Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year End Reckoning

I usually write this post on the first day of the year, but my numbers aren't going to change between now and then, and I have time now, so here it is.

This was not a great quilting year for me production-wise. I didn't expect it to be, and honestly, I am expecting next year to be worse. My hours of watching the twins are increasing, so from a practical standpoint I just won't have a lot of time to sew. That's OK, it is what it is, and I love the twins dearly. I did, however, get some quilting done this year, and I have plans for quilting next year too. Quilting is my sanity time, and I need to have some time for it.

Here are my empty spools from 2013. I am currently working on a project, but won't empty the spool in the next couple of days. These spools represent 8,238 yards of thread, or approximately 4.7 miles. I had used 8.3 miles of thread the year before, so a huge drop.

I finished 10 quilts this year, down from 28 the previous year.  Most of this years quilts were large bed sized quilts; I only made one baby quilt this year! I don't think I hit my goal of 100 yards of fabric used, but I was likely 80-90 yards. I had multiple quilts over 100" square, so that accounts for the large yardage usage, in spite of fewer quilts.

I didn't make a lot of goals for 2013, because I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time. I'll likely have less time next year, but I do have a clear set of goals for next year. 

These are some of the first blocks finished for DS the Younger's wedding quilt. That is my current project, and the wedding is March 14th, so I need to push on this one. I have 20 of the brown star blocks done, and only this one of the green. I'd love to finish the star blocks this week, so I can start on the alternate blocks next week. DD#3 is off work until Thursday, so I have a lot more sewing time this week than normal.

Besides finishing DS the Younger's wedding quilt, I'd like to finish a new quilt for DS the Elder, which I just finished cutting out this week. I have two other wedding quilts to make in 2014, one of which is already cut out, and lends itself to be made as leaders/enders. I also haven't started the quilt I designed for DD#2's wedding quilt, but with such a short engagement I was happy I finished a quilt for her I had already started. I told her I'm hoping to get her "real" wedding quilt to her by her second anniversary ;-) That means I don't have to finish it next year, but I sure hope to start it at least.

I have two "big kid" quilts to make for grandkids moving to beds from cribs next year. That's likely all I'll have time to make (the four big quilts and two twins), but I have it in my head to make new drag around quilts for the twins. They've been using their baby quilts to drag around the house and watch TV and such, but they are getting pretty big for those to cover them adequately. I have a throw sized quilt they prefer, but I'd like to make them their own throw sized quilts, so I can use mine without having to deal with sticky spots :-P

I think that's pretty ambitious for a busy year. Other than these quilts, I have some projects already started I can work on, if I need something different. I have one quilt I am in the middle of quilting, and another pin-basted ready to quilt. I have about six quilt tops finished, a couple of which need borders. I think I have two quilts in blocks waiting to be assembled. I have plenty to keep me busy, several of which have deadlines, so if I decide to start something new, it will have to be a leader/ender project, fitting in among the deadline stuff.

I'm trying to be realistic, but my head still swims with ideas. It is a busy time in my life, and I'll do what I can, when I can. What I won't do is beat myself up over not doing all I'd like to get done. Goals are just that, goals. If I don't meet them, the world will not stop spinning.

I've been maximizing my fun during my sewing sessions by rotating through my vintage babies. It's time for my 1956 Singer 201 to come out and play. Love, love, love, this machine! It's fast, powerful, and quiet, all at once! I don't have the manual for this one, so I had to google how to thread it, specifically thread the needle left to right or right to left. (It's right to left in case you were wondering). It uses a class 66 bobbin which holds a LOT of thread, and it sews like a dream. Biggest downside? It weighs a ton, and I hurt my shoulder recently, so I may be using this machine for a while, just so I don't have to move it again until my shoulder is healed.

Monday, December 23, 2013

An Early Christmas

We had an early Christmas this year, even earlier than usual. We normally celebrate on Christmas Eve, because DH works every Christmas. This year we moved our celebration to Sunday, so the newlyweds could be here with us. 

We had 14 people here for our Christmas celebration, not counting the plumber :-0 Just to make things interesting, we had water seeping up through our kitchen tiles. Actually, that's still the case, because when the plumber said he may have to tear out half my kitchen, or the exterior wall of the house to do the repairs, we opted to wait until today to get the repairs done. The thing is, the plumber got waylaid at another house today, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Nothing like having towels all over your kitchen floor. We would have called a different company, but this company did work here a few weeks ago, and if our problem is a result of something they did last time, I am hoping they'll make it right. I'm dreading the news. Our house is on a cement foundation, and I think a pipe inside the walls is leaking, and now that the foundation is saturated, water is seeping in through the floor. This could be an expensive fix!

 As for happier things, DH got me some fat quarters to go with the Singer 403 he got me. 

DD#3, who is a welder, made me this sculpture for Christmas. It is made out of misc. pieces from other objects, but I knew right away it's a quilter.

The "sewing machine" is made from some bicycle parts. I think I am going to make a miniature quilt to put on the sewing table for the quilter to work on.

DS the Younger and his fiance got crafty and made me a sewing themed mug.

I knew right away the my future DDIL wrote my name because the writing is so nice. I love the button to dot the "i". They made DH a scooter themed mug.

I love seeing my kids crafting at Christmas. DD#1 was crafting away in South Africa too, and she sent me photos so I could see what she was making.

The newlyweds got me a cooling pad for my laptop since it's been overheating. They also ordered me a quilt themed cover for my iphone, but it's not here yet.

The potholders I made for Christmas gifts were well received. I love being able to make something at Christmas, even if it's just something quick.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I have no serious plans. I saved one gift back for the twins for tomorrow, it has lots of pieces, and I thought giving it to them when it was quieter was best. I have no idea how much the house will have to be torn up to fix the leak in the pipes. I have a slow cooker meal all ready to start in the morning. I have already done all the prep, and the slow cooker liner is filled and in the fridge ready to drop in the slow cooker. There are leftovers from yesterday or tonight for lunch and dinner is already worked out, so hopefully we'll do OK even if the kitchen is torn up. Christmas Day should be a great sewing day for me, because everyone else has plans. I could use a quiet day.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Little Sewing, A Lot of Christmas

Now that wedding number one is over, I directed what little free time I've had to Christmas stuff. I have finally finished all the wrapping, stocking stuffing, and mailing. We are celebrating Christmas on Sunday, so I finished just in time. This is the first year in a while I haven't been frantically making more Christmas stockings at the last minute. Last year I had 17 stockings to fill, this year only 14, so I actually have extra stockings!

I have to do the grocery shopping tomorrow morning, then I can work on the food. I think we're doing a Christmas lasagna, along with some alfredo and garlic bread. Lasagna is something I've done for Christmas several times, not a tradition, but not uncommon for us either. DH is off on Christmas Eve, so I might do a nice dinner then too, even if it's just the five of us.

I managed to make five quick Christmas gifts, small things that went in stockings. I've missed making Christmas presents in the last few years, and it was fun to make something. When my kids were young and we were broke, I made almost all of their presents, and I loved thinking of stuff to make for them. This year three of my kids made things for Christmas gifting, and I was so proud to see the tradition of handmade gifts going on.

Today I am working on DS the Younger's wedding quilt. I hadn't touched it in the last couple of weeks, with all of the other wedding stuff going on for DD#2. Today is the only day I have to work on the piecing this week, and I doubt I'll have another chance until Christmas Day, when I'll likely be home alone.

Today I'm working on the pinwheels for the center of these blocks. When the pinwheels are done, I can put together all of the brown stars. I haven't done the sub-units for the green stars yet, because I need to cut more background fabric. Maybe I'll work on that on Christmas. I haven't pressed any of the pinwheels yet, and that's why I used two pins to hold it somewhat flat to my ironing board in the photo.

DH bought me an early Christmas gift. He snagged a Singer 403 in a cabinet for $20. The cabinet looks rough, but it's solid. DH is going to look into refinishing it for me, but I can use it out of the cabinet for now. All of the cords were missing, and there were no accessories with it. Between my Singer 301, and my 503, I had everything I needed to get it going, but I snagged this machine it's own stuff on ebay for cheap. I even have an original manual and accessories. I did buy a new foot pedal, because although I have gotten used to the button pedals, I still prefer the newer gas pedal style foot pedals. I love the old Singers because parts are so easily found for them. I have a few other brands on my wish list of vintage machines, but only specific models. Some brands of vintage machines are so hard to find parts for, that I just don't want them, no matter how cool they look. I only want machines I can actually sew on.

I've had a couple people ask why I have so many sewing machines. How many do I need? Well, absolutely need? One probably, my Bernina 440 can do everything I need. The thing is, I love sewing on vintage machines, it's like sewing on history. What else have been sewn on these machines? Corsets? Poodle skirts? Petticoats? I'm sure if we downsize someday, I will downsize my sewing machine collection as well. For now, I will happily play with my $10 and $20 sewing machine finds.

Oh, one more thing I've been working on? I turned DD#2's bedroom into a guest room. We bought a queen sized bed for in there, I repurposed some furniture and lamps from other areas in the house, and now it's a pretty functional guest room. Eventually, I'd like to repaint the room, but no time for that right now. I ended up throwing an OLD quilt on the bed in there, one we got as a wedding gift almost 30 years ago. It is made from polyester double knit, and has a couple patches that are falling apart. As soon as I finish quilting Double Delight, I'll switch the quilts out, but I didn't have a spare queen sized quilt in the house besides that one. I let DS the Elder take Orca Bay to South Bend, IN with him, to keep him warm in those lake effect snows. It would have been large enough for the guest bed, but I'll get Double Delight done soon, and the old quilt will work until then. The honeymoon couple will be down tomorrow, and they'll be the first to sleep in the new guest room.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's a Wedding!

Sunday was Harmony's (DD#2) wedding! The weather was cool, but not as cold as we feared.

My niece is a licensed hair dresser, and she graciously agreed to do Harmony's hair for the wedding. Doesn't it look great?

We think she looked like a princess. That cape I made her worked pretty well with her dress.

Abigail (DD#3) was the maid of honor and Serenity (Miss S) was the flower girl. 

Here is DH walking Harmony down the aisle in the orange grove.

The couple praying together before the vows.

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Bates!

Lucius (who was the ring bearer) and Serenity celebrating with their lollipops.

Me with my men. From left to right, Nathan (DS the Elder), me, Howard (DH), and Joshua (DS the Younger)

My future DDIL, Mia, with Joshua. Their wedding is in March. It will be in our backyard, which is now completely remodeled.

 The newlyweds stopped by today to pick up the wedding gifts and get the last few things of Harmony's that were still here. The twins loved showing them our "new grass" which is the artificial turf that went in yesterday.

It's been crazy busy around here, and now that wedding number 1 is over, I suppose I should try thinking about Christmas?


I do not often use my kids names in my blog. There are several reasons for that. One is I try to respect their privacy. Two is I have often seen people make nasty comments on blogs (not on mine, only nice people follow mine ;-), and I do not want to put my kids up for that type of cyber-bullying. The most basic reason is simple. We have a large family, and even people who know us in person get the kids mixed up. By using numbers, it is actually easier to follow along with what's going on. When big events happen, I tend to break my own rules and use real names. I've been criticized multiple times for not using their names, and I felt it was time to finally explain why I do what I do.