Thursday, April 30, 2015

This and That

It wasn’t my intention to take a blog vacation over the last several days, but my mind and heart moved me in that direction anyway.  I firmly believe that these down times are both a healthy and necessary part of the process for me. 

My quilting productivity also slowed, but it didn't stop.  I’ve begun work on this month’s anti ouch pouches for the quilt club. 

Machine work for attaching binding to my twirly ball project is done and it is ready for handwork.  I will be working on one of these two projects tonight during Bonnie Hunter’s Quilt-Cam session.  I had to miss this week’s Tuesday sewing with friends’ day, so I’m very ready for some sewing time tonight.

I’ve also been engaged in a personal struggle.  I don’t qualify as a hoarder, but I do find it difficult to let go of things, especially those with sentimental ties.  I can remember my grandmother, a survivor of the Great Depression, firmly saying she never threw anything away.  She also lived on 300 acres with a barn and several storage sheds, so her home was never cluttered or over crowded.  Even so, I remember my mother and aunt struggling to deal with all the stuff left in her estate.

Last year I embarked on a “get my life in order” effort and made considerable progress much to my satisfaction.  This year I decided to make "enough" my word of the year as I continue addressing the excess in my life.  Whenever I feel my resolve waning, I like to go back and look at posts on the Becoming Minimalist site.  I’ll never be a minimalist, but I respect the underlying philosophy.

The fact that I have lost 30 pounds since October has certainly made it easier to clean out my closet.  Last year's waterline break and subsequent rebuild at the ranch, also forced some decisions.  Most of my “get rid of it” efforts have been donated to local thrift stores.  Our neighborhood does not allow garage sales, but my church’s mission committee has them twice a year.  

This was a car load I delivered to the church this morning: a chair that belonged to a favorite aunt (that’s the really hard kind of thing to part with), a bag of lady’s golf clubs (I just never caught the bug), and another empty golf bag that hubby does not want to keep.  Other items include an old desk lamp and handbags that have gone unused several seasons plus some decorative items that have been gathering dust.  Quilting/sewing related items I no longer want will be donated to the quilt club’s bits and pieces booth at next February’s quilt show.  

It was painful for me to learn that my daughter’s life situation and personal tastes are such that she has no interest in most of what I have.  It took me a while to realize that this is a generational difference that has nothing to do with how much she cares about me.  It also freed me from the responsibility of preserving things for her later use.  For that matter, I think her generation is on to something.  “Things” will certainly take over your life if you let them.  It's so much better to donate or sell them so someone else can enjoy them.  So the battle with the pack rat side of my personality continues; it will always be a part of me.  At least I’m making progress.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One Step Finished

I'm calling the quilting on this small wall quilt finished.  Time to set up the cutting table, square it up and think about basting the next one.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trimming and Pressing at the Ranch

Hubby and I have just returned from spending last night at the ranch.  The plan was to do another bluebonnet ride over some of his favorite dirt back roads.   An all-day drizzle event kept us from doing that (we’re talking one-fourth inch of moisture), so we enjoyed sitting on the front porch, listening to the rain drip off the roof and reading our Kindles. 

Although I didn't set up my machine, I did a little quilt related work while there.  These are more sub-units for the Texas Tumbleweed quilt being trimmed, pressed and bundled into groups of 10.  I need 144 of these and think I now have about 90.  Using Bonnie Hunter’s suggested method; I’m also getting a bunch of bonus half square triangle units that are not to be used in this project.

Although I no longer have my Handiquilter there, the ranch house still has my best ironing station.  Its base is an old buffet I inherited.  The top was purchased from a friend who had an extra.

We have a less than 50% chance of more rain this afternoon or tonight, but if it does come it will probably be in the form of storms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Golf Balls and Twirly Balls

I've finished stitching in the ditch on my twirly ball project and have started doing some outline stitching using my walking foot.  As I work father out from the center, I’ll move from my Janome to my Handiquilter.  I think the first stitch is always the hardest.  Once started, these projects usually gain momentum. 

We get lots of golf balls in our yard.  This probably is about a third of what we had accumulated.  I took these to the gathering of quilters I sew with every Tuesday.  One of our members is a golfer and she gladly took them off my hands.  If she digs deep enough in the bucket she will even find a pink one.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ready, finally, for the next step....

I finally decided I had procrastinated long enough (why do I do that?) and pin basted the project from Gyleen Fitzgerald’s workshop.  I will start quilting it today.

We had a 5/8 inch rain yesterday morning.  When the sun broke through in the afternoon, I took this picture of bluebonnets during my doggie walk.  It is another shot of the cemetery taken through a chain link fence.  I was shooting blind because the sunlight blacked out my view screen.

We have a 60% chance of more rain today, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed…figuratively speaking.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Working When I Can

Quilting has had to be done on a catch-as-catch can basis this week, but I did spend several hours quilting with friends yesterday.  I worked on more sub-units for the star blocks for Texas Tumbleweeds.  I will need 144 of this particular one and I think I have about 66 in various stages of completion. 

Our trip to the country last weekend was a bit of a disappointment because heavily overcast days (which yielded no measurable rain) made wildflower pictures difficult.  Here is one of a field near our house.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Little Progress

I finally have some progress to show on the project that came out of the workshop with Gyleen Fitzgerald.  I had to be absent during the time she discussed the borders and I also did not have the tool she recommended.  

Eventually I figured out how I could use my Dear Jane ruler to get a similar effect.  Now I am playing with fabric options for borders.  I would love some thoughts on this.  It will be a small wall quilt.

The bluebonnets are getting prettier by the day.  These two pictures came from the cemetery I pass on my walks.  I had to shoot through a chain link fence on an overcast day to get these.  Maybe this weekend I will have better opportunities.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tuesdays are Sit ‘N Sew days with friends and yesterday was a productive one.  I finished the 36 ladder blocks for Texas Tumbleweeds, a Bonnie Hunter design.  Now, I can start working on the star blocks which I think will be more fun because of the greater variety in fabric.