Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cutting Table

When I moved into my new studio and moved all my sewing paraphernalia into one place, I knew I needed some kind of cutting surface. In the past, my cutting has been done either at the kitchen table or counter and now I wanted it in the same room. I checked into lots of different kinds of cutting tables. My priorities were that it didn't take up a lot of space and possibly could even fold away. Some nice options would be that it had some usable shelves. Most important though, was that it didn't cost very much since I didn't have the money to spend. One day while wandering the aisles of Fred Meyer I literally almost tripped over a kitchen cart that someone had left in the aisle. The height was right, it could fold flat, and best of all it was on sale and I happened to have a coupon for an additional 10% off! Wow! Can't beat deals like that. So for $60.00 I brought home the kitchen cart. I love it. My mat doesn't fit perfectly, but my husband said he could someday make an extension for the top. Right now though, it's very usable the way it is and I love how it wheels around. I think it was a great find!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Recycled Leaders

When I moved into my new studio, I put new canvas leaders on my machine. I had bought them a couple years ago because one old leader had a large rip in it. With the move, it seemed like the perfect time to finally get those on. Throwing away the old leader seemed like such a waste, but what to do with the canvas? Finally it came to me, make shopping bags from them. I have wanted to purchase some shopping bags but don't like how cheaply most of them are made and refuse to spend more than a buck or two for one. So what a perfect solution. Best of all, it only took me about an hour and a half to make both bags. I found some quilt blocks that were for who knows what project to sew on the front just to make them more decorative. Now I'll be getting my groceries in style! My mother and grandmother's voice echos in my mind, "waste not, want not". I didn't waste and if I can get about 5 more of these made (since a typical trip to the grocery store involves about 7 bags of groceries) I'll not want either. These things are so sturdy that I think they may outlast me!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Creating A Garden Vignette

I have so many ideas for my yard. The problem is the cost of my vision. Gardens with vignettes have always appealed to me. A special chair or bench, surrounded by interesting garden art or beautiful plants are so inviting. There is a corner in my backyard that now houses our canoe that I have a vision of a beautiful vignette with a pergola, a bench, a stone patio or walkway and surrounded by wisteria, roses, and lots of beautiful blooms. I hope that in the next year or two that area will become a reality.

Today I spent most of the afternoon in my garden. I weeded, planted more flowers, fertilized and best of all created a little vignette. My youngest child's wagon has been stored in our shed for quite a few years. While I was hunting for our outdoor lanterns and other garden decorations in the shed, I thought, "that would look wonderful in a garden area with some pots around it. It only took about an hour to dig out a spot, get the wagon in place, a fill a few pots with flowers that should eventually cascade over the edge of pot and wagon. How fun to add something bright, and full of great memories to my yard.

My plans for this week of staycation involved yard work and so today felt like a task well done!

Wednesday's Adventures

Progress was made on the silk quilt for my daughter and son-in-law today. The quilt is all cut out after 2 additional trips to fabric stores for more fabric. One set of blocks are complete. These are 12 inch blocks so this quilt should go together quickly. I did find out that an unknown fiber content of one of the fabrics was obviously a polyester. It was purchased in the home dec part of a store and I thought it might be silk -- wrong! When I went to press a seam yesterday it melted away under the iron. Oh well, the block was recut and sewn and I'll just be careful with the rest of those fabric pieces. I'm certainly not going to make another trip out for more fabric. I need to get to sewing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Repeat of the Unexpected

I have to smile when I think of how yesterday went. It was day two of my week off. My plans were to spend time in a couple fabric stores, have lunch out and then spend the afternoon working on the silk quilt for my daughter and son-in-law. My start for the stores was later than I expected so I thought, "I'll just do the Mill End Store". I hadn't been there in months and I love the fabric selection there. I wandered up and down the aisles for more than an hour, feeling all the fabric. Fabric must be felt not just looked at. I found 4 pieces that I thought were a perfect addition to the silk quilt. After purchasing them I decided I better get home and have a quick lunch (no going out) and get to sewing. On arriving home, I checked my receipt because it seemed like the tab was a lot higher than I expected. I had been charged twice for a piece of fabric and had overpaid by $18.00. If it had been less than $5.00 I would have written it off as just an unfortunate, unexpected incident, but $18.00. I decided I better go back. Now it's about a 20 minute drive to Mill End from my home so it looked like it would be about a one hour round trip. At least I had company this time. My daughter decided to go with me, so again we wandered the aisles and she felt inspired to sew something. The money was reimbursed and I was home by about 3:00. I did get the quilt cut out, but no sewing has yet to be done. Oh well, there's tomorrow, but who knows the unexpecteds of tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dealing With the Unexpected

I've been around long enough to know that most days don't go as expected. There is always the unknown that happens, things out of our control. My first day off was no exception to that rule. And as usual my expectations for what I could accomplish were much higher than was possibible in a day. But if I've learned one thing in life, it is that since life rarely turns out as you had hoped or wished you better find contentment and joy in what you have.

I started out my day by taking care of my granddaughter while my daughter-in-law and my other granddaughter went to a doctor's appointment. That was a good time. I went grocery shopping with my daughter, Callie and my granddaughter and then we came home and made lunch for my daughter-in-law, Kristine and Leah. Every minute spent with Leah is a joy. She is almost 2 months old and considering she was not expected to live at all, every day that I see her is not an interruption but a delight. Holding her and loving her, despite all the difficulties she has brings great joy. We know our days with her won't be as long as we would wish, so having her as part of my day was wonderful.

In the afternoon, I planned to start a silk quilt that is for my daughter and son-in-law who got married last fall. It was supposed to be for their wedding, but hey, if they get it by their first anniversary I'd say that's doing really well! So I cut some of the fabrics (see phot0). I have never made a quilt out of silk so I can see it's going to be a challenge. Working with fabrics that don't have the stability of cotton may require some different techniques other than the typical 1/4 inch seam. After cutting one set of blocks I could see there wasn't enough fabric to do the whole quilt. So I need to go hunt more fabric down.

Meanwhile, a customer called and had thought I would have her quilt done by now. I had planned on doing it last week but didn't get to it. So I quickly put the quilt on, worked several hours and got it done, and she came and picked it up. Another unplanned event of the day.

It wasn't really frustrating though, but just part of living. There's always a choice to get bent out of shape and frustrated or 'go with the flow' and enjoy the unplanned. I did have time to hang some antiques in my kitchen (see photo) and work in my yard. So what unexpected events will be in my day tomorrow?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Work First Then Play

I spent today cleaning. First my bedroom, which often becomes the dumping grounds for books, magazines, papers and stuff that just doesn't seem to have a home. I even sorted through all the bathroom cupboards and collected a whole garbage bag of stuff. It was amazing how many body gels and lotions I had saved with only a 1/2 inch left in them. Then I moved on to my studio. That too needed a good cleaning. After two quilting projects in the last two weeks there were scraps to put away, patterns and books to return to their proper place, and vacuuming of a lot of threads and fabric dog ears. All in all, I spent about 4 hours cleaning. The end result is I feel ready to play. Even though I want to have a relaxing week and one with some fun projects either started or completed, there is a great feeling with starting out with things clean. I can hear my mother's voice, "work first, then play". She was right you know!

Week of fun - a staycation!

I've had scheduled on my calendar for some time now that this next week would be a staycation. A week at home not to do the usual normal things, i.e. cooking, cleaning, business quilting, etc. But this week has been set aside to do projects that never seem to get done. It's going to take some planning and prioritizing to accomplish even half of my long list of projects. Eliminating some of my usual activities is also quite diffiicult, but a respite from life is often what is needed to revive the creative juices. Now that I have my new studio it seems like it's the opportune time to take a break from the usual and take time for some fun stuff. Even the weather is supposed to cooperate this week. Stay tuned on this blog for how my week goes!