was a good month.  While we didn't get the snow day I was hoping for, we did enjoy  going back to sleep for a couple hours on our late start day!  And most importantly, we all made it through the month healthy and happy!

I can not even tell you how much I am enjoying my new sewing space.  I still get giddy walking into the room (even though there is still a stack of empty plastic bins and a few odd jobs left to take care of).  Having a place for everything and everything in its place makes sewing SO much more fun.  I can actually find what I need, and I have everything within reach, so I can get right to work.  Most importantly, I am so motivated to keep it that way that I tidy everything up at the end of a sewing session.  (I know, I know, this is all common sense, and the way it should have been all along, but, for me, this is a new concept!)  I just love looking around the room and seeing all these things that make me happy.

I've managed to sew a little bit most days this month, or at least to do something creative if I just couldn't get to the machine.  Some days I just had time for a quick doodle or pairing some fabrics, but I have tried really hard to feed my creative soul every day.  I've felt pretty on top of things in general, and have managed to set and stick with a meal plan most days.  It just feels so good to be in the groove, and not like I'm flailing around.

The tool that is helping the most is The Quilter's Planner.  I treated myself to one this year, ordering almost as soon as the order date was announced.  I am SO glad I did.  It was a fabulous investment.  This planner is gorgeous and substantial.  Its as much a pleasure to use as it is impossible to ignore!   I have quickly settled into a routine of setting aside some planner time every few days.  I go over schedules and update various other family calendars, make to do lists and check off items, and break down progress toward the goals I set at the beginning of the month.

For this first month of the year, Stephanie, the creator of The Quilters Planner, has given a daily prompt on Instagram.  Many of them focused on goal setting, and some were just for fun, like sharing our favorite writing tools.  I haven't posted daily, but playing along and watching everyone else's posts helped me to commit to using my planner actively.  I wish the prompts could go on all year, and I'm hoping Stephanie has something else in store for us later on!  The Planner had become a place to practice doodling, to capture thoughts and moments I want to remember and, of course, to keel information.

The Quilter's Planner is FULL of wonderful quilting resources.  I have only just begun to explore them, and I'm sure I'll be using this book as a reference for years to come.  The part of the resource section I"ve used the most so far is the project planner.  An idea struck one night, and instead of jotting things down on a random paper, I grabbed my planner and got to work!  As I started cutting, I had all the measrements there and could check them with just a glance.  I've even added a little tracker to color in as blocks get finished!  The project is called "Candy Hearts" and it has a Feb. 14th deadline.  If I continue to stay organized and productive, I might just make it!

I haven't quite met all the goals I set at the beginning of the month.  But, I'm focused, and I will keep working toward them.  And that's the whole point, isn't it?  These little check boxes right here made the difference between posting tonight and not posting!  So fun to check one more off!

I look forward to sharing progress pictures for Candy Hearts, and my "When Life Gives You Scraps" project.  February will be a good month for blogging!

Unfortunately, I think that The Quilter's Planner for 2017 is no longer available.  But, do yourself a favor and make a note to order yourself one next year.  I love mine, and the good start it has helped me make in 2017!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mini-Charm Garland: A Quick Finish

Sometimes, a quick finish is just what I need!  Especially when life gets hectic (wait, when ISN"T it??)  it feels really good to sit down, spend an hour, and get something done, start to finish.

See that cute little garland dressing up the top of my new pegboard?  That was a perfect one hour or less project.  And, for something so simple, I think it packs a pretty big punch.  It makes me happy every time I walk into the sewing room.  Well, pretty much everything in the room does, but the garland is at the top of the list!

I started with a mini-charm pack.  I had received three of these cute little stacks of fun in my Christmas package from my pen pal, Rose. One of them, Handmade from Bonnie and Camille, fit my sewing room colors, perfectly.  I chose fourteen charms that I loved, and laid them out, balancing for color and pattern.

Then, I folded over the top quarter inch of each one, pressing on the fold.

I chose some cute baker's twine (this came from Target's Christmas clearance.  It was a steal!) that coordinated nicely.

Then, I just zigzagged over the fold, making sure to catch the twine with the stitch.  I stitched right over the gaps between charm squares.  It's not noticeable at all!

I tied a quick loop on each end, and it was ready to go!  It was so quick and easy, that I made one for Rose, too!

These could work in several places, don't you think?  The mantel , the top of a book case, a window.  Sew many possibilities!

I am linking up at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Be Social,

I've also just discovered Tips and Tutorials Tuesday hosted by Quilting Jetgirl and Late Night Quilter!  What a great resource for new ideas!  Thanks, Yvonne, for suggesting that just link up!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

New Year, New Space

Let me be the last person in the Quilt Blog  Universe to say, "Happy New Year!"  Time has flown and 2017 is already more than two weeks old!  The short holiday break was full of the usual get-togethers and traditions for my little family.  But, it was also a busy time full of working on a very special project - my new sewing space!

I have had plans and ideas for a lovely new sewing room swimming in my brain forever.  Last Christmas, my husband gave me a gift card to cover the cost of paint and some other items I had said I wanted to add to the space. (Romantic, huh?)   A full year went by, and we never set aside time to clear the room and paint!  How does that happen?  Busy kids, busy lives, I guess.  In August, I got serious about purging and boxing up fabric.  But, that means that since August, I haven't had access to much of my stuff, AND, we've been living with a growing pile of boxes and bins in our bedroom!  It was time to REALLY make some changes.

I stayed up late on December 25th and 26th completely clearing the room, organizing non-sewing craft supplies on new shelves in the closet, and taking down existing shelves and fixtures.

I love this closet, now.  The girls and I can find exactly what we need, and it's pretty simple to put thingsome back where we found them.

On the 27th, while my girls and I shopped (it was a "Sister Day", so I had to remain several paces behind them.  Oh, and drive them to the mall and pay for everything!) my husband painted the room!  Yaaaay!  It was really happening!
My first thought was, "Ummmm, that's a LOT of blue..."

Over the next week, we completed several projects.  Well, he completed them for me, really.  He's a good guy. like that.  I now have a peg board, a design wall, and a wall full of bookshelves.  We cleaned up the table that we bought 17 years ago as our kitchen table for our first house.  We used it until a few years ago, in fact, and I can't believe how SMALL it is!  How did we manage to feed two kids and us at that table?  But, it's perfect and cute in my new space!

My youngest daughter and I spent many, many lovely hours folding and organizing fabric.  She LOVES color, and she had a blast organizing the stacks of neatly folded fabric and filling the scrap baskets.  She told me several times how much fun it was to work in the room with me.  I loved every minute of it.

Possibly my favorite part of the room.  I just love the fun and functionality of tiPhil peg board!

So, the construction of the design was almost a deal breaker.  Amazing how different the process in MY head was than in the engineering brain of my husbandaughter.  But, it was worth it!!!  

There are a few areas that still need work. But, I imagine the space will evolve and change as we settle in and get back to the business of creating.  For now, I'm enjoying a little thrill every time I walk in to the room.  I have spent some small stretches of time sewing over the last few days.  The new arrangement of the room and the placement of all my supplies seems to be working out very well.  I can't wait to see what I make in this space this year!