Monday, September 28, 2015

Design Wall Monday--last of September

On this last Design Wall of the month is the Timber Quilt I've been immersed in for the past couple of weeks.  There is a LOT of cutting involved in this complex design but only straight stitching. 
I made myself a plan for each of the five neutrals required for the quilt sections.  However, I chose the Fast Flying Geese method rather than cutting 96 two inch squares for the four blocks requiring multiple flying geese. 
There are a number of different methods for fast flying geese.  While I have used the above-pictured method many times before, I tried THIS method from Connecting Threads first, as it boasted less cutting up front.  However, I found the trimming down to size far more tedious and less accurate for me than cutting four small squares. It was still half as many squares to cut than the pattern instructions.
Post-It notes sure are handy to keep all the different neutrals separated.  These cut pieces are lying on top of the main neutral, Silver, which still needs to be ironed before I get cutting. 
The finished component parts are piling up! Some colors may be eliminated but I am giving myself choices.  It has been hard to face roasting in my sewing room and ironing with this relentless heat we have been having in SoCalif.  Just moving from the sewing machine to the cutting table causes sweat to break out.  We run fans constantly and try to keep the house cool with shutting windows, etc, but the humidity is just impossible.  The HVAC companies have been having a golden year with all the folks wanting air conditioning installed!

Yesterday DH and I went to the beach late in the afternoon.  I had read that the water temperature is 75 degrees, unheard of in our more central California town--it is a more typical of San Diego summer water temps.  DH took a swim while I waded and watched, and then he relaxed on the beach as I waded all the way to the next jetty and back.  It was wonderful to listen to the waves, watch the sandpipers and beach visitors, and enjoy the cooler wind.  We have vowed to make this a more regular occurrence--so good for the soul!

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grandma's Things

Cross stitch is something I still do occasionally. I do love the rhythm and slow pace of the craft. 
I ordered this Poinsettia and Pomegranate stitchery kit several years ago. I've not gotten too far along but recently purchased some additional floss for it. The little snap purse in the picture was in my paternal Grandmother's sewing things that came to me after she moved to a memory care home. 
She never used the clever repair kit inside. It was probably a free gift from a shop decades ago. 
The kit now stays with the stitchery bag and I'll smile when I use it, remembering my dear Grandmother who made my sister and me so many dresses and outfits when we were small. I recently came across all my Elementary School class photos. I was struck by the realization that almost every year for Picture Day I wore a homemade dress or outfit, made either by my Grandmother or my Mom. Handmade is still best in my book!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Design Wall Monday--Sept 14, 2015

On my design surface is a new project with a short deadline.  Our daughter Elaine's best friend is getting married next month.  Elaine passed on her friend's question, "Do you think your mom will make me a quilt?" Of course I will!  They are a modern young couple who like very neutral colors in their decor.  With Elaine's approval, I had picked up this Alison Glass pattern a few months ago at Superbuzzy

At the end of the last shopping trip, I learned that I only needed to spend $3.00 more to be eligible for a $25.00 gift card through their rewards program.  I headed back to Superbuzzy to buy all my fabrics as the pattern calls for Kona solids and the shop carries dozens of colors.

I bought extra of all of the neutrals used in the cover quilt, especially the main color, Silver, as I plan to make the larger sized option, and also for stash building.  Here are Silver, Ash, Smoke, Charcoal, and Shale. I also couldn't resist a few fat quarters for bright options, though I'm not sure I'll use them, given the couple's neutral favoritism.  The fabrics are all washed and waiting for ironing and cutting.

Searching around for different color options also lead me to a Timber Quiltalong earlier this year on the ModernHandcraft blog.  Some great colorways came out of the quiltalong.  I really liked the ones with all the prints, of course :)

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Assorted Flavors

Well, didn't mean to disappear for over a week!  I finished my KonMari purge of all the papers and got most of them organized.  There are still some loose papers that need corralling in binders, and some thoughtful contemplation for the extra bins and folders that have piled up. I've been sorting the mail as soon as I get in the door and will continue that.  

Although I had thought to get into my kitchen next, on reread of the chapter on Komono, or miscellany, the next category was CDs/DVDs.  This morning I have completely gone through my personal CDs and through the family DVDs with my husband.  The CD cabinet remains full with my husband's collection, but mine are pared down to only the ones that "spark joy", and all the DVDs now fit in two photo boxes.  Love that.  

The horrible heat that we've been having for weeks has put a damper on sewing, and especially ironing, but the Bullseye blocks don't require ironing as they are assembled.

I concentrated on adding green to the piles.  Some of the circles came from previous rounds.

 Final center round has now been attached and I will give these a quick pressing before cutting into quarters and laying out the border. 

I'm happy with how the diagonals are working out, even though I had to rip apart the blocks for one border twice and resew them to make the diagonal go the right way 'round. I'll have to be careful with this second row too :)  Once I get the next border on, I'll assess what additional border widths I need.  I have a brown print for a narrow containment border, and then will have to find a suitable green print for a larger outer border to get this to a queen size for my brother's bed.  

And for the big finish on this post, this week our DD Elaine and husband Chris let the rest of the world know the wonderful news we've been dying to share: 
Cove is going to be a big brother next year!  We are thrilled they are adding to the family and look forward to the new grandbaby, girl or boy.  Life is good!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I've been Tidying Up--the Kon Mari Way

My daughter Erica came home from the bookstore a month or so ago with the organizational book that has been taking the world by storm for the past year.  Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizer, came up with a new way to "tidy up", once and for all.  I had heard of the book's ideas through online sources but actually reading the book was eye-opening and exciting to me.  Finally, a method that seeks to keep only what you love, and to sort through all you own based on categories rather than rooms or frequency of use.  This seemed revolutionary, and completely caught me up in imagining never having to tidy up (purge) again.  KonMari method involves gathering every single item of the particular category and going through it "all in one go", keeping only the items that spark joy when you touch them.  Discarding is first, then you decide how you will organize/keep the items you love.  She has a specific order in which to sort items---wisely leaving mementos and keepsakes such as photos to the last.,204,203,200_.jpg
The first category is clothing, as there is generally easier decision making with everyday items such as these.  I did all my clothing in a long session one day when my husband was out of  town. It is messy getting everything you own out where you see it all and touch it all.  I have always purged my clothing and donated several times a year but there had been some things hanging around long past "joy". Here are some before and after shots of my drawers and closet:

 Sock drawer before.
Sock drawer after.

 Tshirts before.

Tshirts after.  Folding the clothing the KonMari way and storing vertically lets you see everything at once.  It is an extra step but not difficult.  

 Long sleeved shirts before.

Long sleeved shirts after.  I got rid of shirts that were stained, too short, too wide, unflattering, ill fitting, and even a brand new shirt I had never worn but kept because I liked the color.  Marie Kondo says these types of clothes have done their job of showing you what does not suit you and as they spark no joy, they can be released.  

 Tanks tops before.
Tank tops/shorts after.  Reaching into this drawer, I know that each item fits, is clean and presentable, and works with the rest of my wardrobe.  That's a good way to feel when getting dressed each day.  

Next was the closet.  I had been through my closet only months before, and yet there was still so much I wasn't wearing.  Now I was able to keep only the clothing I love and easily get rid of the rest.

Unseen items on the shelf beneath the clothing were completely eliminated.  So many pairs of painful shoes and unloved scarves...

I kept one basket of winter type scarves and one basket of dressier scarves for work.  They are neatly folded and won't keep exploding at me from inefficient hangers and piles. 

Worn out jeans and past-due jackets were nixed.  My overflowing hamper got a new home too.

I kept my pants and leggings on hangers, as I had plenty of room.  The closet floor and the shelves got a good vacuuming and dusting while everything was out as well.

Marie Kondo counts shoes, bags, stockings, belts, and jewelry in the clothing category, so all of these got KonMari'd too.

Look at all that open space!  I can now see and wear my favorite necklaces. My dresses have breathing room.  Even my lounge clothes and pajamas are standing tall :)

 This shelf and mismatch of loose jewelry storage/clutter was long overdue for a good sort. 

Everything in the boxes are pieces I love and will wear.  I eliminated over 100 pieces of clothing, bags, jewelry, shoes, socks, etc in my clothing category.  Now when I shop it will be to fill holes in my wardrobe, choosing only things I love.  I haven't missed anything I let go yet!

I have already completed the next category, books.  I went through my personal books, including sewing/crafting/art books, and then Erica and I tackled the common bookshelf.  We let go of over 70 books and kept only our beloved favorites. Before, there wasn't a single shelf that wasn't double or triple booked.  Now they fit.

The next category is papers and I am deep into that category this long weekend.  It is a very messy job to gather EVERY single paper you own and sort it all.  This does not include mementos or photos, so no joy is expected for this category, per Marie.

So far, between our household papers and my personal papers, I have put four full large grocery sacks in the recycle bin, and have six bulging plastic grocery bags full of papers to shred.  Late today I found a cache of old filing on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in our office--it was from 2008-2009!  Marie's method is basically to throw out all papers, only keeping a very few for specific reasons.  I am being very ruthless and eliminating everything I possibly can.  We will still have a filing cabinet with separate files, contrary to her counsel, and I'll still have personal papers in my desk drawers, but the groaning unsorted piles all over the house are banished forever.  We already have a system in place for day to day papers and will just maintain that.

It feels great to be on the way to a cleaner, lighter life where I won't have to dread looking in a closet or drawer. Everything is fair game.  I am no longer going to be holding onto items given me that I don't love on my own accord.  

The next category is Komono, or "miscellany".  This is a broad category that can be subdivided in myriad ways.  I'm thinking kitchen next...