26 April 2022

Tuesday To-Do 12: I Get Around

Hello and welcome to another round of To-Do's.
When you are done here, please stop over at
Texas Quilt Gal to check out what all the other
quilty friends have been up to.

Now let's get to it because I can't wait to 
share what
 I've been getting myself into these last two weeks. 
And where I've been getting away to!

1) Quilt sis's Irish chain
Didn't get a thing done on this.

2) A whole bunch of other stuff that I'll share next time!
I think I did waaay better here--but you be the judge!

Cool thing #1
With the shoulder doing a little better, I thought I'd try
some golf.  (I'm right-handed so my left shoulder really
only does a downward motion that doesn't cause pain.)
I didn't keep score but for skipping a few months,
I felt I picked right back up where I left off--and
that's not so bad for a newbie.  It just felt so good
to get out there and get some exercise!

Cool thing #2
A new quilty friend and I decided to check out the local
 local guild so we attended their April meeting together.
Before it had even started I'd gotten myself into a decent
amount trouble.  First things first, I joined.  Then I picked
up few QOV blocks  to piece up.  And then I discovered
the charity quilt group and their magical boxes of tops
just waiting to be quilted.  As you can imagine, they were
all-too-happy to let me practice on their quilts so I chose
a large Christmas one, thinking it would be perfect for
practicing the holly panto I'll use on the Christmas tops
in my to-be-quilted pile.  I won't be able to join in on
their sewing days for quite awhile but I think I can
at least make a dent in their "to be quilted" pile!

The guest speaker [by video] for the meeting

Krista is a very energetic and bubbly quilter with what
might be the best "what led me to quilting" story that
that I've ever heard!  I don't want to give away more
than I should but basically she had learned everything
there was to garment sewing by the time she was 12
(yes, even wedding dresses) so she started teaching the
class!  By the time she was 16 she was quilting,
creating her own designs and, again, teaching.
Even more amazing is how she allowed her
disability to propel her down her creative path!

While her quilt style is more modern than I usually
 dip into, her methods (and rulers) are interesting
 to me and I want to give them a go soon.
If you get a chance, check out her patterns and ideas!

Cool thing #3
I made a bit of a last-minute decision to attend a
second guild meeting.  Just for longarm quilters,
it's a much smaller and more personal group so I'm
really looking forward to getting to know them all.

And can you believe my luck on the guest speaker?

Julia Quiltoff started by showing us her amazing
free motion quilting and then shared tips on listening
to a quilt for the best ideas of how to quilt it up.
In the afternoon, she gave a class on FMQ where she
had us all doodling away.  And then:  could my timing
get any better?  She touched on rulers just a bit too!
  I've been toying with learning to work with them but
haven't wanted to take on anything new until
buying Lucey so I was definitely all ears there.

(Speaking of ears...Chloe the photo-bomber.)

Class attendees received a nice discount so I came away
with a signed copy of her free motion quilting workbook
and nice selection of rulers to get me started.
(Now to buy the ruler base for Lucey!)

It's pretty amusing that I've gone all these years without
joining any guilds...and then I up and joined two in 5 days.
And boy do I have a lot of work play to do!  So many new
techniques to try out!

Ok, how about one more cool thing?

Hubs and I ran off to Mexico where we spent five
days on a beach south of Puerto Vallarta!

I'm not much of a resort-traveller but hubs and I were
really needing R&R more than we wanted actual
vacationing, so to speak:  sun and reading
while having someone else take care of everything.

I think we chose our resort very well.

 This one was in a nice little cove so the beach belonged
 only to the resort and the inhabitants of the tiny little
 village next to it.

Seeing the little village every time we stepped out
 of our room made it feel more like we were
actually in Mexico, if you get my meaning.

I guess it's just not possible to get fully away from it all
but even with family business interrupting daily, I got
a nice tan while I read two books, started a third and
worked my way through more of  Shelly Pagliai's
Quilting For Hire when on the plane.
(Btw, The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan is a good read.)

We worked quickly to get things caught up back at home
so we were free to hit the golf course again on Sunday.
 (At least I was tan this time!). It was gorgeous out!
And I killed it...right up until I fell apart around #13!
Well once again, that's life!
I learned later that my golf buddies had been quietly saying
how I was well on my way to break 100 so I blame it on them.
(Bad juju, or whatever you want to call it.)

Anyhoo that, my quilty friends, is how I get around.
But I'm kinda done getting around for a bit.
I want to try out the things I've learned!
Sew on my quilt!
Quilt some quilts!
Garden in the garden!
And play more golf, if the 'ol shoulder lets me,
because the exercise and fresh air are doing
wonders for my overall attitude and energy level!

Oh, a quick garden update!
We already have an abundance of lettuces/spinach,
 radishes and asparagus hitting the table.  And the herbs!
I think I've missed the flavors of summer more than ever
 over this past winter!  Parsley, rosemary, thyme and dill are
 already up for grabs.  Oh--and mint for mojitos! <wink!>

I'm still working to cut back on my gardening.  Yesterday
I planted 13 tomatoes, 21 peppers, 8 cabbages 
(purple and green) and small row of green beans.
Today I'm laying cardboard down for weed block
and topping it with mulch.  This should leave about
1/3 of the garden--the part not pictured--unplanted.
I'm toying with putting a few squash plants on the
other side of our house in one of the herb gardens.
Will that fool the bugs that were so bad last year??

I also prepared the large planters on our front porch.
Not much growth showing here but soon they'll be
lushly filled out, and up.  Since we put the front
gardens into rock last fall, a huge portion of my
weed-work has been eliminated!

Alrighty, let's see what is on next week's to-do's!

1) Piece QOV blocks

2) Quilt sister's Irish Chain

3) Sew on Blue Waves
I'm doing horribly on my monthly block challenge
so this needs to be a bit of a priority!

4) Finish gardening; cardboard [weedblock] and mulch

I'd like to add quilt the charity quilt, order ruler base, start
working my way through Julia's FMQ workbook but I'm
trying to contain myself on the list-making here!
We'll just take it as it comes.

Happy quilting!

12 April 2022

Tuesday To-Do #11: Is It Finally Spring?

A happy spring Tuesday to you all!
The yo-yo weather has really gotten to me this
year.  Perhaps it's been unusually bad, or I've been
unusually sensitive to it but finally, even with some
pretty cold nights, we're starting to see warm days.

We even had our first meal out in the pergola, enjoying
a fresh-mowed lawn, birds singing and trees blooming.
How I've missed it all, and how rejuvenating!
It sure makes me want to throw open the windows
and get busy cleaning and making all kinds of things!
to see what everyone has been busy with!

Last week's list

1) Load a quilt and get going: Working on it.

I've been doing a lot of practicing on my FMQ
and with pantographs so I guess it's finally time
to jump in.  My sis sent me a quilt top that she's
had ready to go for a few years so I spent last
night working on getting it loaded...but then
discovered that the backing only had  an inch
or so extra on the sides which, of course, is not
enough for quilting on a longarm.  (I'm sure when
she made it she thought she'd be quilting it on
her regular machine.)  I think I can solve the
issue by just loading it sideways so I'll go at
it again later today if I find the time.

2) Finish cutting out Blues/Quilt #10:  Done.

From A Season in Blue

I need to make 1,280 HST's for this quilt so this has
been a bit of a chore.  And so will be all that piecing.
But that makes it a perfect somewhat-mindless
 sewing project while I focus a little more
on my longarm quilting.

overruled Edyta's directions <gasp!> and chose to
 go with the 4-at-a-time HST method.  I think in the
end that will help my progress as well.

3) Figure out window treatments:  Nerp.
Haven't even looked.  Not my favorite thing to do.

Now for a check-in with the fabric tracking

With all the studio prep and long-arm obtaining,
it's kind of a given that I wasn't getting any sewing
done.  Amazing how I still found time to buy fabric
though, huh?  The darned stuff just sneaks its way
right into my sewing room!  The current totals are:

Fabric purchased -- 112.5 yds
Fabric used -- 112.15 yds
Net -- +.35

In full disclosure, I have more fabric arriving soon.
Quite a bit actually.   It's not likely I'll not be starting any
new quilts soon so it's time I reign myself in a bit, eh?
(Thus the purpose for this whole exercise!)

Speaking of exercises, a check-in with the shoulder

I finally got an MRI and was diagnosed with 
frozen shoulder.  I got a third cortisone shot, but
this time way deeper.  I'm back to PT twice/week but
so far, way less exercises.   Previously, I had a whole
litany of them that I swore was making me worse
and often left me in tears.

We're not sure exactly what is making a difference.
I know cortisone takes days but it didn't seem to
be doing much.  Then my masseuse really worked that
shoulder--as she has been for months.  Did it work
the cortisone in better?  Is it that I'm not doing all
those insanely painful exercises?  Is it the Biofreeze
ultrasounds I'm getting at PT?   Maybe it's a combo
of any/all--we don't know but it IS better and that
makes life better.  What 3 PT's have insisted on is that
the intense nerve pain is from my neck, especially
considering I have degenerative spine issues.
SO next up is to start looking at my neck but
for now, the nerve pain is mostly gone thanks to
the PT working on it, along with some traction.
With that being more painful than the shoulder
I'm open to about anything. 

In the garden

The onions, radishes, lettuces and beets have all been
up for a few weeks now, though growing slowly in the
cold.  With the warmer temps, however, I think we'll be
eating the lettuce very soon.  The asparagus is also
kicking in and I'm looking forward to that gracing our
table--well, likely today!   I'm still keeping to my
very-minimal-garden rule for the year but I'll be
planting some other things later this week.

And in the studio

Finding these cute jars, I decided to organize my scraps.
I have to admit I always thought this was a complete
waste of time.  I just tossed them in a big canvas bin
and dug through them when I needed something.
I should know that by my own rule, I always work
better when knowing exactly what I have.
Out of sight, out of mind is what I try to avoid.

With more space now, I'm trying to get everything
 out in the open so I know what I need to use.
Plus, seeing it can be inspiring.
I'm mostly done but, like my entire studio,
the details will get worked out as I work.

The week ahead

I've got the machine.  I've got the studio.
I have tons of fabric and a bucket list of patterns.
Isn't it time I really DO something!?
(Why is it never that simple?  LOL)

1) Quilt sis's Irish chain

Certainly I can make this happen?!

2) A whole bunch of other stuff that I'll share next time!
(I do like my teasers and cliff-hangers, don't I?)

We're moving into Easter and life is going to be very busy
these next two weeks.  I did say I wasn't going to skip any
more Tuesday posts but I also want be able to focus on
Holy Week and Easter in the middle of all of this busyness.
 We'll just see how it all plays out but for now, a very holy
and blessed Easter to all and when I post next, expect 
 some pretty cool and exciting stuff!
Can't wait to share!

Oh, and one last thing!  Frustrated with boiled eggs
not peeling easily?  Try this method from the chicken
Those of us who have chickens know all the egg tricks!
(And recipes.  Boy, do we have egg recipes!)

Happy quilting!

05 April 2022

Tuesday To-Do #10: Studio Prep Part Two--The Tour

Welcome to another edition of Tuesday To-Do, and
to Part Deux of how the dream studio is coming along.

You might want to grab a large  coffee for this one!
Let's link up with Texas Quilt Gal and hop to it!

First checking in with last week's to-do's:

1) Give a tour of new studio--Done.  See below.

2) Keep practicing on Lucey--Done, but progress feels slow.

I did not expect it to be so different but it is.
The laser is on the left--my old one was on the right.
I'm on carpet now--I was used to sliding on a wood floor.
And obviously the machine itself feels different.  Eventually,
this will be great but right now, I'm trying not to get frustrated.
The good news is, I'm trying to get used to a smoother and
very consistent feel.  My old one changed
as the quilt rolled up.

The curves are giving me some real angst but leaves have
always come easy to me.  The one on the right is a panto
I've never done before so that threw in another factor.
Well, I'll get there.  I have a practice quilt on the way.
More on that next week.

3) Make some blocks for the monthly challenge--Tiny bit done.

I'm excited to announce I finally started one of Edyta's designs!
As you know, I've been focusing on building a good stash for
working my way through Edyta's A Season In Blue book.
 I'm still trying to find 8+ yds of neutral before I dive in to
the snowflake quilt so for now, I thought with all the LA
practicing going on, how about something with little
thought?  A billion HST's ought to fit that bill, right?
Cue that quilt to the far left on the book cover.
 (That's my teaser).

I came up with the above pull from that Blue Stash,
as I'll be referring to it, but I felt I needed a little more.
And I definitely needed more neutrals.

I was just up the street from Wichita's lone quilt shop
(just pathetic--we used to have so many more!)
so I decided to pop in and see if I couldn't make some
additions.  Above, a few FQ's and 1/4-yds--hopefully
that will do the trick.

I'll be following the directions for using some small scrap
pieces but for most of this, I'm going off-road and
employing the 4-at-a-time HST method because--eesh!
Why not!?

I generally start out a quilt by cutting a random
amount of pieces and then making a trial block or two.
Somehow it helps me with cutting the entire thing out
to know where I'm going with each piece, and to
see how the fabrics play together.   It makes for a
very slow start to every quilt but if it might save time
and frustration later, I'm willing to invest initially.

And this is where I'm at now:  a whopping two blocks
in March toward the 350 Blocks challenge.  Oh well.  
I rather killed it in Jan and Feb (400 total) so I'm fine.
I was a little busy.

Okay, time for the room tour....
If you missed Part 1, you can get caught up here.

Nothing to see here, just a lovely open highway
on a rainy KS morning!  No truck traffic--yay!

When I left off of part 1, I was heading to IKEA.  Oh,
the freedom to make spur-of-the-moment road trips!
After two hours of roaming their showroom floor,
I scored some great goodies for the studio.
These will show up later.

Heading out of the KC area, I finally got to stop by
Quilter's Haven, a shop that has evaded me for years.
(Time constraint and/or other passengers with me.)

Located just a hop off the main highway, I found
it to be worth the stop, especially if looking for
something specific.  

As noted earlier, I'm working on building the Blue
Stash so I picked up 1/2-yds of these three.

Back home, I wasn't even finished unloading when
Chloe discovered her surprise: a scratching mat.

Honestly, you'd think the thing had catnip on it
the way she rolled all over it.  Well, it's good to
have a happy recipient for one's gifts, right?
As for my other finds, I'll point them out as
we tour my studio.  

So, now, without further ado, how about you all
come check out my new creative space!?

This is the view as you enter.
Aside from the obvious, Lucey, the first thing you are
likely to see--and recognize from my old room--is
my fabric hutch (from IKEA about 6? years ago).

Fabric is a major source of motivation for me so it
has always been important to me that this cabinet
is the first thing I see when walking into my studio.
(Currently looking for the perfect clock to go on the 
blank wall space to the right of the hutch.)

When this space is completely packed with fabric
that is my sign that I need to stop buying!
(It's about as packed as it has ever been!)

The top drawer holds bindings, various scrap
pieces and a few panels; the second drawer
holds fat quarters and orphan layer cakes; the
last holds what's left of my older, cheaper fabric
(back when I shopped Joann's and Walmart)
that I use for practice or any other random
and unimportant uses (not quilting).

On the top is the majority of my knitting supplies.
I look at these longingly from time to time.

To the side is a barstool that holds a couple of my
new IKEA purchases.  I've always had a thing for
pitchers and thought this was too cute.  Besides,
I needed him to water my new plants
from IKEA (incl the one above).

I think by now you've all met Lucey.  

I've finally started practicing on her--thus the
ugly brown fabric you see loaded up.  
I really wish I had something prettier staged
for these pics but I'm just not there yet.

I picked up a runner to catch oil spills, etc.

Behind her in the back corner by the window is
another IKEA purchase.  I always wanted one for
longarm supplies so, finally, I have one.

Let's move into the dormer where I do my actual sewing.

As I set up the entire dormer area, I thought for sure
everything would feel too confined but so far, aside
from the cutting table (which has always been
too small for my tastes), it all just feels snug and
convenient!   I know it may not look that way but
you'll have to trust me on this one.

Perhaps it's because I'm used to my small studio?
And there is much to be said for having everything
within arm's reach.

You may recognize this from my old sewing room.
I just couldn't live without it.  On top is another
new plant and most of my rulers--for now.

I have two of these ruler racks so I've been thinking
about setting them on brackets and mounting one
on each side of the window.  I've been worried about
getting too much clutter on the wall but this would
be very handy.  I continually tell myself that it's not
so much a living space as it is a studio and while
aesthetics are great, it's also about function.

Under the table is the scrap fabric and batting bins.
Until now I always referred to the latter as "Mount Batting"
but with all of my practicing on Lucey, it's almost all gone!
Note Chloe's scratching pad on the left table leg.
(It comes with straps for this.)

In the corner is one of two basket carts.  In this one 
are my WIPs and cutting trays.  There are also a
few rulers and to-make-soon-patterns on top.

Most of the time you'll also find Chloe up there.

Perhaps temporarily, I have a second basket cart
(houses my yarn collection that, sadly, never gets used!)
at the entry to the "sewing space".  I needed an
extra surface for technology--not the cutting table
or sewing desk.  This works...for now.

I tried to avoid putting it there because it makes
for a tight entry into the sewing area but,
believe it or not, thus far it has been a non-issue.

Remember that I picked this up the day I bought
Lucey?  You'll see it on that little cart as well, holding
the markers for my IKEA chalkboard (above cart)
that I use daily.

In the only space I could fit it you'll see the design wall.

A view from the back of the dormer.

While sitting at my sewing machine, I'll be able to keep
an eye on Lucey when she becomes more independent
 (aka, digital).   You'll also note the tv hubs bought
for me.  I'm not a tv-watcher while I sew but boy
do I love tutorials and such.  It's in a perfect spot,
especially for watching long-arm tutorials!
On the desk you'll see one of my new IKEA trays in use.

These deep ones are for larger amounts; I love that
the lids can keep pieces from blowing around
when the windows are open....

...and then double as more shallow trays.
Oh how I have needed these!

Now, moving back toward the door, is the main
reason I ran up to IKEA.

I wanted a space to store my precuts away from
lint and dust.  For someone who says they don't
really like precuts, perhaps it's a bit crazy to take
such measures but...I like it and it stores cute stuff.
It also stores most of my quilt books.

There is an optional base that would raise it
another 5-ish inches but IKEA is completely out
everywhere.  I'm waiting for now but I may just
give up.  It would be nice to not have to reach
quite so far down but, really, how often would
I really need to do that anyway?

This past weekend, I got lights mounted inside,
just like in my fabric hutch. They're white LEDs,
 not yellow like they look in the pics.
The colander on the top shelf that holds some
jelly rolls is another new IKEA purchase...

as is this little plate rack that is now a charm
pack holder (3rd shelf on layer cakes).
There is a reason I'm trying to make use of
kitchen gadgets for organization but I'll get
to that in the months to come.

Above it is the painting hubs got for me;
on the hutch top, another new IKEA plant....

and a fun message from my morning coffee!

And lastly, the outdated vanity.  I'm still looking for
a new mirror but for now, a new light and towel
ring are up.  Eventually we'll get new countertops
in both rooms but I'm not in a huge hurry.
(Maybe next fall when the outdoor work dwindles.)
I have craft items stored in the drawers:
paper cutter, paper, packaging supplies, glue gun, etc.

Yet another IKEA find, I thought this would be great
to fill with ice, water and fruit and/or mint for a long
day of sewing.  I think I'll eventually add a Keurig, too,

For perspective, this is the view from the vanity.
(And off to the very near left is the bathroom.)
It was taken a little earlier in the set up but you
get the idea.

It's a little crazy how this just all fell into place,
and is still falling into place, but I'm really happy
with how it all turned out and to be able to
share it all with you today!  

My to-do's for next week?

1) Load a quilt and get going
2) Finish cutting out Blues #1
3) Figure out window treatments
I love them wide open but the heat from the
afternoon/evening sun will be a real issue!

Happy quilting!
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