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The Design Progresses… Slowly

My new design is still that… a design.  But progress IS being made!  I did make the prototype cut… a fancy way of saying that I have cut it out of poster board!  My designs fit together like a puzzle, and I am very picky about them fitting together perfectly.  When I first started making these for myself, I was cutting them out of the fabric with the fusible on the back, and then finding something I wasn’t happy with, and starting over.  I was raised by the “Waste not, Want not” rule and that was not acceptable to me, not to mention that it gets expensive!  Do you know that fusible is more expensive per square inch than good batik quilt fabric?  And I was throwing both away!?!?!   So I started trying to figure out a better way.  One day it clicked that poster board is cheap, relative to fabric with fusible, and works well to assemble a puzzle.  I have a pretty good grasp on how thin an area can be cut from fabric and still not fall apart when handled, so I can tell that the poster board as well.

So now the process is to cut the design out of poster board and work the puzzle.  I also quickly color the pieces with marker, just so it doesn’t get too confusing looking at a pile of white puzzle pieces.  The colors aren’t always right, but they do the job!  So, the puzzle is made, the fabric ordered, AND I get a backorder notice.  Grrr… but only until I could wrap my mind around it.

Okay, move forward and start the assembly instructions.  These take a LONG time to write, and I usually do them after making the initial kit to photograph, but I am too excited about this kit and don’t want to have to wait!   So now the instructions are written, and hopefully ready to go.  And I think this is going to change the order of my process!  While writing the instructions, I changed the order of a few pieces, as I “built” the kit on the computer.  This saved some back and forth in the assembly and simplified a few things.  I even eliminated a couple of pieces (this kit has a LOT of pieces!) that just did not seem necessary in light of my fabric choices.  I was able to change the cut files to match, eliminating even more steps.   So much better!   So once again, what started as frustration, turned into learning a better more efficient process.

Bring on the fabric, please!!!

Are you frustrated with a project?   Take a deep breath and move forward with what you can!

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Comparing Ourselves to Others

As I am assembling my “Good Fortune” blocks into rows and ultimately a quilt top, I am learning many things about quilting.  I listed some of those in my last post.  However, I have to admit that I am learning even more about myself.   In the posting of these blogs, and in the viewing the progress of others, I am reminded of what comparing myself to others can bring out of me.

You see, at the time I am writing this, I am seeing many photos online of totally finished quilt tops, complete with the beautiful borders that have been designed for them.  They are carefully laid out and photographed, with not a flaw to be seen.  Then I think of all the time I have spent with my seam ripper over the past couple of weeks, because in my haste to keep up with all the progress I am hearing about others making, I have made mistakes.  And I have been so busy trying to keep up, I haven’t even noticed my mistakes until I had to put it all together.  And it would not fit.

So rip out I did, because in order to make this beautiful quilt, it all has to fit.  Does that mean I am inferior?   Why can’t I be fast like the others?    Should I just pack it up and quit?

What I am forgetting, is that I only see what is happening in my life.   I only know the thoughts that go through my mind.  (And now you do too! )  I don’t see what others had to do to make theirs fit.  I don’t see what else they were doing in their lives when they were working on theirs.  I don’t see the flaws hidden in a fold of the top.  I only see what they are allowing me to see.

And so it is with all of life.  Life is a process, a journey.  You and I have to pursue that journey, learning as we go, ripping out the mistakes and starting over when needed.  Moving forward when we have no idea what all these pieces are going to look like when it is completed.  And most of all, relaxing and enjoying the journey, taking time to relish the learning, pass it along to others, and enjoy their company.  We have to remember that only we know what is in our minds.  And we can not judge others, because we do not see their fears, their thoughts, their insecurities.  We only see our own.

Thank you for joining in the journey of “Good Fortune” with me.  I hope you have been inspired to try something new, taking it one step at a time and trusting the process.

There is still time to download the instructions for this quilt from the “Good Fortune” website.   And by the way, I have assembled this one row.  I have many other bits and pieces together, but I am not sharing what they are.  And that is okay with me!  It is beautiful and I am enjoying the process.

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Not So Good Fortune, and “Good Fortune” Week 4

Gee, I am re-reading last week’s post, and life seemed so much simpler then.  LOL.  Isn’t everything in life just relative?

My three year old great-granddaughter did indeed help me decorate the tree last Monday.  I put her in charge of adding my favorite icicles to the bottom half of the tree.  (I have 24 of these, so probably 20 of them are at the bottom now.)

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After EACH addition, she made sure I looked at it, and then, EACH time asked “Isn’t it just beautiful where I put it?”.   Now remember, she is only three.  She has been talking full conversational paragraphs since she was 18 months old.  And boy does it get entertaining at times!  She brightens our lives for sure!

We then moved onto the very fragile glass ornaments that she insisted on unpacking and handing me one at a time, with much commentary on each.  So fun!  I am just happy to have the tree decorated.  And the week did a fast decline from there, so it is VERY good to know at least that is done.

 

Tuesday included attending an elementary school Christmas Sing Along (my youngest daughter is the music teacher) an hour away.  Then afterward texts and calls were flying back and forth as a two year old grand was taken to the ER with difficulty breathing and an almost four year old grand was covered in hives and the question was “Do we go to the ER?”.   Do hospitals do group discounts?  We thought we were going to find out.  All is good with them now.  Wednesday was good.  The Sewing Connection sold out of Snowflake kits, and I had a good evening playing with lasers.  Playing with lasers and quilting are my happy place, so good times.  Then the creepy crud hit me very early Thursday morning, and that was pretty much the end of my week.  I spent two days in the recliner (And it takes A LOT to put me down.  I don’t sit still well!) and spent the next two feeling like I should be back in the recliner, and now it is Monday!  And we are even CLOSER to Christmas.  Yikes!

So, when you have no energy, feel like crap, and feel like there is way too much you should be doing to just be snoozing in a recliner, what do you do?  First of all, you realize that there are legions of people in way worse shape, and you thank God for your life, and move forward. Then you take a good look at what you CAN do, which for me was Good Fortune (in very short bursts), online Christmas shopping (also in very short bursts), and store stuff (even shorter bursts).  I am so thankful my husband was willing to run errands and go to the basement work area and bring me what I needed.  I am also so thankful for online shopping!

Last night I even set up my YouTube account, so I could start adding tutorial videos to my store.  I have added ONE!  You can click here to see it.  It took six hours to upload!  So ONE it is!  And now that I know, I will add them before I go to bed at night, and sleep while they load!

I am also so thankful that this week’s assignment for Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt, “Good Fortune” was foundation string piecing, which did not require accuracy.  The accuracy comes with the trimming into rectangles, and I didn’t have to deal with that until I was ready.  I still haven’t taken the paper out, and I think that is just going to wait until after Christmas.  I DID get all my pieces from Week 3 sewn, but didn’t trim those up after either.  I sure hope I have the break after Christmas that I see in my mind.

So here is what I have for this week, and what I have done so far, and yes, I am keeping my eyes open for a larger basket.  I know there is one around here somewhere!

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I was not thrilled with the idea of orange.  I am not a huge orange fan, so I went with more of a sherbet shade, which I like, but I am still not convinced that these colors will mesh together in the end.  This is my first ever mystery quilt, and I have found the color palette to be my largest issue.  Color is something I am usually pretty good at, and maybe that makes me even more nervous of whether or not I am going to like this when all is said and done.  I also am trying very hard to keep to my scraps and stash on this one, which is limiting as well, however I did purchase a bit of orange, as it is not something I use much of.  I am enjoying the mystery from week to week, and doing things I haven’t done before (like these strings) and learning new tips, including what I will do differently next time with the color palette.  Someone will think it is lovely when all is said and done, and it can always be passed along to that someone.  But who knows?  There is the possibility that that will be me!  It most certainly would not be my first project that I doubted while in progress, and then turned out great.

Please consider heading over to the Quiltville Blog and getting involved for yourself.  It really is fun, and you can download the instructions from the past weeks and save them, start where we all are and get involved in the community,  and catch up later.

I wish you “Good Fortune” and that all your Christmas plans go forth smoothly!

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Bonnie Hunter’s 2018 Mystery Quilt, “Good Fortune” Part 3

Bonnie Hunter "Good Fortune" part 3

Good grief!  Is Christmas really only a little over two weeks away???   I am SOOO far behind this year!  Between babysitting little ones, working on the store and the new designs to be released in early 2019, and the Mystery Quilt, I lost track of how quickly Christmas was approaching!

I have been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt “Good Fortune” (https://quiltville.blogspot.com/2018/12/mystery-monday-link-up-part-3.html), but I am afraid I am going to have to slow down on it and get my Christmas together.   Our family dynamic is way outside the box of being normal.  (As Patsy Clairmont says, “Normal is just a setting on your dryer.”)  We have lots of grandkids and a couple of great-grandkids, and the great-grands are older than some of the grands.  At the moment we have five under the age of 5.  Three of those are grands.  Two are great-grands.  (I had my four children over a 16 year span, and my youngest child and my oldest grand are only 2 1/2 years apart.)  Christmas is going to be really fun this year, IF I pull it together!  🙂

So, back to “Good Fortune”.   Here is what I have so far:

Basket of Quilt Pieces for Bonnie Hunter "Good Fortune" Part 3

 

Obviously, I need a larger basket!

It is really fun to play with all of the little blocks and wonder how Bonnie is going to put them together when all is said and done.  I realize the arrangement at the top of this page doesn’t work.  The green and neutral squares would not fit like this after they were all sewn together, but it was fun to play with them!  I only have about a fifth of the green and neutral ones sewn together at this point, but I will plug away at them in the late evenings until the next clue comes out Friday.  If I don’t get all of them done, the rest will have to wait until after Christmas.

In the meantime, hopefully my great-granddaughter and I will decorate the Christmas tree today.  (She is hanging out with me today while her mom does nursing school clinicals), and get some online shopping and my store work done so that I can get back to “Good Fortune” without feeling guilty about taking the time to sew!

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Wish me “Good Fortune” as I try to get this poor naked tree dressed today!

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Bonnie Hunter’s 2018 Mystery Quilt, “Good Fortune”

I have considered doing a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt for many years now, but joining just before Christmas was a hindrance.  I have folders on my computer of a couple of the PDF’s from years gone by, hoping that I would make it during another part of the year, but without the deadlines and community, never started them.  One year I even tried to get some quilter friends to do it with me, but was not convincing enough.

This year, someone posted about it in a Facebook group I am active in, and I decided that this was the year to just do it.  It really helped the decision that when the paint swatches came out, they were all colors that I had in my scrap bin or my stash, and using much of that fabric was priority.  So…  I have taken the plunge, and I am glad I did!  It actually is a nice break at the end of the day to go to my sewing area and work on something rather mindless.  Bonnie has done all the hard work, and each week you are just doing the same block, in the same way, over and over.

This is Week Two of actual sewing, and I would think it would be quite possible to jump in now and still keep up.  All the information and the free downloadable PDFs are on Bonnie Hunter’s website.    In one of her posts or instructions, she gave “permission” (Let’s face it… some personalities need to get permission!  🙂 ) to do part of the blocks and make a wall quilt, or do part now and catch up later.  I thought that was probably what I would end up doing, but I actually get a little caught up in it and go farther than I expected.  So far I have completed all of the Week One blocks (the red and neutral ones) and almost half of the Week Two (blue and neutral) blocks.  Week Three instructions come out Friday, so I plan on being done with these by then.

Bonnie’s instructions are very good, and even though I am an experienced quilter, I am learning time saving and accuracy tips.  Another plus is that at least the first couple of blocks are small pieces.  I have been able to use some fabric that needed to be cut very small to look good and get them out of my stash.

I plan on posting weekly updates of progress on here, but I realize that as it gets closer to Christmas it may be fewer pieces than needed, and I will have to catch up later.   I would love it if you would join along!

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Color Inspiration for Quilting

beautiful sunrise, quilt color inspiration, God's handiwork, featured

Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.  Psalms 19: 1

When I first started quilting, most of the quilting fabrics were “calicos” and solids.  There were few “quilt” shops (I don’t think I saw a single one until I was well into quilting and that was in an Amish area almost 2 hours away).   The big box fabric stores did not have aisle after aisle of fabrics organized by color.  There definitely were not many collections and colorways to help with your fabric choices, and for the most part I used fabrics that were left from other sewing projects.

So…  if you are not an art major, how do you pick colors that will look good together when you are finished?  I think the best advice I ever received on this subject is this:  Look to God’s creation.  In my early days, I would not have considered putting a vivid red and a vivid purple together, and definitely would not have put green in the mix.  But look at the poppies on my first blog.   How beautiful they are!   All red and purple, against a background of green!   The green makes the red “pop” because your brain cannot register red and green at the same time.  Consider the salmon, blue, and purples in the sky in this sunrise against the black background.  Wouldn’t either of these palettes make for a beautiful quilt?

Or consider the beautiful colors of a different sunrise: the soft pastel peaches, yellows, blues, pinks, and lavenders!  If you happen to be as fortunate as I am, you may even have a golden field of wheat below them to accent all of it.    Or how about the colors of autumn?   Or the colors of the rainbow?   Or the colors of the beach: the water, sand, birds, and seafoam?  Then there are the mountains… or a bouquet delivered by the florist… or a snowy day with blue jays and cardinals and the scarf of the snowman…  I am sure you have the idea.  Look around you.  Color is everywhere.  When you see something that registers as “I love that!” or “That is beautiful!” consider snapping a picture and capturing those colors in your next quilt!

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The Journey Does Indeed Begin!

poppies, color inspiration, Artfully Quilted Design, Purple and Red

He refreshes my soul.  He guides me along paths for his name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3

Retirement…  A time to step back, relax, take life easy.   That is what we like to think the definition is, but is it?   Or is it a clean slate to start doing that which you have been building within your life for many years?

I believe that whatever the Lord has brought into our lives, the experiences, the things that we have learned, the talents we have honed, the people we have met, the skills we have acquired, the passions we have developed, all have a purpose.  They all build on each other, and if we follow the path set before us, at some point they all converge.

And so this new life begins…