Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Planning Party

I've decided to join the 2018 Planning Party Linkup hosted by Yvonne - Quilting JetGirl


Yes, I waited until the last day of the year to decide to do this. Of course I've been thinking about it, but I just wasn't sure that I was ready to commit. You know, once you put something in writing, especially on a blog, there are a number of people who find pleasure in reminding you that you forgot to do something or that you are late in posting something. 

Nevertheless, I've decided to do it and not stress out about it. 

In terms of quilting, I am not going to do what I have in the past and pick particular UFOs to complete. Although it would be nice to do that and get them all done, I'm being realistic and purposely not forcing myself to work on something that just doesn't "fit" my mood. I'm purposely going to be a bit vague on other quilting goals as well, but they will be quantifiable and attainable.

I will do the following, in no particular order:

1) Complete at least six UFOs in the next 12 months. That's one every two months and I think that's realistic.

2) Complete at least 12 donation quilts in the next 12 months. These will include quilts for Hands2Help and Quilts of Valor. There may be more, but I'm not sure. If all goes well, some of the UFOs will be used for donations. 

3) I plan to participate in at least one Quilt Along. I enjoyed the Wayward Transparency QAL and learned a lot doing it. Since I always want to learn something in each of my projects, this Quilt Along surpassed my expectations and has encouraged me to participate in others. I'll be kind of picky in terms of which one(s) I chose to participate, but there will be at least one.

4) I am involved in a pattern testing right now and have been enjoying that. I have already found ways that I can write better patterns myself as well as be a better teacher, so I would like to participate in at least one pattern testing during 2018. 

5) Since I mentioned bettering my pattern writing and becoming a better quilt teacher, I want to revisit at least six of my patterns during 2018 and make updates and changes as needed. 

6) Write at least two blog posts per week. Included in this will be learning to take better photos so they enhance my posts. With that enhancement, I hope to offer much better tutorials, especially for when I participate in blog hops, etc. 

7) I want to actively help spread the joy of quilting. I've been involved with Scott Fortunoff, President of Jaftex, in helping to secure sewing machines for people who have lost theirs due to disasters, etc., but I want to do more. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do, but I'll do something. If you are interested, check out Scott's Facebook page or his blog on the Studio e website.  

8) And finally, as many of us always say, I want to be more organized in my quilting adventure. This is not limited to just cleaning up my space, but includes being better prepared for classes I offer, not procrastinating when making class samples or completing custom orders, and also be careful to not overbook myself, which creates chaos and tension.  

Personally, I would like to do the following:

1) Travel a little with Jack. There are a number of places that we've talked about, but just never seem to get around to organizing the trips. These are not necessarily BIG travel plans, but just some short trips that could last anywhere from one to five days. 

2) Read more for pleasure - not just quilting related books. You'd think that belonging to a book club would help that, but I think I missed at least five meeting nights in 2017. I don't want to do that again. 

3) Get more sleep. Because of my lack of organization, I often find myself not sleeping well. Hopefully this goal will be easily accomplished because of better organization.

4) Write more letters. While e-mail and texting are fine, I want to send actual cards and letters.

5) Enjoy family time more frequently. This not only includes my immediate family, but extended as well.

Ok, I think that's enough for now. Many of these goals overlap and working on one will affect the success of another.

What are your goals for 2018? If you choose to set goals, good luck with achieving them and Happy New Year!

It's For the Birds

As promised, here are a few more bird pictures that I thought you might enjoy. To see the previous pictures, click HERE.

Check out the wing on this bird. There is a stick going right through it.


We first noticed this bird Saturday morning, and Jack and I were worried that he was injured and might not survive the freezing temperatures. Much to our surprise, we've seen him every day, including today. The stick is still there and he's still pretty darn aggressive towards the other birds. I guess I would be too if I had a stick in my wing. We'll continue to look for him every day and keep our fingers crossed that he survives.


There is no shortage of birds just about every time we look outside. Not only are they on the feeders, they congregate underneath them, in the trees and bushes, and even on our back porch.  


We love seeing the male cardinals, since they are such a bright red. The kids love to see them too, and we've been seeing a lot lately. This is just one, but it's not unusual to see three or four of them at a time. Cardinals always make me think of my sister Pat, who lives in Washington. I can't imagine not seeing these beautiful birds, so this picture is for you Pat!  ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’–


I enjoy seeing more than one bird on the sunflower feeder. 


We've got a couple of woodpeckers that come every day, but this is the only one I've been able to capture on film. (When Avery saw this, she asked if it was a woodbanger bird. That made me smile!)


Here's an interesting bird. Take a look at the bird in the middle of the picture. I took this picture and it's not great.  


Jack's daughter Linda was able to get much better pictures.  


None of us have ever seen this before. It has all the features of a female cardinal, except that white head.


It's quite fascinating to us. 


We've seen her every day since the 22nd. 


We continue to enjoy feeding and watching this birds. I've got additional pictures with another grandchild that I'll share later.

Stay warm and be safe if you are going out to celebrate tonight.

Helpers!

It's been quiet here on the blog over the last week, but that's only because we've been busy celebrating with family and friends.

In my previous post, I had pictures of our Christmas celebration here on Dec. 22nd, but I didn't share pictures of earlier that day when Avery and Peyton were here. They came early while Lynn and Ty ran errands, etc. Because it was just the girls (we figured Layne should probably stay with Lynn), we had lots of time to play and enjoy some alone time with them.

As with all the grandkids, Avery and Peyton love to be helpers. They helped Grandpa Jack fill the bird feeders. (Notice that the girls are wearing short sleeves. It was pretty warm that day {Dec. 22nd}, but that didn't last long. Check out the pictures at the end of the post that I took Dec. 23rd.) 


After filling the feeders, you really do have to come inside to check out which birds came to enjoy a feast.


Of course when you're using binoculars to check out birds, you have to check out each other too.


And when there are gifts under the tree, binoculars help you read the names written on each package. 


And in Peyton's case, you have to check out your favorite tree ornaments.


It was a good thing they filled those feeders because this is what it was like outside the very next day.



 

I have a lot more pictures to share, but I've got work to do. Perhaps I'll share them later today or tomorrow.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Quiet Time Follows Christmas Time

It is so quiet at our house right now, but it hasn't been that way since 11:00 this morning. To accommodate work schedules and other family commitments, we had our family Christmas today.

It was a rainy day so there were six adults and seven children ages 4 months to 9 years old, anxiously awaiting and then playing with Christmas gifts, enjoying a special holiday meal, and basically just having a good LOUD time. It was wonderful!

Before the gifts were exchanged, all seven kids were in the front room playing with blocks. They were so good and got along great. Check out the HUGE pile of quilts in the background. The grandkids are always allowed to play with quilts when they are here. I get a kick out of watching them choose which quilt they want. There wasn't much time for them today, but the pile did get a good going over to find the perfect one for Bailey when she wanted to sit on my lap.


And quilts make a great cover for a gift that is too big to wrap. That looks like a grill, doesn't it? 


Look how attentive the kids are when Nikki was taking a picture!


The annual "special" book from Grandma and Grandpa followed by a fun-filled stocking always happens before the actual gift exchange. Apples are always found in the stocking, along with a few other items that are meant to intrigue.


Bailey found a troll hair headband in her stocking and she looked adorable wearing it. 


Remember that big gift that looked like a grill? It was a big Barbie house that was a huge hit with all the kids. Nikki and Zach got it for Avery and Peyton and they didn't realize how big it was until they went to pick it up. It was so inexpensive that she couldn't pass up the deal, even though it was huge. Ty just shook his head when he saw how big it is. All of the kids played with that house off and on the entire day. It was a big hit! 


Pirate Ronan had fun and was adorable wearing the hat and eye patch. He even had the pirate growl down pat by the end of the day. It was fun to watch when the pirate was playing with Barbie in her house. 


Bailey loves her ladybug riding toy; and Quinn and Sadie were having fun with their gifts too.


While the youngsters and I played in the back room, Nikki, Lynn, Zach, Ty, and Jack prepared our annual Christmas meal that includes mac and cheese, shrimp, crab legs and a few other specialties. 

After eating, it was time for more playing and we all had a blast. I laughed out loud around 7:30 when Peyton came running to me and said, "Oh no, Grandma! We forgot to take a nap today." I just picked her up and gave here a big kiss. She's right. There were no naps today, except for Layne; but it wasn't until they were packing up a little bit ago that any of the kids started showing signs of being tired. I'm pretty sure none of them made it more than a couple of miles from here before they were sound asleep. 

I love days like this. Yes, it was LOUD and crazy; but it's so quiet now that it seems odd. I'd much rather have the noise. :-)

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you get to spend your days with loved ones. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

More Projects

I've recently been asked to make Faith Hope and Love wall hangings for a couple people. The good thing is that since I've already made them, it was easy and I didn't have to hold my breath and hope that the pattern was correct. The "bad" thing is that I sometimes get bored when I make a quilt more than once. Nevertheless, I'm happy with the results and so are the recipients. 

As requested, I made all three sets using the same fabric so I'm only posting one picture here. I'm hoping that the final recipients (they are Christmas gifts) will enjoy them.


 Annie and I had an umbrella class this past Thursday. Here are a few pictures of the umbrellas made by the courageous ladies who braved the winter storm in order to get to the class.  Thank you ladies! We had a wonderful time and we love your creations.

I love the fabrics Chris chose! She did a great job and was very quick too. :-)




Bonnie is shy and didn't want her picture taken. Her fabric brighten up the classroom and almost made us forget about the snow and cold. 



Beth and Jeanie were a lot of fun, just like their fabric choices! 




 Jeanie's key fabric was really neat and I love the finished umbrella!


Isn't this fabric fun? 


Kathy didn't want to show her face either, but I love how this umbrella turned out. I think it looks like raindrops on the umbrella. The best part for her was that the fabric was on sale. Yay!


 Diane's umbrella fabric umbrella (would you say her umbrella umbrella? ๐Ÿ˜‰) looks great! She was going to alternate panels with a really fun big dot fabric, but decided to make two umbrellas - one from each fabric. I look forward to seeing the next one. 


It's fun to teach these classes and I always look forward to seeing the finished project. I know some people that are getting some homemade umbrellas for Christmas! Yay!!!

I finished the Wayward Transparency quilting, but don't have a good picture to show. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Design Wall Monday

I know it's the end of the day, but I'm going to go ahead and post a Design Wall/Monday Making post anyway.  

I made two version the Wayward Transparency quilt as part of the Quilting Jetgirl Quilt Along - the large one is set on point and measures 68"x 68", but there is a smaller version that measures 48" x 48". I'm quilting that one right now. 


There are so many different layout options for this quilt! Whether you are making the larger or smaller quilt, you make 4 blocks that measure 24" and then set them in whatever layout option you want. For the larger version, you simply add triangles to the corners and viola! you have a larger quilt. 

It's hard to see n the picture above, but I am quilting this in a continuous spiral design. I'm really happy with how this is looking.


It's amazing what tricks the lighting plays on fabric when you are trying to take pictures. Honestly, these are all the same quilt! 



I'm pretty happy with my ability to slow down and keep the spacing  between the quilting lines consistent.



Of course that was after the very rough herky-jerky start I had at the beginning. I WILL be going back and fixing that! 


I hope to complete this tomorrow and get busy on the binding soon after that. I have yet to figure out how I'm going to quilt the large quilt, but I have time to think about that. Any suggestions? 


I really like this pattern and am already thinking about making another one with a different layout. There are so many options that even Jack said he'd like to see another quilt made using this pattern. 

What are you working on today?

Check out the quilting eye candy at 


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