Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Year in Review/Goals for Next Year

Looking back at the goals I set for myself this year, it seems I didn't accomplish much.  I had three sewing goals and five household-type goals.  I did okay on the sewing goals--I did finish more quilts, though maybe not as many as I'd like.  I finished 10 regular quilts and 12 minis.  I used up a small amount of stash, but not as much as I added, so net gain in fabric.  I also wanted to be more proactive in business sewing.  Well, I'm not sure how successful that was, but I did go back to being fully independent.  I may not make as much money, but I'm a lot happier and less stressed about it, so I'll consider that a win.

On the household side, the five goals I had were:  fill nail holes, refinish dressing table, manage recipes better, have a yard sale, and reorganize the kitchen.  We made minimal progress on four of the five, so I guess that's something.  The big success was the yard sale.  We did not make a ton of money, but we did sell and/or donate everything we wanted to remove from the house.  That felt really good.

There were other things we got done that weren't on my goal list.  This reinforces my thinking that setting goals is great, but you can't single-mindedly pursue them and forego living.  Roll with the punches (and at times it seemed the punches were many this year).

In 2016 I participated in Fig Tree Quilts' Mystery BOM and the 365 Challenge, where you make a quilt block a day for a year.  These projects were both much more time-consuming that I initially planned for.  I have a bit more to do on each, but I am close to completion on both.  I'm not planning to join any project of this type in 2017.

I just want to finish more works in progress and use more of what I already have.  Realistically, I know more fabric will enter the house, but I so want to reduce what I already have.

We are still working on the basement.  The project grew larger than finishing just a sewing room and it is done as my husband has time around his other responsibilities.  I am still hopeful for completing this project in the coming year, as we are getting close to the drywall point.

I'm super excited to have my own sewing space rather than having it spread all over the main floor.  I know that I also probably won't get quite as much done since I'd be sequestered in my own space rather than with the family.  But it will look so much tidier upstairs!!!  And I think it will help with my goal of using more of what I have, since it will be accessible again.

So 2017 will be my year of finishing half done projects (I hope!).

I finished two quilts this month and those have both been added to the 2016 finishes page.

I hope 2017 is calm, peaceful, and prosperous for you.
Sunday, December 25, 2016

365 Challenge Week 51

I'm almost there, but taking a few days off for the holidays.    I'm hoping to catch up and finish the rest of this before the new year.
December 9
I still have to make December 10's block, but since it has over 180 pieces, it'll be one of the last I make.  The 11th, 12th, and 13th were in last week's blocks.
December 14
December 15
December 16 was in last week's blocks.
December 17
December 18
December 19 
December 20
December 21 was done back on June 21 when we had the option of two blocks.  So thankful I did them both then.
December 22
December 23


Friday, December 23, 2016

Funny Things #34

I took this picture at Wal-Mart (which I generally avoid like the plague) probably a year or two ago.  What a strange name for fiberfill....


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In the Home Stretch...and Some Ancestry

I'm done with almost everything I needed to do this week!  I have to finish binding a quilt, make some cookies and candy, and of course I'm still trying to catch up on the daily blocks.  But I'm feeling somewhat relaxed now, finally.

I met up with some of the girls from my quilt guild last night and we did a white elephant exchange.  This one is always tough for me because everyone seems to interpret what exactly it means in a little different way.  To me it means a somewhat tacky gift.  I've lived places where people brought really nice stuff and I've brought a tacky thing.  And vice versa.  It's sort of a landmine.  So I decided to go with a mix of funny and useful.  I think I did okay; it seemed to go over pretty well and it was "stolen" in the "dirty Santa" game.

Here's what I made/purchased.
Here's everything I included.
Goodies 
Goofy stuff
Insulated pot holder front 
Potholder back
The giant mug (unfortunately not food safe).  My husband made this vinyl design for it.  I totally love it.
Here's what I got.  I'm pretty excited about the Angry Mama!  And that little sign!
And my friend Jessica made all of us gifts.  I got this super cute reusable bag.
I did have a few bumps in the road this week.  I was working on the potholder for the exchange and I leaned a bit too hard on the extension table on my sewing machine and broke it.  It works for now, but I'm going to need to be much more careful with it.

I also was tasked with embroidering logos on some tee shirts for my father in law.  I thought they came out okay.  I washed and dried them to remove the extra stabilizer and markings.  Then I noticed one of the shirts has a small hole right above where I embroidered.  And the second one came out really crooked.  What?!  How did I not noticed this.  So we bought two more shirts.  I thought the one looked sort of weird while it was being stitched and noticed that the sleeve had worked its way under the hoop and got stitched to the back.  I undid it, ripped out the stitching for the attached part, and kept going.  I think it came out okay.  And, once again, after washing and drying, the second replacement shirt was even more crooked than the first one.  Put these in the dorky homemade category.

I asked for room darkening blinds for my bedroom for Christmas and we bought them on sale on Black Friday.  (We'd still been using the stick on temporary paper blinds after 3.5 years of being in the house!)  They came in about a week, which was much better than the month they quoted. The two pictured here went in really well and not only do they darken the room as advertised, they also make it a bit warmer.  The single blind for the other side of the bedroom was cut too large and it came with a stain on it.  They sent out a replacement within the week and it fit the window but was not room darkening.  The third try arrived yesterday.  Ha.  Even with all that, I'm still pretty pleased.

And now for the big Ancestry news.  I mentioned earlier this year that I did the Ancestry.com DNA test and then my mom got one too.  Her mother was adopted and the records were sealed, and she never wanted to know who her birth parents were.  A while back my mom and one of her sisters finally got a copy of the adoption record unsealed and we found out her birth mother's name and home town.  We'd always been curious as to our ethnicity and it appeared that the birth mother was probably of German descent.  Anyway, we did the DNA tests and it was pretty interesting.  Ancestry.com also gives you DNA matches.  My close matches were all relatives of my dad's except for one that I had no idea who it was.  This same guy showed up as a first cousin of my mom's--she did not have any cousins growing up.  So I figured he had to be related in some way to Grandma's birth parents.  

We did not contact the person, because one never knows how this type of information will be received.  We were in luck since he contacted Mom and then me last week.  He's narrowed down the possibilities and we are doing a bit more research to confirm which side of his mom's family produced Grandma.  Either way, Grandma's father was Irish.  So now we know, and we most likely have more family than we could possibly have imagined.

At the same time, a distant cousin from my grandfather's family (which we never had contact with, I mean like the entire family, not just this guy) has been in contact with me, but I unfortunately had to put him off til after Christmas since between all the holiday preparations, sewing, and working with Grandma's relative, I just don't have the time to devote at the moment.

Small world though.

Have a wonderful holiday week!
Sunday, December 18, 2016

365 Challenge Week 50

I got a few blocks done.  You'll notice the dates skip around.  I tried to get the easy ones done first, but I'm still seven behind, partly due to working on Christmas presents, partly due to life, and partly due to some really interesting Ancestry news, which I'll share more about on Wednesday.
December 7
December 8 
December 11
December 12
December 13
December 16

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Mishmash of Holiday Stuff

I have to finish binding this quilt.  I fought with the long arm on the quilting of this one.  Every time I went from right to left across the quilt, the thread broke or else had loose stitches.  Tried new needles, resetting tension, new bobbins.  Left to right was fine.  I don't get it.
I am using a pantograph to quilt this one.  The first four passes were great.  
I ran out of bobbin thread, so reloaded a new bobbin, went to test the tension on the side of the quilt, and heard a big metallic clunk.  The bobbin case had fallen off the spindle thing, but the bobbin was still on it.  Loads of loops of thread were holding the machine hostage in the edge of the quilt.  I picked out some of the thread, but need tweezers to get the remainder of what's trapped in there.  The picture below shows what I still have to pick out.  I hope this didn't do any lasting damage.


My husband is ready to start wiring in the basement.  That means I have to decide the final layout of my sewing room pronto.  I am not ready!!  I still haven't decided what I need/want in this half of the room, which is where the sewing machine/serger/books/storage/embroidery machine/etc. will go.  Suggestions welcome.

I still have to do the following:  
  • doll outfit for my niece (have a week left)
  • wrap presents (a week also)
  • embroider two shirts (again a week)
  • decide the wiring and layout for sewing room (now)
  • 365 Challenge blocks (currently 9 behind)
  • print new planner pages (didn't notice the monthly calendar I bought had Monday starts so I need to start over on this one)
  • Polaroid blocks for swap (due Jan. 31)
  • Guild swap (due Feb. 10)
Things I have completed:
  • gift shopping
  • decorating the house


    Isn't this wreath gorgeous?  Kathleen at Twin H/Harmony Gardens made it for us.
    She is so talented!
    I got this guy there too.


    My son made this when he was in kindergarten.  I'm not sure why he put a
    disco ball in there, but it cracks me up every time I see it!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

365 Challenge Week 49

So close and yet so far...

I'm six behind this week because I had to work on holiday gifts.  Here are the two I got done.
December 5
December 6
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Samsung Washing Machine Recall

I'm lucky enough to have one of those exploding Samsung washing machines.  They sent me an absolutely ridiculous "repair kit" which is a sticker set you are supposed to place on your washer. They also robocalled and emailed to say I would receive a repair on December 5th and they would call the night before to give me a time--no one ever called or showed up.  >:(  From what I've read on their site, the actual repair consists of inserting stabilizing rods inside the machine.  This repair I am interested in.  I don't know if I will really get this repair or if these stickers are as good as it gets.
My washer has a stainless look panel.  I am supposed to stick this black sticker over it.
Yeah, that will look great.  No one will notice at all.
You will notice that the bedding cycle is now labeled as denim/jeans.  The delicate cycle (where you can't set the temperature above warm) is now the bedding cycle.  Quick wash (which is not delicate) is now delicates.  I'm wondering why the bedding cycle is now denim and jeans--those are at least as heavy as bedding when they're wet.  And why would I want to wash my bedding in no more than warm water and on a cycle that doesn't spin very heavily, thus leaving things quite soggy at the end?  I always wash sheets on hot.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of my "old" wash cycles versus my "new",
according to this handy sticker fix.  
Lovely warnings.
Do my pictures seem a bit blurry?  They are focused in my photo editing program, but when I upload them to Blogger they seem to become fuzzy.  Hmmm.  I wish I were more technologically savvy.


Update 12/14:  Contacted Samsung about the no-show.  Got an emailed service notice for 12/12.  Again no show.  They showed up today and fixed it by taking the top off and the back panel and removing some rubber pieces and replacing them with two metal stabilizing rods.  Took 15-20 minutes.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fig Tree Mystery BOM Months 1 - 11

I'm currently up-to-date on my Fig Tree Quilts Mystery 2016 BOM!  That's pretty exciting!  Here are some photos of the various pieces.


This shows everything all together so far.
I'm guessing at some of the layout since there's still a month to go.
This is a big part of the month 11 assembly.
The rest of the photos show the various pieces that I've assembled and that are still remaining.  Sorry for the overly yellow tint to the photos.  I corrected them as much as I could, but they are still not lovely.  Winter lighting is quite challenging.







In other news, I still have the majority of my holiday sewing left to do.  I cut my thumb with my rotary cutter last night.  In 20 years of quilting, I've never done that before.  I accidentally bumped against the blade with my left hand while moving a piece to cut.  I also have one of the lovely exploding Samsung washing machines.  More about that tomorrow.