2020 Mini Quilt project – January

I have been thinking about crafting goals since last December. I have the habit of making lists of things to do that are so huge that there are literally not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Then I get frustrated that I can’t get 40 hours of work done in a 16 hour day (assuming 8 hrs for sleep … but not accounting for anything else like work, or dog walking or laundry… you get the idea). SO This year I decided to set ATTAINABLE goals for my creative endeavors. I am still working through the details on knitting and memory keeping (but enough to say that my goal is to use up both stashes of supplies) but I have narrowed down quilting and garment making.

Today…I present to you completed project #1 on the quilting list for 2020! My quilting goal this year is to complete at least one quilt block and a mini quilt each month following Alyce Blyths “Mini Master Pieces” book of 12 essential blocks and techniques. I love Alyce and several years participated in a Half Square Triangle quilt along with the result being a beautiful quilt for our home!

The first lesson is a basic 9-patch block, super simple so I wanted to play with dark backgrounds and using some fabrics from my stash that have been aging like fine wine under the piles ;-). I’m very happy with the result!

The block finished size will be 6″ square and I made up 7 to set aside and see what percolates after working on more blocks from the book.

I don’t have a design wall but fortunately, the mini quilt is about 24″ square so laying out the squares on the craft table totally works! Some blocks were fussy cut around motifs and I will admit to liberal use of the seam ripper when I sewed blocks together in the wrong order and upside down.

No photos of quilting, I used two layers of scrap cotton batting… I think by the end of this project I will have used up my bin of batting scraps in the attic – huzzah! I set my machine to it’s slowest setting and used my walking foot, remembering I had quilting gloves after about 1/3 of the way done. Definitely room for improvement as far as machine quilting. But that is the beauty in smaller projects, room for experimenting on a small scale.

I am very pleased with the finished product! This series will also be a good exercise in binding. My corners need a bit of work and there was a bit of hand stitching involved but still a success!!

Looking forward to Februarys block…I’ve got my fabric all pulled and set aside!

What projects are you working on in 2020?

(Also…am not a huge fan of this new “block” arrangement on WordPress, I feel like it’s getting in the way right now more than it’s helping…anyone else out there have feelings on this???)

2019 Reads

Oh poor neglected blog…let’s see if I can blog more than twice in a year for 2020? That would be a good goal….

I have discovered over the course of the last year that I am really not good at tracking…I think I start out strong and quickly lose interest because it’s usually too annoying or time consuming or frustrating. There are a few things however I do manage to keep a bit of a handle on because they are easy. Keeping track of my reading has been made infinitely easier with the Goodreads app on my phone and iPad. My preferred way to read is with an actual paper book in my hands but I have been reading on my iPad more and more especially when I travel and it’s so easy to pop over to the Goodreads app and update when I’ve read a book. I’ve also participated in their Reading Challenge for the last few years and this year is the most books yet at 44 when my goal was 30. I will also add that while I am a huge podcast listener, I do not listen to audio books so all of my books are read not listened to.

I think stats like this are kind of fun (yes, channeling inner geek)…

So many good books this year! I had several favorites… Stories for my Sister by my friend Elizabeth DuVivier is a must read!! I’ve linked her website so you can go and buy the book directly from the author (gasp! imagine that not buying a book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!)

My other fiction faves for the year were: The End we Start from (haunting but good) Verity (thriller!) Daisy Jones and the Six (rock and roll) Where the Crawdads Sing (such beautiful imagery) The Testaments (Love Love anything by M. Atwood) and rounded out the year with Christmas Shopaholic (because..who does not love Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood?)

As far as Non-Fiction I’d say my faves were Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin (you should definitely check out her podcast with her sister) and Slow by Brooke McAlary (who also has the Slow Home podcast also very good).

So there you have it! 44 books in 52 weeks… Come and follow me on Goodreads to see how 2020 progresses. I’ve made the same goal of 30 books this year and hoping to read even more than that!

What were your favorite reads of 2019?

One Second Everyday

(Except for the chunk this summer where I totally forgot about the app and my children didn’t remind me…)  And most of the videos are clips from videos I sent my girlfriend in Houston !

LOL I have now blogged as much in the first 3 days of 2020 as I did in all of 2019…go me!

And I do have to say… this app is really fun and I have already started my 2020 version! Give it a try!

Stash Bashing

One of the ways I engage with my hobby of memory keeping (and also prime the creative pump for my business and my other creative endeavors) is with a membership at Simple Scrapper which is a community of like minded memory keepers from all over the world (which is so totally cool) that offers classes, challenges, online crops, book clubs, a monthly magazine, templates and loads of fun and support. This past week has been their semi-annual “Stash Bash” week, a challenge for members to work on reducing or organizing their creative stash with an eye to making more projects and getting more stories told.

I’m currently working on my girls school albums with a completion date of June 7th (conveniently, their graduation date!) so I am making plenty of layouts and recording lots of memories right now. I do have one particular area of stash that needed a little love so I thought I’d share my Stash bash Project here with you (I’ve already shared it with the Simple Scrapper Community)

My lovingly acquired selection of Story Kits!

 I am the proud owner of many many Story Kits and Story Stamps from Ali Edwards.  I also amassed a years worth of Stories by the Month and, I’m embarrassed to say I have hardly used any of them.  When I thought about why (other than the usual reasons) I realized that they are all still in the original envelopes, so I can’t see or flip thru anything.  So how to get them out of envelopes and deal with different sorts of stuff:  cards, stamp sheet, sheets of cardstock and stickers and then loads of types of embellishments.  my first impetus was to go to Target and buy more plastic fridge bins to house the collection.  I really am not thrilled with the purple bin from the girls old toy room where they now reside.  Then I checked myself and thought a) too much plastic already and we are trying to make a conscious effort as a household to cut back and b) don’t feel like spending the $$.  I looked around the house and thought shoeboxes!  Totally can do that!  Except didn’t have quite the right size/shape etc….   I realized I can just keep them in the purple bin and get over it because it fits perfectly in the bookcase.  In taking apart a few kits and spreading them out… I hit up on the solution to the problem:  1-Take (almost) everything OUT OF THE PLASTIC stamp sets, chip board, everything except some tiny stars and other embellishments that must be contained.  2- All the loose embellishments go back in the big plastic envelope that the kit gets shipped in.  3-Envelope is labeled w kit name 4-  Envelope goes in back and stamp, chipboard, stickers, paper-ish kinds of things and finally the journal cards all stacked on top, then stood up in the bin.  It’s a little catty-wampus, it’s not perfect but quite frankly I was pretty giddy with how FUNCTIONAL it’s going to be for me!!  

the new home for the smaller embellishments! Easy to see and access!
Everything out of the plastic, ready to be stacked up and filed! Easy flip through access now!

I then took all my story by the month sets, which I’m using to document 2018 monthly, found a binder and some page protectors and slotted all the cards, chipboard and stamps into the page protectors so NOW when I’m ready to work on January, I can just add more page protectors and the cards and stamps are all in one place.

Monthly themed cards and embellishments ready to use to document 2018!

All of this was accomplished while still in my pajamas yesterday afternoon!  I’m so excited how everything turned out!!  I’ll try and post more photos in the comments, I wanted to share here because I know many of us probably have piles of these kits and hopefully some idea will help you to work with your kits!!  

Happy Dance over here!!

How do you organize your materials to make your projects flow more efficiently and leave you more time for actually making things??!

Some January projects…

Well, we’ve made it 1/12th of the way through the year…doesn’t it sound like a lot when you put it that way?!  The month has been pretty busy as usual and I’ve been at work on several projects over here.

On and off for the last several years, I’ve set an intention for the year through choosing a word as kind of a touchstone of sorts.  I have never been one for resolutions, recognizing many of them never make it past mid-month but a word has been something I could get behind… My words have been:  Prosper, Brave,  Passion (twice) and Complete, and this year

Forward

A few of the years I have participated in Ali Edwards workshop called One Little Word. Ali didn’t come up with the idea of a guiding word but she has developed a year long workshop with monthly prompts to help remind you of your word and to Make It Visible. You can learn more about her take on the project here on her site. I’ve signed on the the fun this year as it’s going to be a big year around here and I’m excited to see what the next season moving FORWARD is going to look like. I am also participating in a year long workshop called Fit which is an offering from Cathy Zielske who keeps it very very real, you can read more about that here. Seriously, sometimes I feel like Cathy and I could be best buds…we have sooooo much in common right now. I am formulating a number of goals around what Fit means, and I find the community around this workshop very helpful and inspiring.

Of course there is documenting off all this involved and this year I’m combining both efforts into one 6×8 album that I am going to just dip in and out of during the month as I work on various prompts and ideas. I’ve finished up my work for January (go me!) so I thought I’d share a very crummy video overview of my book so far… definitely can put learn better videography skills on the list ha ha…just keeping it real!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyzmGrMKJgQ&feature=youtu.be

So for some reason, I can’t embed a video here but if you click on the link above, it will take you to the You Tube Channel where I posted my video… WordPress changed up some things so it’s all about learning the new editor! Thanks for stopping by and let me know what you’re working on!