Category Archives: Organization

New Sewing Machine Table

This quilter is so lucky to have a hubby who is not only very handy, but very willing to improve my creative space! I recently got a new Jazz machine that I blogged about here. My Bernina is set into my big sewing desk and I love it.  We talked about the possibility of doing something similar for the Jazz with the craft table I had. It proved to be easier and much better to just make a whole new one.  Hubby sketched it out and went to work.  Amazing – he had it built within two weeks! I had the chore of sanding and painting.  Not my favorite chores, but not to complain when the end result was a great table complete with bookshelves!

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Hours after the paint dried we carried it to the table’s new home. It took me about two seconds to begin rearranging things and filling up the shelves!  I have even quilted one Hospice quilt on it and am prepping another.

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There’s a back shelf for the Jazz’s parts and bobbins, and my empty project containers.  The front shelf has my books, small dies for the Big Kick and photos that I plan to get to (someday). I recently mightily downsized my book collection and have found that I now enjoy them more. The top of the desk is also home to my Scan n’ cut.  Hmmm…now I’m thinking it may be fitting to recover my chair…

What I’ve Been Working On

I’m a planner. It seems to be my nature. Some of it probably comes from years of administrative work and deadlines. I’m the one when going on a retreat or trip is packed days ahead of time. (Spring retreat is in four weeks and my projects are packed!) I do think it’s a good thing although it tends to make a few folks think perhaps I’m a bit off balance!

As an Island Batik Ambassador, we’re sent the year’s calendar events with project themes.  I’ve combined getting ready for retreats with my Island Batik Adventures – I’ve sketched, written plans and cut fabrics. My April project, “Vintage made New” is done and here are the fabulous fabrics I used. I can’t wait for my reveal very soon! I am ridiculously giddy about this one.

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“Playful Pillows” is the May event, and I’ve got a real cutie planned for a much needed new pillow for our sofa in our TV watching area. Here are the fabrics all ready:

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June’s event is “Modern Batik Challenge.” I have a really fun baby quilt planned, combining a scrappy modern look with applique. It will make a terrific baby gift using these fabrics:

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I found July to be somewhat challenging. Not so much in finding a pattern, but finding one I wanted to use. The challenge is “Pattern Play, Secondary Pattern.” These too are all cut and ready to sew at retreat:

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August is our Great Outdoors Blog Hop. This is when all the ambassadors reveal a newly released fabric line using a Spring/Summer 2018 bundle. I was so excited about the beautiful fabric line I received I went right to work. I had an idea all sketched out, but one evening I went through my pattern bin and found a pattern I’ve had for years and have always wanted to do. Yup – next day I had it all cut out and it is now nearly done! Just a bit more quilting and binding!

There may not be a lot to show here, but you can see I have been busy planning and prepping. I have a few ideas for the rest of the year, but will hold off as we’ll receive a new shipment of fabric in July and the fabric will be part of the inspiration. Now I can go ahead and pull out a work in progress bin and make some progress there. Should have something to share soon!

Lots of Prepping

12687[1]Finishes – I’ve had a couple but they are “secret” for now. I am also spending much time prepping – prepping for the Fall retreats and what I’ll be sewing at those retreats.

First up is my December Island Batik project. Yes, I work ahead – it’s just my nature. I actually have September’s project done (to be posted on September 27 with a give-away), October’s project done and just need to quilt January’s project. We have the month of November free, with no project. I’m so thankful we are given our full list of projects in the beginning of the year. Without revealing too much, I’ll just say that I cut all these most gorgeous blue, purple and silver batiks into strips. It will be such fun, easy sewing at retreat!

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Project Boxes (Medium)

Secondly, I am doing a scrappy quarter square log cabin. I was inspired by Stitched in Color. This is so truly scrappy – I went through each of my six scrap containers and cut, cut, cut. The sashings are with a turquoise grunge. I know I will love this quilt!

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Do you work ahead? Do you plan your projects or work purely by inspiration?

Three Hospice Finishes & July Round-Up

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One of my goals the last couple of weeks has been to move along the Hospice quilts I have to be completed.  The bright one above is a smaller lap quilt. The blocks in this next quilt were all pieced at a retreat by all those in attendance and I put the blocks together at my residency in June. This week I finally got it quilted and bound and am quite pleased with the results. I’ve also been working on my free motion quilting and think I’m finally getting the hang of it with simpler designs. Yes, I know, “practice, practice, practice!”

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The third quilt top was donated by a reader and quilted by a friend on her long arm. Thank you so much Cindy B – it is such a time saver for me and she does such a great job!

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My big goal for August is to just enjoy working on some of my many projects.  I reduced my list quite a bit, only listing those projects I have been working on or will work on in the next month. The others are still in their boxes on the shelf and will be gotten to eventually. Up to now I have never minded having so many projects in the wings. Lately they have made me a bit anxious and other than the monthly Island Batik Ambassador projects, I will not begin any new ones until the number is greatly reduced. A by-product of getting older maybe? This has been the case in my whole house. Every closet, cupboard, drawer and storage space has been cleaned out and many, many things donated. It has been VERY freeing! I will not stress about completing the projects, however, I will continue to enjoy the process.

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Linking up with Jo’s Country Junction  and Needle & Thread Thursday

Boredom and Polka Dots

Boredom – something I do not experience. Except for yesterday. Oh my, it hard! Way too hot to go outside. Wasn’t feeling the sewing vibe which resulted in unsewing. Became a couch potato for a while and that was really not fun – increased the boredom a gazillion percent! Cleaned up my studio – oh boy, that took all of 30 minutes! Couldn’t work on the computer because Hubby was rebuilding it. Finally, I pulled out my bin of polka dot fabrics.

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And do have a fair amount of polka dots because I really love them. I laid them all out by color. Most were 6″ wide strips so I rolled up each color. The fat quarters were stacked together at one end. Oh how much nicer it looks. I should have taken a before pic – it was pretty bad (worse than that actually). The colors were all jumbled up and nothing folded nicely. I like the finished bin much better. And YES – I plan to do a polka dot quilt. A wild Dresden Plate maybe? A Scrappy Trip Around the World? Just not sure – any suggestions??

Great First Month in 2017

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Paper piecing – I enjoy it but at times can wear me out. I just completed a paper pieced border for a wall quilt and wanted to sit and mindlessly sew. The first of the year I cut out several charity quilts so I pulled one out and sewed away! It was all pieced in just a few hours – how fun! It really needed something else, though. The fabric is a bit wild – all generously donated. There is one print among the batiks that is a lizard fabric. Ta Da! I’ll applique a few large lizards! Even better, I used my Scan n’ Cut – what a treat to have precise cutting done in just moments.

All in all, January was a very good sewing month, especially considering I was on vacation for a whole week. I revamped my Work in Progress listing. Yes, I do have more projects, but have not touched some in such a long time I eliminated them from the list for now. I have promised myself to only add charity quilts and gift quilts – there is a wedding gift quilt added to the list. Oh how I want to stay on task and shorten the list. Can I do it? Yes! Will I do it?  We’ll see!! Do you have so many projects started it seems overwhelming? Do you have an action plan? I’d love to know how other quilters deal with this.

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Today I’m linking up with Esther Aliu’s Blog, Let’s Bee Social, My Quilt Infatuation.

A VERY Good Year!

Just one more day – Happy new Year! It was a Happy Old Year too! One of my goals when I retired in 2015 was to give more time to my quilting and I did!  Wow – 24 finishes. No wonder I’m pooped! The finishes included 6 charity quilts. I think that’s a doable number for the coming year, so I have set that as my goal. Of course, it helps that many of the blocks are made at retreat.

My last few finishes won’t be highlighted until 2017, but how fun to see and remember all I enjoyed doing this year. The projects that remain on my list and the few that I will be adding will be a bit more challenging, so realistically I won’t have as many finishes in 2017, but I do plan to have just as much fun!

Looking at my project listing, I see one or two are missing. I’ll be sure to post those in the new year. Wishing you all a WONDERFUL & CREATIVE SEW-FILLED 2017!

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My Studio Blew Up!!

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Eight Placemats complete.

 

Well…not really. Just looks that way! I have often prided myself on being so neat and organized, but every now and then it all gets away from me. That’s what happens when I work on several things at once – literally at the same time! I tend to just put things anywhere there’s a flat open surface.

It all started Thanksgiving eve. I was working on a really fun and creative sewing/applique project when I decided to make a set of placemats. First, I tore through my home dec fabrics, then began cutting. Not pieced or quilted, just plain, letting the fabric print do all the work. I knew I didn’t want to mess with binding, so I rounded the corners, sewed right sides together, turned right side out and sewed near the edge and one quarter inch in. A set of 8 in no time! What really made this possible is that I wasn’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. My son hosted at his house and he and his sister did the cooking and serving. What a Treat!!!

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Reverse side of placemats.

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On another note, have you taken the pledge to not buy more fabric but work from your stash? I did, but when hubby cleaned out his closet I grabbed the cotton shirts he was getting rid of. I’ve had a shirt quilt on my wanna make list for quite some time. I immediately cut them up and am amazed at the amount of fabric you get from one shirt. If any more freebies come my way, I’ll scoop them up, but won’t be searching any out to buy in the near future. This is definitely a “some day” project.

Now that my projects that made the mess are done or nearly done, I’ll tidy up!

WHEW!! Quilt & Sew-In Retreat Fun

WARNING – Lots of pics and  lots of fun!!

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Fall 2016 Quilt & Sew-In Retreaters (minus 2) – Fabulous Group!!

 

So much to tell about the Fall Quilt & Sew-In Retreat in Blowing Rock, NC – SO much fun! Of course, I can’t share everything because of course, “What happens at retreat, stays at retreat!” How fortunate to have the best ladies to come and join in on the creativity and fun together. Lots of sewing, lots of laughs, learning new techniques and tricks, meeting new friends, catching up with old friends and more inspiration than I could handle!

The retreat was once again held at the Meadowbrook Inn – a beautiful and very comfortable boutique hotel in Blowing Rock, NC.

Take a peek inside our retreat:

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Susan was the queen of chain piecing!

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Susan’s square in a squares

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Significance of this quilt – tells a life story

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Precise and organized piecing

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Beverly’s “Sunshine” quilt – she donated it as a Hospice quilt!!

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“You’re interrupting my sewing!” This was one prolific piecer!

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Janet’s quilt block

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Made into this amazing quilt top!

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Cindy’s really working her jewel tone piecing.

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Sandra was very happy with her win!

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This was one hard working group.

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So much to do!!

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Sandy won one of the the fat quarter left-right games!

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Birthday girl – oops – didn’t get a pic ’til the cupcake was all gone!

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Anna’s whale – Sara generously made it into a paper pieced pattern and taught her how to paper piece – don’t you just love quilters’ generosity?!!

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Beverly really worked these curves

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Cindy won the charity quilt block first place prize – a whole quilt kit!

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Jean came in second with a Fat Quarter Shop gift certificate.

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Jean’s flannel quilt for hubby – a few years in the making.

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Sandra quilting blocks of the month.

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A few of Sandra’s blocks put together.

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Sandy’s table topper – hate that this pic is fuzzy – it’s really so pretty.

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Sara’s crazy colorful tumblers

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Sara’s trial experiment – she’s on her way!

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Vonnie’s very creative art quilt.

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Oops – a little unsewing. Won’t say who, because we all probably did some of this.

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Very interesting design.

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Nell’s big quilt as you go

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Judy’s creative quilt block.

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My dragonfly quilt top – lots of buttonhole stitching to do!

Organization – Fun labels!

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Just got back from a week at beautiful Jekyll Island, Georgia, so no sewing to show for this past week. I did a little applique work and knitting while there, but mostly bicycling and enjoying the ocean. I have, however, labeled all my bins and project boxes in my studio. Do you know about chalkboard labels and chalk pens?  I didn’t until my daughter suggested I use them in my sewing studio. I was like a kid in a toy shop when they arrived. I purchased a pack of 45 – plenty, right? Wrong! I’ll be needing a few more to complete the process.

Now all my supply/fabric bins are clearly labeled. For the few wire bins I have, I just cut a strip to fit across the top of the bin. The liquid chalk pen is so easy to write with.

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The project boxes are now not only clearly labeled, but they look nice too! When a project is complete, I can just erase and write a new project name.

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I know, I know, lots of projects!!

 

Admittedly, I am a bit organization obsessive, but like it even better when it’s easy and looks good!