Saturday, March 19, 2016

Shower Central

and I am not talking about the weather.....whew!  What a good job done.   The shower is two weeks from today but next weekend I am traveling so I had to get it done.  Nothing like a deadline to help you put it in high gear.

I made this clothes line as part of my decorations....I was going to wait and hang this up the morning of the shower after banishing my d-in-l from the house but I said - Hells Bells! (might actually be a quote) I've got too much to do setting up and putting out the food to have to mess with it.

My first attempt at chocolate covered pretzels.   We looked it up on You Tube and got some good pointers.  It wasn't bad and I took a stab at it after everyone left and managed with no mess at all.   Which was not the case earlier with all the slips and snips of paper and ribbon everywhere.  Start to finish under an to put them in their bags.

 I got playing cards with personalized cases for favors.   But of course, I had to go above and beyond and made 'hospital bracelets' for each deck.  My sister did a bang-up job putting them on.

And these are just too flipping adorable!   I used card stock I had on hand, bought the little bling circles, used ribbon I had and I was off to the races.   This could be adapted for just about any event.   BFF Gay Lynn patiently followed my creativity and colored in the "h" and the "e" on the Hershey bars as well as helped with all the paper cutting and trimming!

And then there is Mr. Easy Rider....a You Tube find.    I usually make a diaper cake for showers but came across this and thought it was a better choice.  Wheels are diapers, fenders are bibs, sippy cup is the headlight, handlebar and forks are a receiving blanket.

His little 'sneakers' were my son's!

So very glad this is done.......Thank goodness my sister and my friend Gay Lynn helped me today.   The extra hands sure made the work do fast.  And it is always fun times with sisters and friends!

So Easter and spring decorations may not be up, but I am ready for the shower except for the cooking......and now I heading for my stitching chair  for a a little sit down and some stitching!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Focusing My Camera

As I pulled out my laptop to do today's post, I thought, I have so much to share....where to start.    But I decided to share my mental house cleaning and the resetting of the appeture of my focus.    I have enough self-awareness to know that when I am scattering across more projects than should be legal, it is always because I have a task I don't want to do.    My avoidance of this task is actually more time consuming than the actual work would be.    My nemesis is work on the website for the non-profit I assist with.  When my group morphed into a new organization by merging with another not for profit community group I agreed to stay on to do the financials, budget and website for one year.....that was three years ago.   I am so over all of it and I think recognize I resent corrections like ...."your calendar of events shows March 20th, not March 20, 2016....."   I mean really.  I keep the calendar current rolling off days as they past.   I doubt there were be confusion of whether it is a 2016 or 2017 event.    I have identified the dragon, next up, I will slay it! But enough.....

Many of you commented how do I get so much done......well from where I sit, I don't see it that way.   I see too many irons in the fire and a Jack of All Trades and Master of None and a myriad of WIP's of all nature.

I decided to pass along a couple of tips that help me and may help you.   First up, I am most productive when I use a timer.   Yes, a timer,   I have one from Pampered Chef that I can clip to my shirt collar and I am off.   The thing with me is that once I go down that rabbit hole of working on a project, I could be lost for a day.   And then the things I need to do like grocery shop, gas up the car, or laundry don't get done and contribute to the following week being not so nice.    On productive weekends, I usually think of the things I need to accomplish over my first or third cup of coffee and then I decide the best way to get it all done.   It is always a time and motion study.   Clean kitchen and bath while the clothes wash, then stitch while the clothes dry, or I may walk on the treadmill while they dry.  Of course I parse out the time for good things too like reading, stitching, etc.   If I do not manage my time like this,  I think I could live like the cat woman who was a hoarder of stuff and is discovered covered with orts and cat hair in her recliner.    I know it sounds a bit too managed and not spontaneous but for me, it makes me so much more productive which equates to much more happy.   Also, I don't get bogged down stuck in a nasty task all day but I manage to make headway on it.  If I set aside an hour to cut fabric or sew or even clean a closet or the fridge, I feel like that hour is more productive because I know I have a limited time.   Make sense?   Working long hours all week, it helps me make the most of my weekends.  With warmer weather and the desire to be out in the yards to 24 hours a day, I need to 'budget' my time.  Like I said, not necessarily a method for everyone but it definitely makes me more productive which means makes me happier.

Hand and hand with my timer method,  I am a list maker.   What a feeling of accomplishment when I can put a check by a completed job.  I have more than once jotted a list early Saturday morning, plugging in my estimates of time to complete only to realize I have listed about 18 hours of tasks to complete.....time to regroup and prioritize or better employ that time and motion study method.

My third tip I learned from teacher at a quilting class I took.   She told us that when we finish our sewing for the day, to set up the next step.  By doing this, I can jump right in before work for 15 minutes of sewing or cutting.   For me, those 15 minute bursts at the sewing machine really add up and move me closer to completing a quilt top.

So real quick, my stitching progress this week......I completed the block of bargello.

I did some more over one stitching.   I stitched the top motif incorrectly and decided to make the bottom one match and then center and modify the last motif.   Much better than frogging the over one stitches.

 Completed this block as well.   Beads are still needed for the flower centers.

This week, I hope to complete the partially stitched pineapple on the right and fill in another empty block.  I did not make my goal of completed this my by March guild meeting but I am getting there.   Maybe my April Guild can hope.  I am heading to Salty Yarns in April for my semi annual retreat and I want to get whatever beads and charms I need when I am there.

Stay tuned for future posts about a tour of Westtown Quaker School (sister school of Ackworth), trip to Chester County Historical Society, meeting Betsy Morgan, shower progress, and hopefully a decision on signing up for Pioneer Sampler Girl Project with Betsy Morgan in OCMD.

Here are photos from Betsy's site - Will Hands.  I fell for this project when I first saw it on the Swan Sampler Guild page last year......It is going to come down to regret....will I regret it someday that I didn't sign up for this weekend class?     I am thinking yes.... I even talked to Betsy yesterday about how much pre-stitching is needed and it is not lot.   I will keep you updated.

I am curious, what are your secrets for getting it all done?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Time to narrow my focus....

What a beautiful morning we had one day last this week it's 70's in the forecast.

 Just the right kind of sticking on the roads.   I am just such a sucker for snow!
I have been up to a lot.   That crafter/project ADD I have is in high gear at the Thompson House.    I have started decorations for the baby shower I am hosting for my D-in-L.  Using pendants I made for my daughter's birthday last year, I hung baby clothes using little blue clothes pins and will hang above the food table.   Double duty here.....I have a decoration and I don't have to wrap these.  It will hang in my sewing room until I need it. I'd better hand a bib over that lonely red pennant and add some other goodies too.  Stay tuned for this and the 'centerpiece' I have in mind to create.

I tell you one thing, I am out of the swing of this whole throwing a shower business.   I thought those days were behind me.  I thought it was my turn to show up,  shut up and eat cake.  The last shower I threw was 18 years ago and seemed so much easier then now.   Nowadays there are so many ideas on Pinterest but that also brings pressure!  But it goes....

I have completed the first month on the BOM I joined.   This block is 30 inches square.  

Why is it when you cut carefully and sew everything at 1/4-inch seams that some seams meet and some do not?

Even though it is a BOM, this is not a quilt of 30 inch blocks.   The next step consists of sashing and borders added to this central block.

Here's the fabric pack for BOM 2.   Hopefully, I will stay on track sewing two nights a week.  Maybe even BOM 2 will be finished before BOM 3 arrives.  It's all about a positive point of view!

Cross stitching has kind of taken a back seat.   Lunch meetings,  working lunches, extra hours at work, or dinners with friends have nipped into my sewing time.    Pardon the hoop marks.

But I am getting there one motif at a time.  Time to fine tune my focus.

And then there was the frogging of the  bottom border.    It seems I made up my own stitching pattern when turning the corner and subsequently had to frog it all when I realized I ran amok.  In the end I will be happy I frogged and restitched.   Just not a really fan of backwards progress.

I did do a bit of work on my Chester Co. Sampler when I became disillusioned with the over one in the above piece but I am back to concentrating on it with renewed dedication to finish!        
My Guild arranged for a private tour of the Westown School and the Chester Co. Historical Society this Friday.   I am lucky enough to be going.  Westown School, a quaker school from the 18th century in West Chester, PA.    They have a fabulous selection of quaker samplers on display and perhaps a new pattern will find its way home with me.  It is a much anticipated day off for me at the end of a week in which I have wrapped up the annual heart ball and released our annual report to the printers (deadline this Friday and I am hitting send on Wednesday! - Kudos to my tenacity of herding cats to get this done!)   Not to mention the enjoyment of spending the day with friends for the tours and lunch!  We are dining at the Lincoln Tea Room.   A great place to visit if ever touring West Chester.

So like I don't have enough balls in the air with my juggling act of projects, I decided to remove wallpaper in my upstairs hall.   Simple right?  Well not exactly.   I guess I was better at putting up the wallpaper than I gave myself credit for.   Thought I could do this in two weekends - one to remove and prep and one to paint -  and have the hall and stairway spruced up for the shower.   Another fine mess I have gotten myself into.  If only I had four arms!  I imagine I'll make this job drag on until summer.
So as if I don't have enough irons in the fire, I pulled out my Happy Hooker book to brush up on my crocheting so I can start a baby blanket.  

I need to reign myself in for sure.
I've got excuses, no explanations, just doing my thing.

Imagine what an accomplishment-a-palooza it will be to finish all my WIP's.  Have a great week everyone.