Saturday, January 30, 2010

Know What?

Farenheit 350 is having another giveaway. This time it's a beautiful Strawberry Chocolate Caramel Pecan Log. Visit her blog for a chance to win!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

10 Year Project

I don't really make New Years Resolutions. My Defeated Perfectionistic self understands that this would only add to the big pile of 'things that cause me angst'. I do everything I can to NOT willingly add to that pile.....

That being said, I'm always trying to accomplish things that reside in my 'you shouldn't have started that if you weren't going to finish it' pile. I feel that if I balance things in this pile with the 'just bought it yesterday even though I know I have plenty of unfinished projects already' pile, then eventually, I will make progress. I has occurred to me that the flaw in this plan is in finishing one project while buying two new projects. This has generally been my M.O. up until just recently. Mostly driven by financial priorities, I have taken to focusing a little harder on my pile-to-pile ratio.

I usually have to be mentally and emotionally motivated to tackle a 'WIP' (aka-work in progress.) WIP is much more positive than 'UFO' (aka unfinished object.) UFO implies that underneath it all, you really never expect to finish said project. WIP at least leaves the possibility open. I have had projects in the past that I let go for sooooo long that they no longer appealed to me in any way, shape, or form. Maybe 2 or 3 of these went the way of the yard sale or DI, but I really try very hard to finish something before it falls into the 'EW, BLECH, YUKKY' category. I don't deal well with guilt......which brings me to today's project:

A Long Time Ago, and Far, Far Away.......I decided that I wanted to learn to paper piece. This is a quilting technique that enables some seemingly impossible and very precise piecing. I was at one of my favorite quilt shops, Gentler Times, up in Holiday. Sadly, they no longer exist, but 10 years ago, they offered a class that was just what I was looking for. A lovely Mariners Compass combined with a Storm at Sea background. I was in love. I gathered my fabrics and with the help of a friend, (someone had to watch my small children so I could attend the three needed classes), proceeded to learn this new skill. The teacher was experienced and helpful. She explained thoroughly the process and I successfully created the Mariners Compass portion of the quilt. I was so pleased and excited! I had turned out an amazing example of paper-pieced-perfection!! I left the class with the knowledge I had been seeking.

Then, having three small children, I took approximately two more years to put the rest of the quilt together, minus the borders. Project after project came and went. After about 5 years I finally added the borders and marked the quilt for quilting and began to hand quilt. This was the stickler: I got a certain amount of the way and either got too busy, or too distracted by other projects to continue. The quilt lay in a bag for quite some time. Every time I came across it I would say to myself "I really need to finish that!" then I would look realistically at my available time and stick the quilt back into the bag. It wasn't until I finally decided that hand quilting was going to be an impossibility, that I took out the stitching I had already done, and gave it to a friend to machine quilt. It sat in her studio for over a year while we pondered what would be the best type of quilting to enhance the pattern. We finally collaborated and the quilt was quilted!! Yay!! You would think that this incredible milestone would have prompted me to get the thing bound immediately!! Think again. I even had the binding already made and still let another year pass by without lifting a finger. I guess that's just how I roll.

Part of me was just not all that attracted to the colors of the quilt anymore. There goes my emotional motivation. But last fall, I finally managed to slog through and reach way down to come up with the umpf to finish. I put in the last stitch in the binding and thought to myself "There. Good for you. Another project you can cross off your guilt list." Then, having an empty wall between Halloween and Christmas, stuck it up on my wall as a fall quilt. AND COULDN'T STOP STARING AT IT!! It looked so amazing on the wall! The colors became secondary to the pattern. It was mesmerizing. I loved it!

And now I have a new zeal for finishing all my old projects. Anything that is in an unfinished state has elevated from a UFO to a WIP. I will be periodically posting my finished results for you all to see. Here is a pic of the whole quilt. It's wall hanging size (and did I mention how great it looks on my wall?)

Mariners Compass/Storm at Sea
entirely paper pieced
machine quilted by Winnifred
10 years+ in progress
Finished: November 2009

Thursday, January 07, 2010

There But For the Grace........

I've been meaning to put up some pictures of Jackson.

Today, especially, I'm feeling so blessed to have him in our family.

He truly is an angel baby.

I read a link from Erin's blog today that made my heart just ache!

And then it made me want to hug him extra hard.

I love you, Jackson.

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