A weekend to finish things.

On Friday, I sent a reviewed pattern to Edyta.  It was the last one in this series and I got to send an invoice for my services with it (woo-hoo, money to do what I love to do!!  She should just pay me in fabric).  That was nice and it's a beautiful pattern and I definitely hope to make this one.  It's called Cottage Rose and I have the perfect scraps to make it with. 

I woke up Saturday and decided to power through and finish the needlepoint garden.  I really wanted to finish this before I got into anything else.  I'd been playing with the hummingbird, but I felt guilty because I wasn't finishing this. 

We're going to display it on Linda's needlepoint stand, in a corner of the dining room.  That stand is a little fragile for me to use.  I used it for this, but I saw the beginnings of wear that I'm not ready to happen.  I'd rather use mine and use Linda's to display my work.  The book won't stay, just wanted to show the chart I was working from.  There are a lot of mistakes.  You cannot see them.  And, I will not be pointing them out.  ;)

Then, I worked in the yard a few hours.  It's a winter perennial garden, so it's mostly died back, but where there is still life, it is beautiful.  I spent time cutting dead stalks and moving plants for this year.  Normal January garden maintenance here. 

Later that afternoon, I pulled out my new quilting book by Angela Walters, where I had already picked a pattern for the border of the flower quilt that got set aside for me to do other things late last year. 

I got all the way around the border, but I still need to fill in some spots I missed.  Places around the edges.  But, for the most part, this is done and almost ready to bind.  (Okay, now that I'm looking at it, I might have to put something in that narrow batik border to take up some space.  The dense quilting drew the center in, making the borders bigger than the center.  It won't lay flat if I don't add some more quilting somewhere.  That's why quilt judges look at whether the entire surface of the quilt is evenly quilted.)

Sunday, after grocery shopping and cooking, Rob and I had our weekend date.  We went to see The Wizard of Oz as part of TCM on the big screen.  It was wonderful.  There were grandparents who had brought grandchildren to see it and other people our age and a few younger people and a mostly empty theater.  But, it was a great date.  And, at the end, when Dorothy cried about how wonderful home is and how there's no place like it, we held hands and cried a little...a reaction neither of us expected.  It was recliner seating and we folded the arm rest up between us and basically had a sofa to sit on. 

Then, I came home and finished the hummingbird.  All hand applique, using a pattern and the method of David Taylor. 

I'm pretty sure this is the technique I'm going to use to make the Ruby McKim flower garden quilt.  I love the technique.  I started out using silk thread, thinking it would be less visible.  It was okay.  Then, tried what David used in his class, which was a 50wt 2-ply.  Even though that is a heavier thread, it was so much easier to bury in the folded under seam allowance.  This was a kit and I am considering taking off the larger wing and replacing it with a different fabric that contrasts with the background better.  It really went fast, and I could do that in a couple or three hours.  We'll have to see.

And, then it was bedtime and the weekend was over.  It sure felt good to get so many things done.  I wonder if this productivity at home has something to do with my productivity at work.  It does seem that I'm productive at both at the same time, and unfortunately unproductive at both at the same time as well.

Everybody have a great week!  I'm already thinking about my next quilt to finish.  Which will it be?  There are plenty to choose from.



Can't quite sit down to sew

In the summer, it's just so hot I don't even want to move.  I spend the summer sewing. 

In winter, I'm a dervish of activity.  And, that has not left me very much sewing time. 

Let's start with a pretty picture because that's what everyone is going to see.  :)

I went to water in the greenhouse the other day and saw this.  A bougainvilla.  It has several blooms on it, but they're very spread out, and these were most open and prettiest.  I even saw a tiny lemon on the lemon tree, tho I doubt it will survive until spring. 

I got a moderate gift card from my manager and I used it to clear out my Amazon wish list and that all came in the mail last week.  Still trying to decide if it's in bad taste to send him this picture so he can know what he really gave me for Christmas. 

One of the things I got was Angela Walters' book Meandering.  And, even though I haven't read the first word yet, I've already picked out a meander pattern to finish a UFO that's currently folded on the back of the sofa in the studio. 

Speaking of the studio, my prime quilting time over the weekend was spent putting it back in order.  All those things that get pulled out and sat down and not put away.  Maybe I'm the only one that does that (don't believe that for one minute) but I might qualify as the worst.  I found so many things that I had lost track of.  Things I had spent time looking for and had given up for lost.  And, fabric scraps.  Sooo many scraps. 

I also spent some time working on the hummingbird applique project.  I had my first major crossover where one piece slides behind another and it came out great. 

I know.  Doesn't look like much, right?  I have Ruby McKim's flower garden pattern and I'm thinking this might be the method to do that quilt.  And, this might be the time to start.  My goal for this year, like last year, is to piece less, finish more.  I did pretty good for the first half of the year last year.  But, my definition of finish was broader.  It included finishing some vintage piecing projects.  This year, I'm going to try to be more limited to quilting my UFO's and only starting new hand work projects.  I hope to satisfy my need to piece with the arc quilt I started in fall.  We'll see how long that lasts.

Everbody gotta have a goal right? 

Here is the obligatory needlepoint update picture.  It's almost all blue skies from here on out. 

Except that lower right corner.  That's going to require creativity. 

That's it for me today.  The rest was dusting and vacuuming, which have to be done.  Oh, and continuing to work on relationship building with Rob.  We talked about television this weekend, and how much time we spend watching.  And, how maybe it's time to watch less silly stuff and focus our TV time on more meaningful viewing and spend that extra time out doing things away from the house.  More date nights.  Sydney's more of a roommate now.  We only see her at a few dinners a week.  The rest of the time she's at work or in her room, pursuing her own interests.  It's time to start using the time we set aside as family time with her on things we enjoy.

Y'all have a good day!  Whether you're off or not, remember it is a day dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr and spend a few minutes pondering the pursuit of civil rights in this country.  We can't forget the lessons of the past because we still have such a very long way to go.  Further than many of us knew two years ago.  Everybody is somebody.  Everybody is important.  Everybody has the same right to succeed.  Everybody needs a helping hand now and then. 

Be well.  Lane


First real weekend of the year

The weekend before New Year's, we took down Christmas.  That wasn't very relaxing.  The next weekend, we rested.  But the weekend just passed, I spent cleaning house.  Like major cleaning.  I emptied the drawers in the kitchen and pulled things out of cabinets and focused on putting things back where they belong.  I put away those two piles in the bedroom that were getting taller and taller with things that we needed for a minute and a half and then I didn't put away.  I haven't done that in a while and found things I forgot I had.  Syd hates putting dishes away, so she's like my dart game...on the board, but never really the bullseye.  Things are close.  And, if I poke around a little, I can usually find what I'm looking for.  But, it's frustrating and now everything is where I want it.  And, I'm taking over putting away the dishes.

The only quilting I did was the first few pieces of the hummingbird applique kit I got from David Taylor.  It's the hummingbird's belly and really doesn't look like anything so I'm going to spare you that pic.  I'm very excited about that project and really want to start it.  But, I decided I really needed to finish my latest piece of needlepoint because I was just as excited to start it not long ago and I'd really like to see it finished.  And if I move on to other things...well, we all know how that goes.  I may never come back.

Still filling in the upper left corner, but I've made a good bit of progress.  Each time I sit down, I try to look back at some of my skipped stitches and fill a few of those in.  It's boring work.  Thread the needle, make 2 or 3 or 6 stitches and then tie it off.  After a few of those, I'm bored and ready to work in blank canvas. 

I took a walk out in the garden the other day.  It's definitely in winter garden mode, just as it should be.  As I walked, I was thinking how bad it looked, but then I realized, that's not really true.  Even in winter, there are still some pretty spots. 

Yellow roses.

The witch hazel looks green and gold and sits in a bed of wood ferns. 

Can't remember.  Sorry, but pretty common so you can probably find it if you're interested.  My Mom could tell you off the top of her head. 

And, there are spots that don't look so great.

I need to come in with the clippers and clean that up.  But, you know, it'll wait.  No need to do everything all at one time. 

Everybody have a great week!  I'm still getting caught up at work.  My boss took the same days off that I did.  Except he didn't take them off the same way I did.  So, he came back to work with all kind of project ideas, so add that to my normal workload and I'm definitely staying busy.  The days pass fast.  And, I get home for family time.  We came through our days off for the better.  Rob and I being here with nothing to do and no one to do it with kind of caused us to focus on one another.  And, we haven't taken our eyes off that.  We may  have gotten a little relationship lazy...didn't dress up for one another, didn't focus on complementing one another, quick pecks instead of meaningful kisses.  And, that's not happening right now.  And, we're both enjoying it.  Relationship rejuvenation. 

Prayer request.  Or whatever you do to send positive thoughts to your higher power and ask for people to be protected.  Rob's best friend's daughter had a minor infection and it got out of hand and now she is in ICU, very ill.  We're sending our best thoughts to her and her family that she will recover soon. 



Catching up

The holidays are wonderful, but like all great vacations, I'm always glad to get back "home". 

Quilty stuff first!  This weekend, I took David Taylor's machine applique class.  First, David was hilarious and the class was a lot of fun.  But, more importantly, it was a great way to get back into the guild.  I haven't been to a meeting since Linda got sick and I've missed it.  The only time I've been with my quilter friends was working at the show in September.  And, I've missed them.  But, tonight I'll be at the meeting to hear David speak and to see his trunk show. 

Anyway, the project we made was this little apple tree quilt. 

He gave options for the apples; leave them off and make it a different kind of tree, use apple shaped buttons that he had for sale, or make applique apples.  Most of the class made the applique apples.  I used the buttons.  Sydney doesn't like them.  Oh, well.  I offered to teach her to applique.  The buttons were okay after that. 

David's method is much like Harriet Hargrave's method.  But, he's made some modern refinements and he uses liquid starch instead of spray starch.  I always had trouble with the spray starch because I got it everywhere and left a sticky mess, so the liquid starch works better for me. 

I also bought the kit for his Hand applique class.  I wasn't able to get into that class, but at least I can make the project. 

I have all the pieces prepped and the background is ready and positioning template is made.  But, he also gave a practice piece that I figured I might as well do first, just to get a handle on the process. 

I've started the stitching on this.  There's an over/under thing in the center where it switches from the white on top to the black on top.  He used this shape to illustrate how to do that.  It's harder than I thought it would be and I'm glad I'm doing the practice project. 

So, that's what I'll be doing in my "free time" for a while.  And, if this method continues to work for me, then I have a bunch of applique projects backed up that I'd like to do.  Of course, machine applique is faster, so some of my projects will be done that way, but I'm always looking for a hand project and applique makes a good one. 

Speaking of hand projects, am I the only one that picks a wicked hard something to work on during the holidays as a distraction from all the stress?  And, yes, even for us the holidays are stressful, with end of year at work and trying to pick the perfect gifts and cook the perfect meals and all the decorations.  So, I picked this piece of needlepoint.  It's charted needlepoint, so there's nothing printed on the canvas.  It's like counted cross stitch. 

I picked it to use up yarn I already had but had to buy a few skeins to fill in for colors I didn't already have, like dark purple and white.  One more corner and filling in the sky and that will be done.  I started just before Thanksgiving, so it's gone pretty quickly.  And, I've spent a lot of time on it.  I accidentally added two columns on the right hand side when I was putting those roses in.  I had put too much in before I realized the mistake to take it out and have had to fill those two all the way up in ways that were not noticeable.  Oops!

Christmas was wonderful.  Santa gave me just what I wanted...not much!  We have so much and this house is filled to the gills, so my request was for not much.  A few things for the kitchen.  New pink flamingoes for the garden and of course, Rob bought me a few toys for my desk.  Several years ago, Linda got us started on a collection of Lenox Holiday dishes.  So, Sydney bought me one of every Lenox Christmas item that came into the store.  She wrapped them each individually and kept them in her room till all the gifts were unwrapped, then brought them out in bunches for me to unwrap.  It was quite the surprise.  Lots of ornaments and a few serving pieces. 

I'll close with our Christmas table. 

Like Thanksgiving, I tried all new recipes, including my own pineapple ham glaze.  It didn't go quite as well as Thanksgiving did, but it was still delicious and I made the family eat all the leftovers.  A meal worked for that hard must not be wasted.  I froze some ham and used it to make Potato Soup, which is our traditional New Year's meal with black eye peas. 

Everybody have a wonderful week!  It's the first full work week of the year.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to it.  I signed off on my end of year evaluation on Friday.  I think I'll need to read that frequently to remind me of the good I do at work.  I got to ask five people for input on my performance.  Their comments were very flattering.  In fact, they brought a tear to my eye.  So, whenever I'm feeling low at work, I hope to pull that thing out and give it a read for inspiration.

Have a great Monday!