Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Destash Check-in

It's going on the end of January, time to report my efforts to deStash and get out from under the fabric behemoth.

My son discovered a random 2-yard length of royal blue canvas when he was cleaning out his room.  Rather than stash it in my sewing room, I boxed it up and sent it away to my nieces.  Win!

I also gifted youngest daughter with a length of sequined sari-like fabric that I was never gonna use.

Finally, I was able to pull fabric from my stash to make my father a teapot cozy in colors that would approximate his kitchen decor.
Teapot Cozy: first finish of 2014

When I was asking my sister for advice--sending her pictures of various fabrics--she hinted that I might just go out and buy an appropriate fabric.  Well... yeah... but that would totally defeat the purpose of the Fabric Fast of 2014.

On the Not Buying New Fabric front, I have not been super-tempted as yet.  There was a 25% off your total fabric purchase coupon given out at the end of retreat, but I chose to buy a yo-yo maker instead.  (Supporting my brick-and-mortar LQS, while staying on said fabric diet.) 

Also, I collected donated quilting magazines while at retreat, and the scrappy quilt patterns within have given me something to dream about besides new fabric.

Dreaming up new projects with old fabrics.

Linking up with the Fabriholics Anonymous check-in.  All in all, off to a good start.  Now, if only I were doing more sewing...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Plans for Retreat

The time is drawing near for my annual trip into the snowy woods with my quilting friends for a retreat weekend.  (Yay! Christmas in January.)

I have begun sorting and packing up things that I might work on.  I know that I always bring too much.  I have no intention of finishing everything.  I just like lots of variety, and really never know what I will have the mojo for working on.  (Hello ADD)

For sure want to finish:

The "git 'er done" pile
1.  Border for Sweetie's t-shirt quilt.  Also want to piece the backing fabric, so it can be sent off for quilting as soon as I get back.

2.  Complete the machine quilting on blue baby quilt.  Really, this is so close to done that I am almost embarrassed that I let it sit around for so long.

3.  Stuffed cat for Barnyard Quilt Along

Other projects:

A few of her favorite plays...

4.  Daughter's drama t-shirt quilt.  This is just in the beginning stages, but is tentatively intended to be my main focus for retreat.  (As if I can ever really focus.)  I have been dreaming and drooling over possibilities for design, but haven't narrowed my ideas down enough.  Have at least 2 paper-pieced sections ready to start.

5.  Decorative tissue box covers.  Pattern and fabrics all set to go.

6.  Little black dress.  (Ha-ha, really a nightgown from a knit fabric.)  Found it all cut out when I was sorting and tossing in December.  Why not finish it up?

7.  Relaxing Robin.  If I want to be ready to applique on a border in February, my design idea calls for applique with crazy-quilt pieces.

8.  Quilted teapot cozy.  Requested by Dad when he saw the Kitchen Aid cozy I made in December.
coming soon: cozy teapot!

9.  More big stitch quilting on the Barnyard Play Quilt...  Always a possibility.

Nine projects.  Yep, definitely too much.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2013 in Pictures

End of 2013 saw lots of people posting a recap of their previous year's accomplishments.  Why not?  After all, one of my reasons for blogging was to take the time to appreciate and notice all the things that I was finishing.  I have a tendency to obsess over the piles of UFOs and oodles of ideas oozing out of my overactive brain (nice alliteration!).  This is my celebration: I can get things done.

Here is my stop-and-smell-the-roses moment.

Large Sewing

stack-n-whack quilt, 12(!) aprons

Small Sewing

Oakie board shorts + visor; Oakie backpack + teddy bear; 2 pair fleece pants; Santa figurine & accessories; Nancy Drew mystery cube; Eeyore sweatshirt; kitchen-aid cozy; and a quick Infinity scarf thrown in on New Year's Eve.


olive skirt hem, track pants, corduroy jeans hem, dress shirt button placket, grey trousers, Columbia jacket velcro, pajama pants elastic, flirty skirt dyed

I know I don't produce the volume of sewing that some others do, but I think this was a darn good year.  Blessings to all my fellow sewists in the year to come.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Relaxing Robin: new beginnings

Sweet blogger Barbara over at Cat Patches made my ears prick up with a mention of a Relaxing Robin--like a round robin that stays at your own house.

Gawd almighty, I would love to jump in on this one--I have just the orphan block in mind--but I'm timid.  Why timid?  I'm already afraid I have bit off more than I can possibly chew right now, and it's only the middle of January!  What happened to the New Year's blank slate of use-it-up finish-it-off and slash-the-stash?

Project idea: flannel from one crazy quilt block, started by the youngest child. 


Found this bundle in the December Operation Clean Sweep, and decided to keep it and finish it up myself.  I have always wanted to make a flannel quilt, been saving scraps and everything.  I just didn't put it on my list of UFOs that I wanted to work on this year... 

Only problem is, once I opened the bundle, I was faced with the fact that the orphan block that it contained is incomplete!

Not much to go on here...

Scrap the plans?  Nope. I'm just a little bit behind everyone else.  But, since the January "assignment" is to choose your orphan block and put a contrasting/plain border around it, I think I can still catch up.

Here are the "rules", from Robin's original post...

1. choose a block from your UFO pile to work with. If you wanted to, you could make the center larger by sewing some together, two, three, four etc. have fun! if you sewed 3 for example runner style then you could make the finished quilt rectangular instead of square.

2. add a small border. simple. could be a plain border, pieced, appliqued etc but make it small. try and use a color not used in your block for added fun later on

3. Add applique. could be to the small border, could be to the inner block, or could be an applique border itself. again, try out options and have fun

4. add some triangles. this could be flying geese, pinwheels, etc. again, have fun with this. there are many blocks and ideas with triangles.

5. using some of the fabric in the first border make another border of your choice

6. make a border that has squares in it; 4 patch, checkerboards etc would be welcome here. again have fun

7. finish as you wish. this can mean another border or if you think you are done, quilt and bind up the baby.

see? simple. and you know what? if you don't want to do triangle border as step 4 switch it with another round. we don't care.

I've got ideas for the applique!  But first, gotta finish the crazy-quilt orphan...  I think there's room if you wanna try and join in on this.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Garment Sewing Plan

Ok, we are more than halfway through the month of January.  New year, new me, new sewing goals: buy no new fabric (Fabriholics Anonymous challenge); work on UFOs/WIPs; and clear out my stash by either gifting or sewing with existing fabric. (Can I reduce my monumental stash by 100 yards?  There is a 100 yard Dash from your stash listing over at title alone inspired me to at least keep track.)

So how is the garment sewing going?  Umm... well... You see, it's like this...

I decided I needed to join in with a like-minded group.  Kat, over at Modern Vintage Cupcakes, has a roundup of tons of sewing challenges.  Why not let someone else have a say in my garment-sewing endeavor?  I have a hard time narrowing my focus and deciding on the next thing to work on.  Plus, joining a challenge lets me be part of a community of sewists working toward a common goal.  I thought this would be the motivation I needed.

All set to go with the New Year = New Skill listing (from The Monthly Stitch) for January.  Who doesn't love learning new skills?  My new skill was going to be: sew a coat.  I have pattern, lovely wool fabric, lining and notions.
Vogue 1614: Vogue's Basic Design
Then I got worried.  How will I learn the things I need to successfully sew a coat?  I don't want to mess up this expensive fabric (regardless of the fact that I've had it in my stash for probably 10 years).  So off to the library to study up on this new skill.

Have I mentioned my inability to narrow down choices?

Four books later, I'm still studying up.  (Plan.  Plan some more.  Daydream.  Keep planning...)

Meanwhile, an offhand comment from Sweetie about how much she hates her current bathrobe, and I am off in a different direction.  Wish I could say I whipped that baby out, but it's going more slowly than I would have liked. 

Technicolor bathrobe: it's flannel!

Hope I can finish something garment-ish in the month of January.  Then I can at least say I am "participating" in the Make a Garment a Month ongoing challenge.

I am so inspired by the posts of people who finish things.  I wanna be like that!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

No Longer Anonymous

My sister loves me.  She got me the perfect Xmas gift--without even knowing I was taking the Fabriholics Anonymous pledge plunge for 2014.

Thanks, Sis!
 It did occur to me as I was wearing this around town yesterday that it is kinda hard to remain anonymous about my hoarding struggles when I broadcast this message so boldly.  But isn't one of the first steps to getting over an addiction admitting that we have a problem?

And, knowing that I will attend an annual quilting retreat this month, my crafty sis included another (inspirational) t-shirt:

That girl knows where it's at.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Let's Get Physical

Not my usual kind of post.  Completely off-topic, to be precise...

For my 50th birthday last year, I wanted to challenge myself physically.  I would say that was accomplished--in triplicate.  As the next birthday approaches, here is a run-down of some of the highlights of my physical 50th year on the planet.

Bright Beginnings

Hoo-Doo trails & Snow-shoe shelter
Birthday weekend in the snow.  Cross-country skiing for the first time in 20 years, snow-shoeing the following day for the first time ever (let's just go for an 8-mile snow-shoe hike, shall we?)  It was a truly magical birthday.


Even though I spent more than a decade in the U.S. Navy, I never was much into physical fitness, and wouldn't run any more than Uncle Sam made me.  A comment from Sweetie got me started on the Couch to 5K running program in May of 2012.  I would say that 2013 was my year to step into the title of Runner.  (Really, who would have thunk it?)

Finish line of Eugene 1/2 Marathon (looks empty, doesn't it?)

  • First 10K race for St. Patrick's Day.  
  • 1/2 Marathon in April (less than a year since starting running!)  
  • 4th of July 10K (a significant hill at the beginning) 
  • Second 1/2 Marathon in August
Dorena: yummy view along the berm--after scaling the dam to get there

  • Dorena Dam 5K (what is it with these hills?)
  • Jingle Bell run (took place on top of packed snow) 
Not a timed race: just darn fun

  • Ugly Sweater run in December
  • First Run at midnight on New Year's Eve


I live in Oregon, an area rich in natural beauty.  I have hiked in the past, but this year saw an uptick in the number and difficulty of the hikes.  Even tried "running" a bit on trails.

  • Mt. Pisgah, twice
  • Spencer's Butte (an unfortunate fall on the downhill run cracked a rib; ouch)
  • Brice Creek
  • Mt. June, tallest point in Lane County
  • Backpacking in the Fall Creek area (including a dry overnight in a cave, listening to it pour outside)
  • Multnomah Falls (to the top!)
  • Badger Mountain, Washington

Brice Creek Trail: Trestle Falls, which you can walk behind


I found myself saying, "YES" to some physical adventures this year that made me wonder who exactly was talking for me.  Prime example: leaving a toasty bed at 8:00 on Christmas morning to run to the gourmet coffee shop, get some warm brew, and walk back to the house before the kids showed up at 10:00 to open presents.

Mom & Son, just before his big adventure
Bicycle marathon (26.2 miles) before school on the last day of the year in June.   A boisterous group of teachers and former students.  I talked my son into going along this year, even though we start out at 3:30 am.  Halfway through the ride, he got a fatal flat tire; ended up with him jogging a 1/2 marathon, pushing his bike alongside him.  Ah, youth!

Team Rainbow: before and after
The Dirty Dash.  What can I say?  I overcame some serious baggage to sign up for this--visions of drill sergeants yelling in my face during obstacle courses when I was in the Navy--but having a fun team to get muddy with made it all worthwhile.  And we have the pictures to prove it!

Snow-shoe trek around town after the worst snowstorm in 20 years.  So funny to be doing this on city streets.  And fortunately, my snow-shoe skills had been honed earlier in the year, right?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sew Weekly 2014

Ok, the New Year is upon us.  Time to take a breath.  Time to take stock: where have I been and where am I going next? 

I am committed to using up some of my stash in 2014.  This means sewing garments, in addition to quilty things (not gonna use up that jersey knit or faux-suede on churn dash blocks, after all).  So I am looking for some inspiration to get me started and keep me going with sewing garments.  I loved The Sew Weekly, but it seems to have become completely defunct as of December 2012.

However, from the Sew Weekly discussion circle, a re-posting of 2012 challenges.  I am thinking of putting some of these into action in 2014.

January 2: Favorite outfit sewn in 2011 TAG: YouCanDoIt
January 9: Outfit based on an accessory TAG: Accessories
January 16: Use buttons TAG: Buttons
January 23: Recreate a Make This Look TAG: MadeThisLook
January 30: Opposite season to you TAG: DownUnder
February 6: UFO Challenge TAG: UFO
February 13: Red (for Valentine's) TAG: Red
February 20: Academy Awards Inspiration TAG: Oscars
February 27: Make Do, Make Anew TAG: Refashion
March 5: Pretty as a Picture - Creation inspired by art. TAG: Art
March 12: St. patrick's Day TAG: Green
March 19: Mad Men inspired TAG: MadMen
March 26: Pantone Spring Color Palette TAG: Pantone
April 2: Stash Busting (VIP Fabric). TAG: VIP
April 9: City Inspiration TAG: City
April 16: Childhood (inspired by a photo of yourself as a kid) TAG: Childhood
April 23: Circle Skirts Tag: Circle
April 30: Color Challenge; Pink TAG: Pink
May 7: Mother’s Day; Inspired by an old family photo. TAG: Family
May 14: Mix It Up: Using at least two different prints in an outfit TAG: mixitup
May 21: Out of Time: Sewing something from the 1940s TAG: 1940s
May 28: Viva Las Vegas TAG: Vegas
June 4: Diamond Jubilee: Inspired by the Royal Family. TAG: DiamondJubilee
June 11: TV Inspired: Based on a character from tv, past or present TAG: TV
June 18: On Holiday: Vacation wear TAG: Vacation
June 25: On Trend: Summer 2012 Fashion Trends TAG: OnTrend
July 2: Color Challenge Red White And/Or Blue: Use them all or just one TAG: RedWhiteBlue
July 9: Embellishments: Embroidery, beading, etc… TAG: Embellish
July 16: The Great Outdoors. Something inspired by nature Tag:Outdoors
July 23: Reality Check: Something missing from your wardrobe. Tag: Reality
July 30: The Olympics. Something athletic, sport related or Olympic related. TAG: Olympics
August 6: Color Challenge: Yellow. TAG: Yellow
August 13: Music Inspired: Inspired by an album cover or performer. TAG: Music
August 20: Collared. Making something with a collar. Tag: Collared
August 27: Book inspired. Children’s book, novel, text, etc… Tag: BOOK
September 3: Back to school with Plaid. Tag: Plaid
September 10: Gatsby (1920s, 1930s inspired). TAG: Gatsby
September 17: Polka Dots
September 24: Color Challenge: Blue
October 1: Refashion Challenge
October 8: Western Inspired
October 15: UFO Challenge
October 22: Fall Palette
October 29: Halloween
November 5: Aprons
November 12:  Wardrobe staple: Shirt
November 19: Color challenge: Black & White
November 27: 1960s (early, mid or late)
December 3:  Winter Challenge
December 10: Theme Re-Do (you either missed or want to try again)
December 17: Favorite (remake pattern that was fav of the year)
December 24 & 31: Happy Holidays

The question becomes, if I am not trying for one item per week, how do I implement this list?

Also, since it is already January 5th, I am starting to feel "behind" on starting a garment.  I know I'm not sewing something new each week, but I'd like to make a garment a month.  Doesn't that seem reasonable?

I am keeping in mind some advice from Tempest (who was writing for those trying to complete a weekly challenge, but I feel like my ADD and perfectionist tendencies can benefit from taking in this wisdom nevertheless)
Decide what you're making on the 1st day of each week and stick to it no matter what; if you chop and change ideas throughout the week you'll run out of time and stress yourself out.
 So... what will my January decision be?  Is there a garment on my recent UFO list that I am willing to tackle?