My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy Dance!

Woohoo, today is the last day of the month - of the year - of the decade - but right now I am most concerned about it being the last day of the month because it's a chance for me to celebrate that I have managed to blog every day for 31 days!!
I took up Cheryl's challenge, starting on Dec 1st. 61 other bloggers signed up too - it will be interesting to see how many of us managed a post a day? The idea was that if we could manage to blog once a day through this busy time of the year, we could manage anything!

So how did it go?

The month started easily enough, sharing gifts to and from my visit to America
I had fun on the farm with my elf —
I did a bit of reminiscing, looking at quilts I'd made in the past. Like this one
and this
I had a good little wander through Mum's house - that gave me two posts, which was good as I was away from home and all my usual inspiration.
I was able to interview Mum and get a little more information about Caroline —
My current projects made a showing, The Sopwell Ladies (and I even managed a small tutorial based on questions I'd been asked) —
And my current pattern testing for Juliet of Tartankiwi —
And had a look through the other projects I've done based on her designs —
We had Christmas —
And I sewed along with the Temecula Quilt Company, making their Tiny Tree
When I was lost for words I had photos of the family to share —
Or the farm —

On the whole it was fun - I enjoyed the process but it would be fair to say I'm happy that the month is over!

One of the big pros was hearing from so many of you so often - thank you for your encouragement!
One of the big cons is that I didn't have time to reciprocate the visits!
And I'm hoping that now that my time isn't being taken up with planning blog posts, I'll be able to catch up properly with my blog reading!

And on that happy note, I'm going to sign off for the last time this month, this year, this decade.
I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I hope 2020 is a fabulously creative and productive year!
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Monday, December 30, 2019

Looking ahead to 2020

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a 2020 Planning Party.
I thought I'd join in, and then I thought I wouldn't but now I've decided I will!
Planning for the new year is something that I've done in the past with limited success. One thing I do quite well is write a post in January and then never really thought about it again!!
But I'm thinking that, at least if I join the planning party, it's a start with trying to focus, prioritise and putting ideas into words.
It's a springboard for further thought, a little more accountability than if I do nothing!
At the start of 2019 I drew up a simple mind map that included the important things I wanted or needed to work on. It included things I'd committed to financially (particularly those things that have a bigger outlay) as well as other wants and needs for the year. Being a good size, visual and right next to my desk, I found it a useful piece of paper. I did actually refer to it often and I did actually double check it when I was finishing a project or starting something new.
It wasn't necessarily something I stuck to, and everything on it wasn't necessarily made/finished/etc but it was a useful tool.

So I'm going to do that again - I've got the start of a chart and will add to it as I get myself sorted.
Gosh my planning has barely started but it's getting full already!
I'm very good at getting my projects to a certain stage, putting them aside to come back to but not doing so. With that in mind I've signed up to two year-long parties for finishing projects. By doing this I hope to have some extra motivation and answerability which may help me meet some of my goals. A bit of cheering on from the sidelines never goes amiss either :-)
The first sign up —
Cheryll of Stitching Cubbyhole has issued a WOOFA challenge (Working On or Finishing A UFO).
For this, Cheryll is making a -list of projects to work on ... or even better... finish during 2020 (to quote her words).
So I'll be adding her WOOFA button and a list of projects/ufos to my sidebar when I get a chance.

And the second sign up —
Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 11.47.00 AM
Quilting Gail is running the PHD project in 2020.
I'm going to accept this challenge as well. It would be amazing to achieve my PHD in 2020!
(Where PHD stands for Projects Half Done.)
How does this one work?
To quote Gail -
We finish UFOs and we FINISH all projects that we start in 2020. We finish what we start so that the UFO list does not increase! (And, gulp, we have to list at least 12 of those projects.)So this is a pretty tough challenge but, if I can pull it off,  it will be most beneficial!

Plenty to think about, and to add to this year's mindmap.
Scrap Invasion —I sewed a lot of small scraps this year and made more blocks for my Omigosh quilt. Because it takes 1" strips/squares, it doesn't use up a lot of scraps.
I love making these but they don't use enough scraps fast enough!
And my scrap bins are overflowing, I cant walk past a lonely scrap without scooping it up and putting it in a (scrap) bin. This coming year I need to re-join Angela and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I love some of the quilts made where participants have sewn the same block all year e.g check out Sally of Objects of Design and her Piglet Mayhem quilt. Preeti did the same with her International Sisters quilt blocks. So I'm thinking I'd like to do something like this with my scraps in 2020. Watch this space :-)
The above plans make me seem very virtuous. While I will be busy meeting my goals (I hope!), I do know there will be the odd DREAMi and Squirrel moment. I love the regular linky Sandra of mmmquilts does.
Activities I Host on the Blog
This celebrates those - ahem - moments we have where we have to drop everything and start something new. As this happens to me, I'm sure I'll be linking up too. 

I think this is enough thinking for now. I need to make my lists for the WOOFA challenge and PHD work.

Just to finish, I looked after two small children today. I was very happy to see the beanbags I made them for Christmas in use!

'til next time (on this 30th day of continuous blogging!),
happy stitches,

Sunday, December 29, 2019

I met some goals!

I have two great things to report today.
This month I joined in with Patty of Elm St Quilts and committed to a One Monthly Goal of completing the last of the stitcheries needed for my Country at Heart quilt. It had been sitting waiting for attention for a very long time. In November I stitched the 4th to last —
And for my OMG I had these 3 traced and ready to stitch —
Here they are —

Ahem, the last one, above, shows how long I've actually been working on these!
I had a bit of a dilemma with the last one as I'd mistakenly marked the dots left to indicate where our own script could go. After a bit of thinking and planning I managed to cover the dots with strategically placed lettering and the simple vine at the bottom!
These designs are by Michelle Ridgeway of Rag Tag Stitchin'. Here are the rest of them, a gorgeous alphabet —
Thank you Patty for the motivation!

EDIT- I've come back to this post to link it up the following Tiny Tree to Sandra's DrEAMi party. It really was a project I had no time to make, was completely unplanned and I pushed myself to get it completed.
So pleased I did though!

The second exciting thing that happened today was that I got the Tiny Tree quilt finished!!
Thank you for those who guided me on my corner choice - the wee squares were a resounding winner!
Under the watchful eyes of Miss Piggy and Mr Quail, I took it outside for a photo shoot —
I decided it just needed very simple quilting so I stitched in the ditch of most of the seamlines. I used a clear invisible thread in the top and a very fine thread in the bobbin.
The sunny shots show what I did. All with the walking foot.
I'm so pleased to have it finished - in time for Christmas next year (!) Many thanks to the Temecula Quilt Company for this free sewalong.
( Day 29 of my 31 day blog writing challenge complete!)
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A cake and babies

From this—
To this —
(I added a few more blue dots after taking this photo.)
I got up to some very different creativity this morning. A cake had been requested. We all got together at YD's for a baby barbeque. No she didn't want a baby shower, so a family and friends day was held instead.

My cake making skills are limited at the best of times, but finding the baby doll to use was a great starting point!
I had grand plans of making the blanket look like a proper quilt but ha!
It was a lovely day and we all enjoyed relaxing. The cousins enjoyed playing together.

And talking about babies, I managed to get some photos of babies of a different sort. Some of you will have seen the Quail photo I got back at the start of the month. I was tickled pink to finally get a photo of one of our resident quails.
Yesterday I heard an odd noise and looked out the window to see a male quail on the fence —
Strutting this way and that, calling out —
There was a rustling in the bushes and bird noises coming from there as well. I figured Mrs Quail was in there. I'm sure she was asking if the coast was clear and he was calling back that he thought it was ok. There was just an odd woman on the deck but she looked fairly harmless.
After quite a bit of calling back and forth she appeared with a wee family of young chicks.
He led them away under the fence into the long grass in the orchard.
Later in the day they came out again and were taking the time to feed on the path.
Very cool. I'm hoping they pop out again from time to time!
'til next time,
happy stitches,