Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 In The Rear View Mirror

I'm starting the writing of this post on December 21, hoping to have it ready to post on December 31. Always need to start with a picture or two. These are my Christmas joys!

It's that time of year for me. I'm into reviewing 2016 and setting some goals for 2017. I've been getting weekly emails from Kim at Sublime Reflections on Designing My Destiny for the upcoming year. First we took inventory of 2016, while putting some focus on what worked, what didn't, and what got missed along the way. I accomplished quite a bit, even though I have had a real lack of energy since returning from vacation in October. My focus and dedication to finishing anything, just isn't there. So, that makes it a good time to reflect and plan, with anticipation, for a year that exceeds the current one. 

While reflecting on the old UFOs that were completed, new projects started (some becoming 2016 UFOs and others finished), and how many items I gave away I realized that I had a very productive year. Here is a recap:
12 quilt tops were quilted on my long arm machine for customers
17 quilts of my own were finished, these were everything from lap to Queen in size
18+ pillowcases
12 tshirts were hand dyed
Wicker sofa's cushions were reupholstered 
2 Eurosham covers were made
1 'fox' pillow was constructed
1 fleece throw was finished
2 over dresses of prom type fabric
1 twined rug
1 tote bag was made using my favorite pear fabric
5 wallhangings of various sizes
1 table runner/dresser scarf done mostly on the longarm quilting machine
8 journal covers
1 playing cards case with silk fusion exterior
1 small weaving
2 pieces for the Call & Response Challenge
1 rhombus cowl/shawl crocheted
2 workshops given
3 workshops taken
30+ boxes of someone else's stuff were sorted thru and passed along to appropriate recipients 
And over 100 items were given away! That's a good year. 

Thanks go to God, for blessing me with the ability and resources to do this. 

My December intentions have all come along nicely.  
The Contata at Orangeburg Lutheran Church was blessed by these five Claflin students. 

We have attended most of our planned events and activities. I say most because we both had to deal with health issues mid December, but we're on the mend now. Made some of Heather's Cold Killer Chicken Soup, and got some given to us by a neighbor. 

The kitchen redo starts on December 27. I'll be without the full use for about one week. Everything needs to get moved out. This is how it looks 12/21/16. Too dark and dreary for us. And a bit messy. 

Sure glad I picked up these boxes last week. The plan is to put the group of UFOs, books, and paraphernalia, that I have on my monthly goals list, into the box designated for each of the twelve months. This will keep the visual distractions to a minimum, I hope! But first, I'll pack the kitchen into them while we're in the improvement process. 

And the yard project is completed. Here are some before and after pictures. 
This was done by Baker's Pond and Garden. Brian and Mr. Joe were so pleasant and thoughtful. And Baker's have a great BBQ every week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If you're in the area drop in to their location on Central Ave, in Summerville, SC. You won't be disappointed. 

And as for my 2017 intentions and goals, things are underway. I've written down the majority of unfinished, thought about, and dreamed of projects. I have over 100 separate entries and two thirds of them are assigned to a month for some attention. This is where my 12 boxes will come in handy. Any and all of the "stuff" that can be put into a monthly box is going in. I hope to have a contents list on the top or side of each box. I will be able to easily find something if I need to retrieve a gadget or gizmo. 

As of today, December 27, our kitchen is in the process of a face lift! 
By Friday I should be able to add a collage of the cabinet makeover. 

Then we'll need to shop for counter tops, sink, and faucet. I really like how the mocha glaze looks over the antique white. And to think I entertained the idea of sanding down the original cabinets and chalk painting them.

It would have been fun, but I'd rather figure out my next step with this sweater/shawl I've been working on. I'm not a thin person, and it definitely would look nicer on a 'very' thin person. I thought it was odd to not increase as I went down from the underarms, but I trusted the pattern. Oh, well, I have a new gadget for winding yarn into balls, so that might be its next step,,,
And I did finish a special gift for Aunt Marjorie. A case for holding 2 decks of playing cards and a scratch pad for keeping score was made from one of my recent pieces of silk fusion. 
No telling what might still get done before this post goes up. I've found it a bit easier this month to just keep adding to this one. So, if it is a bit challenging to follow, it is not you, it's me, and accept my apologies ahead of time. 
Thanks for hanging in to the end of this one, it's been many days in the making. LOL

May Jesus' love for you be manifested in such a way that you shine. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Creative Growth 2016

This post is all about the new or dormant avenues of creativity I have pursued this year. 

I've been doing the worksheets for Design Your Destiny 2017. This is a four week set of worksheets from Kim at Sublime Reflections. During the first week, we were encouraged to take a thorough look back over 2016. One topic was to list all of the accomplishments. While looking over my list, I was struck with how much I've grown as a Creative Individual. Not so much the volume of finished items, there were plenty, but the opportunities to grow creatively that I had pursued. 

1-One Block Wonder, tumbling blocks, and machine appliquéing of hexies when a slashed section needed to be addressed. 

2-Improvisationally piecing. First quilt had a miss-cut block. Second image is the backing that almost became a front, I liked it so much. Third is getting a background that would work for the Impatien, then appliquéing it down. 
3-Block of the month quilts. I think monthly tasks would have more appeal if my creative time was more limited. The best way for me is to collect all the steps, read everything, do my own cutting guide, and proceed from there. I enjoyed it more that way. These were the two I finished out this year. 
4-General sewing for the grands, making cushion covers, totes, etc. I used new types of fabrics and stabilizers in these projects. I don't think I'll sew with glitter fabric again. Too much cleaning afterwards!
5-Designing the layout for the Tumbling Around The Garden quilt, when I couldn't get all pieces up on my design wall. And learning to use the Accuquilt Go cutter for all the leftovers of a project. 
6-Using Ice with mixed Procion MX dyes for the results you can get from the splitting action. Shibori under ice produced amazing results. 
7-Knitting, Crocheting, Weaving, Twined rug, and Twisted Fabric coasters. I rarely pick up my hooks or needles and I forget how much I enjoy using them. Some of the projects that I started are already unraveled, others are waiting for finishing. And the handbook and loom for the twined rug were given away. I enjoyed making it, but I know it will only sit and make me feel guilty that I'm not doing more of them. 
8-I tried utilizing my longarm quilting machine for sewing. Some results were better than others. I prefer a conventional method for piecing things. I liked how the dresser scarf turned out. 

9-Fabric book pages were finally made into that elusive book!
10-Precision paper piecing was added to my tool belt when I took a workshop that not only taught me Judy Niemeyer's technique but more importantly a lesson about getting rid of the clutter in my work environment. I couldn't believe how effective it was in keeping me focused. 

11-Call and Response Challenge stretched my artsy side, as did my attempt at a fused improv piece.

12-Experimented with designing: color progression on the Jamaican Me Crazy quilt, illusion of movement on the Schulta quilt. 
13-Silk Fusion has really gotten my attention. Here are the first three pieces. 
14-Crazy quilting with Kathy Shaw's method stretched me to follow someone else's plan! Not an easy thing, but so worth it. Not completed as of this post. 

My take-away from this little exercise:
I continue to be open to learning. 
I'm ok with unraveling, or cutting something up, for using in a different project. 
Projects have their own life span, some are finished sooner than others. And this doesn't seem to have anything to do with complexity. 
I get enjoyment out of planning, documenting, reviewing, and blogging about it. 
Hope you enjoyed reading it. 

May God bless you with peace and love. May the Christmas Season live in your heart every day of the rest of your life, here and forever. 

PS-all those December Intentions are well underway, yeah!
Love you all-Luann


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December Intentions

First a picture,
it was taken by George H. Fischer, November 30, 2016 at Folly Beach. Beautiful image. 

December Intentions:

First, and most importantly, are our Christmas activities. We have Contatas to attend, family gatherings to travel to, decorating our house, get-togethers with friends, guild parties/meetings, and a possibility of company coming into town for a few days to stay with us. I'm looking forward to all of these moments for making memories. 

Second on my list will be to get all decisions made and work underway on our kitchen upgrade project.

Third is a yard project that will take a bit of our time and patience. 

Fourth will be getting my creative intentions together for 2017. With this in mind, I'm going to pack some things up, label them, and find a convenient spot for them. Getting the distractions out of sight helps keep my focus on the task at hand. 

I have no intentions for finishing specific projects.  I'll be enjoying the process of making progress. 

I will relax, enjoy time with family and friends, and be mindful of why we call it Christmas! 

May God bless you with love and joy in Christ 

November Final Review

Most important items have been shipped out today! Inside those two boxes are Christmas and December Birthday gifts. Below is the throw and pillow I got finished for Miss Molly's BDay. 
I had a real setback when I tried to piece a little quilt for her. The fabric I ordered to go with the pillow didn't have any foxes on it! 
I had cut and started to piece the top when I just knew I was not going to be happy with it. So I did some quick online looking, drove to Joann Fabrics, found the fleece throw kit and purchased it. When I got home I decided to trim the edges with a pinking rotary blade and leave it as one layer. She wanted it for wrapping up in when she's watching tv, and two layers would make her too warm. So, it was a quick finish. I now have these pieces to use in another project. 
I also took some time experimenting with Silk Fusion. I really enjoyed the process. Here are my first 3 pieces. I have to decide just how I will use each of them. I won't be using them in anything that would need to be laundered. I'm thinking prayer journal, art piece, hmmm. 
I decided to unravel my crocheted piece and wind the yarn into balls for future use. 
And the child size quilt top is waiting for quilting. 
All the other possibilities, well, not finished but progressing. 

Today my kitchen is being measured for updating. Hope to have that finished by mid January. 
We may have some company between Christmas and New Years. This is something that I would truly enjoy. I never have enough time with my loved ones. 

I first thought, 'gosh, I don't have much to blog about this month'. Then I realized how busy I've been with family events, concerts, meetings, get-togethers, gift shopping, wrapping and then shipping everything out. 

It 'was' a productive month. 

Almost forgot this one that I finished and gifted to Bob and Donna. 

May God bless you all with a Christmas Season filled with wonderful memories. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mid November Update

I have been working on these two projects this past week.

The first picture is of a child size quilt I'm working on. The top is pieced, backing is prepared, batting chosen, and all the pieces are hanging in the quilting room. I'm going to keep it simple and get it finished soon. Then I need to work on the quilt for the 'mommy'. 

Second picture above is of some of the beading I'm doing on my project for Kathy Shaw's Basic Crazy Quilting Class. I need to attach some lace, charms, and a personal touch before I can consider it done for the class assignment. Then I'll remove it from the stretcher bars and decide on how to finish it. 

I've also read Silk Fusion, watched the DVD regarding this method (2hrs), and unpackaged the tussah silk slivers I ordered. I can hardly wait to get started. 
And no, I'm not going to make myself wait until some elusive number of other projects get finished. Here's what those fibers look like, could you wait?

We also did a fair amount of fall cleaning around here these past few weeks. I'm ready to get back into my creative groove. Christmas is fast approaching and I'm getting into the spirit of the season. 

May God bless each of you with a heart filled with love for others. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

First Finish for November

I got that first intention out of the way, with a day to spare. 

I'm calling this one done! I thought I wanted more quilting on it, but have decided to leave things alone. This was a paper pieced Impatiens, Judy Niemeyer pattern,  that I appliquéd onto an improvisationally pieced background.   

And here it is with a flower sitting on top for added interest. 

This was going to be my entry into a President's challenge with my quilt guild. We drew envelopes that contained three color chips. 80% of your finished piece was to be those colors. You could add up to 3 other colors. It had to be a minimum of 30" on each side. 
My color chips were represented by the yellows in the flower, mottled jade in the background, and the pale green in smallest inner border. I added brown and fuschia. I think I hit the 80% criteria. 
Then it was time to quilt and bind it. Something went wrong, very wrong! I have learned my lesson, I need to stabilize the quilt top to maintain the dimensions. It doesn't meet the minimum of 30" on each side. I could add something to make it larger, like giant rick-rack or prairie points. But, to tell the truth, I'm ready to be done with it. I really liked what I did, but it took so long that I've lost my enthusiasm for it. It is time to send it off into the world. Giving it away gives me the most pleasure anyway. 

Hope your projects get finished before they become boring. Luann

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Intentions, Progress, Finishes

I'll get right to it. I've gotten plenty of tasks accomplished over the past few months, but they weren't necessarily the ones I had intended to do. This happens occasionally and that's ok, but I want my focus to stay more on target. So, I'm going to try the monthly intention listing again. It's helped in the past, I believe it can do it again. 
First up:

I want this piece completed, now. It needs more quilting to lay flat. The binding has been prepared for it. The center will get a brown unit. A circle, Hexie, yo yo, or ? I'm determined to get this done by November 6. 

Here's where my piece has progressed to for the Basic Crazy Quilting Course I'm taking online with Kathy Shaw. It's a free course, has 12 tasks, and is very doable. Check out her site for when the next course will be offered. I have plenty of tasks to finish out before I will consider it done. Projected completion is November 30. 

The red one is another impatiens placemat that I want done by Nov. 30. This one, unlike the yellow one, will not be appliquéd to the top of a background. I want to try a pillowcase/facing finish it. This will be a sweet little table topper when done. 

I have an idea for a quilt that is rambling around in my head.  It will use lots of different size blocks, scraps galore, and strips to give it a portrait feel. I have orphan blocks, scraps, and left-overs from several finished projects. I will be searching for one or two fabrics for bringing some cohesiveness to it.  I won't be using any basic neutrals, as that just isn't what I'm looking for. 

I also have a piece started that I refer to as my Pojagi piece. Not sure where I'm headed with this. 

There are also one knitting and one crocheting project. Both are sitting in the basket. I'm not pleased with how they look, so they may get undone and the yarn put back into a ball for the future. 

On my design wall is a piece I call Flower Garden. It has flower heads from hand dyed cloth fused on. I want to try couching the stems with my longarm onto it. Even if it doesn't turn out the way I want, I need to try. 

I think that my biggest drawback to getting some of my projects underway has been fear! Yep, fear of messing up what I've already done. That's why I'm counting on this post to help keep me motivated to make progress. Progress comes before completion! I really should print that out. Maybe even have it tattooed on my forearm! 

Well, that's enough for today. I'll be back as I get some progress made. 
Until then, Let's Create Today!  Luann