Still working.

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I’ve been working away on my second quilt. After sewing three rows of triangles together I realized that I needed to break them up a little or the quilt would look really bad due to my inaccurate cutting. I couldn’t save the points on most of the triangles but it looked better with a barrier so I added gray stripes between the rows. It seems to be helping. The quilt is far from perfect but I don’t hate it any longer, which I take as a positive step forward. I’ve got the fabric for the backing but I need to get some batting because the quilt ended up longer than I expected once I added the borders.

All for now.

New Project.

I’ve been working on getting stuff started/done that I have been putting off from fear of messing them. So far, I haven’t had any disasters with any of my projects. My current project is a quilt that I have wanted to make for most of last year. I even bought the fabric during a sale right before Christmas. So it’s only took me until the last day of March to get started. I have to say that’s better than my other neglected projects.

 

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Fat quarter stack before I cut into it.

I have all the pieces cut out (I think) and started playing with the layout yesterday. I’m still not sure what the final design will be but I’m not stressing too much over it.

Action cutting shot.

Cutting set up.

I’ll be laying out the pieces again (I had them on the living room floor, only spot big enough) after I get my Easter cards made for family and friends.

Do – Part 2

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Carved stamps.

I’m still working through my collection of “STUFF IN UNOPENED BOXES” that we either moved here with or received in the past four years. When (and if) we buy a house, anything we don’t need or use is going. I’ve started now by putting some superfluous kitchen stuff in the closet and purging my clothes last December, but there’s a long way to go.

Two birthdays ago, my fabulous friend sent me a stamp carving kit and various other stuff from my birthday wish list. Unfortunately, everything sat in a bin until last month. I even had bought a book (Carve, Stamp, Play: Designing and Creating Custom Stamps) this past October. I didn’t want to mess up. There was also the sharp carving tools and I’m a klutz. I could just imagine the copious amounts of blood I’d be donating to the Stamp Carving Spirits. I knew it would be bad. I just KNEW! 

Turns out, I was off a bit on the danger zone part (just ever so slightly!). Sure, the blades are sharp but I’ve yet to cut myself and, if I haven’t managed it yet, then cutting oneself probably isn’t a huge threat.

Stamp carving is messy but I’ve enjoyed every minute. I carved pretty much every assignment in Carve, Stamp, Play and even made two monograms (DH’s idea). My first big mistake was on the first butterfly I carved (maybe stamp #5 or #6). I carved off what should have been the edge of a wing. Ah well. I finished carving it out and then tried again the next day. I cut the butterfly with the missing wing in half and tossed out the mistake. All gone.

I’m thinking I’ll be dragging it all out again later today. I was going to go shopping for my sister’s birthday present but the complex we live in is getting power-washed and our front door was taped shut when I tried to leave earlier. (Seriously!) I could use the back door, I suppose, but I don’t think I should take up repelling from the deck on bedsheets. I’m lame. What can I say. Three stories is a long way to fall.

I’m getting the hang of this whole USE OR GO thing. I’m looking around and thinking “do we really need that?” DH would probably say “NO!” unless I was talking about the TV. I have way more stuff than I need and way more stuff than DH. First step is admitting there might be a problem. Second step, fiddle around a bit with what could be solutions or just a great way to waste a few days. Three, send stuff to family and friends so it’s no longer in the house and now their problem. (Plus, they get snail mail that isn’t a bill or election fliers; thereby, making their day.) And, if you find out you really did need XYZ, they can send it back.

Baby steps, right?

Do.

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Leo Kit from Miniature Rhino.

Since the start of the month, I’ve been focusing more on actually following through with stuff that I wanted to do or try or use. I have quite a collection of things just sitting around because I’m afraid to ruin, waste or mess something up. I finally realized that I was missing the point and decided to make myself open those boxes and start playing. I have a mental ultimatum when we move I had better have opened the box or it’s going to the thrift store. No excuses accepted. (Except for our wedding china because we don’t have a place to put it and I’m not kidding.)

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Leo Kit from Miniature Rhino. (Before!)

First to go was the Leo Kit from Miniature Rhino (an Etsy store) that my best friend M sent me for my birthday last summer. Yes, it’s been sitting in its package looking forlorn and unloved since then. My reasoning was simple: I would suck at this. Then I thought, of course, it might sort of suck because I haven’t embroidered anything since I was in Girl Scouts – a long time ago, but that’s not the point. I really wanted this kit and there I was not using it. What’s the point of asking for something and hoarding it until I was ready for perfect? Perfection just doesn’t exist. If it does, I have yet to make its acquaintance.

Along with the screen printed fabric, he kit came with a piece of black fabric for practice, a 4-inch embroidery hoop, needle and skein of floss. I had some problems getting any sort of french knot but thanks to Google I found a fabulous video From the World of Cross Stitching on YouTube that helped me figure out my french knot-making issues. (Go Me!)

Is it perfect? No. You can see for yourself that my first attempt at embroidery in adulthood was far from perfect, but I had a fabulous time doing it and wasn’t that the whole reason for the gift to begin with? (The correct answer is YES!).

I’ve spent the last few weeks playing with all sorts of other hoarded presents with mixed results but I’ve enjoyed every mistake. I was having too much fun to stop and blog about it.

I’ll be sharing some of the other projects later. Off to mess stuff up now.

Project

Now that my quilt is on it’s way to my mom I think I need a new project. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do and didn’t want to spend any money until I remember my best friend asking that I make her those lovely flower pot Christmas cards this year that I made for my mom in December. Since I’ve been stockpiling cardstock for the project, I figured I could get started on cutting out the flower pots. I will have to order plain white cardstock for my printer but this will be way cheaper than another quilt. Right?

Done.

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After way longer than I planned, I finished the quilt for my mom this weekend!

It’s done! Go me! Is it perfect? No! Am I happy with it anyway? Yes! Will my mom be happy and surprised? Definitely!

I used the Squares & Strips tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew. For a completely quilting newbie, I found her directions concise and easy to follow. (I’ve been sewing since I was a kid though so I’m sure that helped too.) I would have planned things out differently with my own fabric had I cut a quilt before with saving the more fussy patterns for larger blocks and using the plaids, dots and stripes for the framing. But you live and learn and then you rip out your seams.

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Extra binding rolled for a later project.

Last week, I cut my own bias binding using the method 2 tutorial from JayBird Quilts. Again, I found the directions fairly easy to follow. I did make a few mistakes but that was due to my own generally klutziness (cutting through the fabric in another spot while cutting the line with scissors) and forgetting why I had pinned the fabric the way I did and having to rip out stitches. I cut way more binding then I needed for the quilt I made so I rolled it up as suggested and stuck it in a drawer.

DH was very proud that I finished the quilt, esp. after all my setbacks with the first round of quilting I did. He was expecting the pieces to end up in a drawer or ashes burnt on our deck, I think. What can I say? He knows me pretty well. I had moments of really wanting to give up but I wanted to say I finished the stupid thing at the same time.

In the last couple weeks, it’s helped keep my mind off missing Dixie too much. Now, I’m done so I don’t know if I’ll start another project or just mope around for a bit.