Thursday, 22 February 2018

It's my Blogversary More or Less

     I was reading Anja's blog post about her 4th year blog anniversary and I realized it was my 4th year blog anniversary as well!  So both Anja and I started blogging in February, four years ago, although we didn't meet each other until the New Bloggers blog hop in 2015.  Carrie also started her blog in February, but 2 years ago.   I think there must be something about the middle of winter that makes people feel the need to reach out.

      Half the time I forget about my blog anniversary.  Probably because I'm usually sick in February.  But this year I remembered thanks to Anja and Carrie and I've decided to celebrate by having a give away. Come to think of it Anja won the first give away I had.  I've chosen 8 fat quarters from my stash that I will send to one reader. They could go together in one project but of course they don't have to. You don't have to be a follower of my blog to enter the give away but I would appreciate it if you did follow. I'll choose a winner next week on Friday.  It will be March then, but that's o.k.



     I'll put the names in a hat and pick a winner that way.  Good luck.

I had said I would have a Friday finish to post about today and I got really really close but not quite done and of course I'm hoping for some more sunny weather so I can get some good photos.  So it will have to wait for next week.
     

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Some Hand Work to Share


     Monday was the Family Day Holiday in Ontario.  I decided to take a weeks vacation around this holiday and Dwight decided to take a few days as well.  We went up to the Collingwood area and stayed in a Bed and Breakfast.  Part of our Plan was to go to the Scandinave Spa.  It's an outdoor spa in the Blue Mountains which has hot pools and cold pools along with a dry sauna and steam room.  We have gone to this spa in the winter before and really enjoyed it.


    
      It was great to get away but things didn't go exactly as we had planned.  Dwight came down with a cold so we spent a little more time in the B&B than we would normally have.  We planned to visit the spa on Tuesday after the long weekend, but found out it was due to rain on Tuesday.  The spa is great if it's snowing but we didn't think we would enjoy ourselves  in cold winter rain.  We attempted to go on Sunday but we found out that on the Sunday and Monday of a long weekend you have to line up  half an hour before the spa opens to get a booking for the day.
   
     So we didn't go to the spa.  We did go for a walk in the woods and we did go to a winery and a cidery (and came home with lots of goodies) . We also ate some great meals.
I brought along my E.P.P. project which I haven't worked on in months.  I've decided to start putting the stars together as I make them.  I'm liking this method of constructing the quilt top as I go.  This way I can reuse the paper pieces.  I also used silk thread for the first time on this project.  I'm not sure where or when I purchased the silk thread, but I think it was when I was working on needle turn applique.   It's a great thread to use for E.P.P.  It's pretty much invisible.  It does take getting used to though as it is slippery and likes to slide out of the needle.

     We came home yesterday and I spent part of today finishing the quilting for my One Monthly Goal.  I'll share it on Friday once I get the binding on.  I have continued to meditate daily and today I increased my time to 15minutes, although I found it difficult to focus on my breath as my thoughts were all over the place.  

     My plans for the rest of my week off are to do lots more quilting and to babysit the grandkids on Friday.  What are you up to this week?

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Goals and Meditation

     As we move through the year many of us are taking another look at the goals we set for ourselves and are working on implementing them.  Kim of Leland Avenue Studio wrote a post about her goal to meditate. She has found meditation really helps her creativity.  If you don't know Kim's blog it is worth checking out. She writes really thoughtful posts on the creative process.  She also makes beautiful and creative quilts.

     Anyhow Kim's post reminded me that I have wanted to write a post about goals, and some habits that I have found to help me meet my goals.  As it happens Meditation is one of the things I find helpful.

      I have practised meditation off and on for many years. I think my son who is 27 now was about 10 when I started. I have a memory of him plonking down beside me and trying it out for himself.  I am lucky to have a really good meditation leader in my city.  He follows a Tibetan Buddhist practice but the groups he leads are usually non denominational.  Years ago when I started a meditating his advice was to set aside 20 minutes a day.  His goal is to help as many people as he can to use meditation for stress relief and he now suggests aiming for 5 minutes a day.   The repetition is the important thing not the length of time. When we meet as a group we meditate for 20 minutes. 
     
  I'm finding that 5 minutes is not quite enough for me so for now I am aiming for 10 minutes a day.  Meditation helps to calm me down and helps me to deal with the stresses of my day. That in turn frees my heart and imagination  to work on other things that I love.  It also helps me to be brave and to take risks.

     The other daily practices I have found to be useful came from this article here written by Neil Pasricha. He suggests starting each morning by letting go of something negative, by noting something you are grateful for, and by focussing on three attainable goals for the day. You write all of these down in a journal.  I use my Quilters Planner. It takes a couple of minutes to do this.  I find that like meditation, these practices help me to clear my mind and move forward.  I don't use them all the time but when I do I am able to accomplish so much more and move towards my bigger goals.



   I started my day with a 10 minute meditation session followed by the journal exercises. It has been hard for me to sit down and get to this task. My cold/flu has left me feeling a bit fragile and I have had an incident with a friend on my mind. I found that the meditation and excercises helped me to focus and I managed to start working on my February Goal of finishing the quilting on this quilt.   But before I could do this I had to do this.


     
     I cleared and cleaned my sewing table to help the task go more smoothly.  I worked on my quilting in the evening as well and I am feeling like I just might be able to accomplish this goal this month.

     For the next while I will be joining Kim in working on meditating every day. What do you do to help you meet your goals?

Monday, 12 February 2018

Kits and Swaps and Quilt Alongs


     I have a virus.  It's kind of a weird one where you feel really sick sometimes and o.k. other times.  I thought I was better on Friday but after a morning pulling together fabrics for bee day kits with some friends I was bushed.  I think I'm getting better again now and I hope it lasts.
     So I have made no progress on my February goal as yet, but I have made some progress on cutting kits when I wasn't lying in bed browsing the internet.  I may have purchased a little too much fabric and I may have also purchased Cheryl and Paige's book of Plus Block patterns...and I may have signed up for a swap and a quilt along.
     O.K.  Well the swap is really easy. It's the quilted postcard swap organized by Patty at Elm Street Quilts and it's just the postcard, nothing else.  She's even given us a tutorial on how to make them.  
     I had been resisting the Postcard from Sweden Quilt Along, but then Sandra told me that Mad About Patchwork was selling kits and my resolve melted away.  Half of my resistance was sourcing all those colours of Kona.  The other half of my resistance is trimming all those half square triangles.   There is no way I'll have all those triangles together by the end of the month so I already know I'll be trailing behind.
     Getting back to the kits, four of which are pictured above.  We are really fortunate in my guild to have inherited a lot of fabric from a former members stash.  We are able to put together really great quilt kits by combining her feature fabrics with other quild stash fabrics and some of our own fabrics to come up with some nice combinations.  I'm really happy to destash some of my fabric into kits for donation quilts.  The kit at the bottom of the photo is all from my fat quarters. Yay!  Out with the old, in with the new.  

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Update


     I'm having a lazy day at home today ( I have a head cold) and I thought I would share some progress. These are the blocks I made for my Modern Guild's block lotto.  This is a scrappy plus block that is making it's way around instagram, thanks to a tutorial by   @stephkucera.  For our block lotto we were to make our pluses out of black with white fabric, with scrappy backgrounds in warm colours, reds, oranges, yellows.  I managed to make my blocks entirely from scraps.  I love the fabrics in the gold block.  It seems to be one of my favourite colours at the moment.

     I decided to join the Quilter's Planner quilt along this year.  My nephew is getting married and I'm thinking this sampler quilt designed by Cheryl Brickey of Meadowmist Designs will make a great wedding gift.  Here's my completed January block.



     I'm using Kona Silver as the background fabric with feature fabrics from Lib's Elliots Tattooed line, with the odd other fabric thrown in.  That's a Katarina Rocella fabric in the middle of the square there.  Some of the blocks have frames around them and I have yet to decide on the fabric for the frames. 



 I ordered some Kona periwinkle to use for the frames and although I love the colour and it works, I'm not sure I want to use it.  So now I'm waiting for some Kona Regal to arrive to see if I like that better.

     I was at my public library recently and this book pretty much jumped off the shelf and into my arms.  I have a hard time keeping up with the clutter so I thought I'd give it a read. One of my goals for this year is to come up with some better cooking, cleaning and eating strategies.


                The book was some what reassuring because she wrote it for people whose housekeeping is in worse shape than mine. So I could pat myself on the back because Dwight and I manage to get our dishes done everyday and I manage to get my laundry done and keep the bathroom clean.  However there are always piles of stuff around in my house and like the author I have to run around having a cleaning marathon when people are coming over.

    I've picked up a couple of ideas from her book and some good insights into why past strategies I've used haven't worked.  Although we do the dishes on a daily basis, we leave them in the rack and don't put them away.  So I decided to put the dishes away each morning. This also resulted in me cleaning up the cupboard under the sink  so that I could put the dish drainer there.  The funny thing here is that Dwight has started to put the dishes away each morning, so I've trained him into the habit and not me.  This is an unexpected bonus!

     I hope you are all staying healthy and getting at least some sewing done.

    

     

     


Monday, 5 February 2018

A Happy Little Quilt

     
     When I set up my goals for this year I promised to share more posts about the donation quilts that I have a hand in making for my local guild and I have a real beauty to share with you today.

      Our community outreach committee publishes the directions for making blocks in our monthly newsletters.  We also put together block kits with the fabric for making one block.  Last year I wrote up a simple tutorial for a plus block and worked with Patricia to cut the fabrics.  I chose oranges and aquas for the blocks with a white background.  
Here are some of the blocks that were made by the members of our guild.



    I love the combination of aqua and orange and think they combine with white to make a happy quilt. Pretty much all of the fabrics in the blocks were from my stash except for the white background fabric which was from the guild stash and the awesome cactus fabric which was from my friend Wendy's stash.  I'm enjoying using up my fat quarters in these quilts.
     
    My idea was to make two quilts from the blocks.  One mostly aqua with some orange blocks and one mostly orange with some aqua.  I got together with my two friends for a quilting date a couple of weekends ago and I put together the mostly orange quilt top.



     I'm really happy with how it turned out.  This was a great block to use for a group project because the white background left lots of room for trimming down the blocks. The quilt is a little small so I'll have to add some white around the edges to bring it up to size before I have some one quilt it.  The blocks in the second  photo will be trimmed as well and put into a kit to be put together at our next bee day.

    I'm linking up with the Main Crush Monday linkup hosted by Beth of Cooking up Quilts.  Beth is hosting the New Bloggers Blog Hop, along with Tish of Tish's Adventures in  Wonderland, Sandra of Musings of a Menopausal Melon and Jen of Dizzy Quilter.  I participated in the New Bloggers Blog hop in 2015 and it was a wonderful experience so I would encourage you to join in if you have been blogging for less than three years.  You can check out the details on their blogs.

     I'm also going to link up with Laura of Slice of Pi Quilts with her 52 Charity Quilts in 52 weeks linkup.  Thanks Nancy for the suggestion.

     

Friday, 2 February 2018

February Goal

     It's time to pick a goal for February and as I was successful with my January goal I think I am up for a bit of a challenge.  So I'm going to work on completing my donation quilt.  As you can see here I have started this task so I'm optimistic that I can complete it this month.


     All in all I'm feeling pretty positive today. It's sunny out, and I'm always pretty happy when it's sunny out.  My aunt's apartment is all sorted (well except for a few things that came home with me) so there is no need to keep running back and forth to Toronto every weekend.  This is giving me a bit more down time, and a bit more time to quilt.  So let's see what February brings!  I'm joining the OMG linkup at Elm Street Quilts.