Thursday, December 29, 2016

Planning for 2017 - Simply Specific

Before I could decide on what my quilting goals would be for 2017, I needed to look back and see how I did his past year. Not much changed since my mid-year review in July. In fact, the only thing that changed was some more home decor sewing.

It's only taken me 3 years now to realize that I've been I've been approaching my sewing and quilting goals all wrong. I am a detail-oriented person. When a director said "I want Peter Pan to fly across the stage..." it was my job as a stage manager to make sure all of the specific details happened (platforms in place backstage, regulation tested rigging, union stagehands trained specifically in actor flight, costume harnesses, etc.)  and not just leave it as a vague idea. In wanting to give myself creative flexibility I essentially left my goals too vague for me to take action on in a meaningful way.

So here is the 2017 strategy - Simplified goals that are much more specific:

Focus on Current WIPs (in order of importance):

  • BB-8 quilt - I really wanted this for Christmas for my son, but since he didn't know about it in the first place, I'm okay that I didn't finish it. The new deadline for this is for his birthday in March.
  • Stash Bee 2017 quilt - technically it's not a WIP yet - I have 1 block made but it won't be revealed until January 1st on the Stash Bee blog. The blocks I get from this bee are going to be made into a lap quilt for my cousin who is getting married in March.
  • Aspen Frost Jubilee Quilt - this was an orphan block project that I adopted a few months ago from  Libby at Life on the Hill. Between finishing up all the Pulse quilts I got the sashing started but still need to get those blocks put together. This project has been an orphan long enough.
  • Pinwheel Wedding Quilt - add outer border and quilt by the end of the year (actual wedding is still TBD so there is no rush on this finish). Possibly quilt this on my DSM, although it's a bit big. Could be good practice with ruler work.
  • Midnight Mystery Quilt - needs to be quilted on a long arm. This one is going to take more than 1 day since it's a large queen size so I need to find a friend that can allow me that much rental time. 
  • Plaid Picnic Scrap Quilt - while this is not a hard deadline quilt, I want to make this project my "in-between project" - the one that I'm pinning or sewing between the other priority projects, sort of like a leader-ender project. 

Selfish Sewing:  

These are projects that I really want to do for myself.
  • I'd like to make at least 1 block a month from the pattern Bubbles
  • Leanne from the Devoted Quilter posted this tutorial to make these adorable free motion quilted ornaments. I admit, I'm a bit intimidated to try flow quilting like this but I think it will be a good exercise for me. I'd like to try and make one or 2 a month. 
  • I'd like to make a quilt using my own block pattern Dutch Windmill - I'd like to make 1 block a month using all solids from my stash.

Sew from my Stash - with a focus on precuts:  

Yes, we all seem to say this at some point, and I'm no different. I seem to have plenty of fabric and I don't really go on large fabric buying binges. I'm really good about only buying something that I need but I did have a problem with buying precuts a few years back and a goal that was on my list last year was to use more of my precuts. Again, that was too vague so here is a more specific goal, and these are if I feel the need to start a new project!
  • Layer Cake Quilt - using existing layer cakes of solid navy and Bonnie & Camille with the pattern/layout that I planned earlier this year. This is going to be a gift for my brother and his wife for next Christmas.
  • Somerset Jelly Roll & White Jelly Roll -- I think I'd like to use Chelsea's Picnic Pinwheels pattern from Patch the Giraffe.
  • Make at least 1 quilt to donate to charity. After last year's huge Pulse initiative, it seems a bit ridiculous to only strive for 1 quilt but I'm being realistic. The goal, though, is to still use what is in my stash. 

It's Okay to Watch from the Sidelines & Still Be Inspired: 

There are still so many projects that I want to tackle but I have to be realistic and remind myself that it's okay to say no, and just soak up all the creative energy from my cozy chair in the corner. Having taken over Stash Bee this year, I think it's important to not over-commit myself this year. I also know that I'm going to be a bit more involved in my local guild and will be coordinating some long distance swaps in 2017. Last but not least, I think I'd like to try a mini swap of some sort through Instagram.

Monthly Goal Setting: 

Setting goals each month really helped to keep me accountable so this is something that I need to continue doing. It appeals to my organizational nature of getting to check something off of my to-do list each month.

So there it is, all laid out for 2017.  More specific than in previous years which will hopefully lead to more success. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Secret Sewing - Wedding Gift Revealed

Back in May, what seems like ages ago, I took a class with Mandy Leins in which you would make an abstract quilt from a photograph. Before I even signed up for the class, I knew what I wanted to make.

This is a photo of Corkscrew, a rollercoaster at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky Ohio. The park holds a special fondness for my husband and me (we got engaged there) but it also happens to be the park where my husband's best friend, Kara worked as a ride operator for Corkscrew back in the late 1990's. Little did she know that more than a decade later, a chance sighting during a Disney marathon would lead to her reconnecting with one of her fellow Corkscrew coworkers, that they would fall in love and get married.

So, what better way to celebrate their marriage than with a quilted wallhanging of the ride where they first met. I wanted to keep it rather abstract, but I'll be honest, I really struggled on how to quilt this, especially the upper section. I had to resist the urge to just straight-line quilt the entire background but I wanted to keep it a bit more minimal. You'll have to forgive some of the wrinkles in the photo below. In truly rushed fashion, I forgot to take some good photos and my husband took this one with his phone in our hotel room before it was pressed one last time and wrapped.

Their wedding was last weekend and had a vintage resort vibe to it, set in a seaside Florida locale, and while there wasn't a rollercoaster anywhere to be seen, there was a beautiful carousel which provided a beautiful backdrop for some photos.

My husband and son were both in the wedding. They are the 2 on the right. I think they clean up well.  The couple loved the quilt and I look forward to seeing it hang in their new home that will be just a few miles from us.

This was my final project that I was able to get done this quarter for the 2016 Finish Along.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Cheery Holiday Wreaths

There's nothing more satisfying than finishing a quilt, but when it's a bee quilt that turns out even better than you hoped, it's the icing on the cake. And what's even better is that it's done in time to snuggle under this holiday season.


As with all of my quilts, I brought it to the performing arts center where I work for a fun little photo shoot. This week's production was the Nutcracker Ballet so it was fitting that I had a holiday quilt to photograph in the lobby.

I just love how we have a large glass circular grand staircase with stairs on both sides that wind their way up 5 stories high with balconies at each tier. The photo below is with me on the 2nd tier and the quilt hanging over the 3rd tier balcony. You can see the entrance to one of the theaters. (The quilt completely hides the doors on the 3rd tier.) I know the quilt looks rather small but I was determined to get the orchids into my photo.

This was my StashBee Quilt this year. It's done just in time for me to start on a new one for 2017! This finishes out my last one monthly goal for December and marks another item off my 4th quarter 2016 finish along list.

linking up to the December OMG linky party here.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

December's Monthly Goal

Man, I feel like my life got hijacked. I had everything in order. Plans were set for Thanksgiving, quilting projects were all on track, work and school schedules were under control, and then BAM! Out--Of--Nowhere, things just spun out of control.

First, I underestimated how much I thought I could continue to get done while I had family in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. Next, I started battling a bit of a cold, which didn't seem to help matters but luckily it subsided. What really got me was my headaches. For over 10 years I've battled vertigo problems and a few years ago my doctors finally figured out that a majority of my vertigo was actually migraines. Brains are funny things, especially when trying to figure out what medicines will work without too many adverse side effects. Seems that my most recent meds were giving me awful rebound headaches so they've had to wean me off that one and ramp me up onto a new one. Here's hoping that things level off soon.

I've also taken over Stash Bee for 2017 so there's been a lot of behind the scenes work getting things prepped and ready for new bee year to begin. It's a lot of work but I think it's going to be a great year. So with all that I've got going on this month, I'm keeping my One Monthly Goal for December one that I can hopefully follow through on! I've got my Holiday Wreath quilt all quilted, just waiting for the binding.

As you can see, my cat Oliver is enjoying the holiday decorations and is just waiting for that quilt to be finished too!