Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Learning from myself

Good morning, superfriends!

Still here, still plugging away... with a change of heart.

Stress got to me the other day.  Enough so that, when combined with not eating enough and trying to move two rooms of furniture, I passed out.  Just *thud* onto the floor.  Since no one else was home, I woke up not too long after wondering what had just happened.  It wasn't too long, but I was light-headed the rest of the day, and did not like that one little bit.  

I decided I would (finally) take steps to moderate my stress.  I made a list of the things that are currently stressing me out.  There are a few things that I have little to no control over.  The rest I can do something about.  So I've been working on that.  Sat down with D and had a meeting about chores and things, and we hashed it out pretty quick with no emotional outbursts and no hurt feelings.  That in itself helped the stress levels!

The other thing I did... looking back, it amazed me that it took me so long.  I learned (indirectly) from myself.  I've been teaching that quilting is supposed to be fun.  It doesn't matter if your seams don't match exactly if you don't mind.  It doesn't matter how long it takes you, as long as it's fun.

I apparently forgot that.

So I am taking a leaf from my own book.  I am giving myself permission to slow down and not HAVE to quilt every day.  I no longer will HAVE to run home, do chores and eat and get ready for the next day and shoehorn quilting in there.  Nope.  It happens when it happens.

So my goals are being modified.  Now I will shoot for updating every other day.  That, too, should reduce the stress.

I still have so much I want to do.  But now I'm not going to push so hard.  Apparently my body doesn't like that.  So, time to slow down for a while.  Put the enjoyment back in things - that was one thing I realized.  I am not enjoying my sewing these days.  I'd rather enjoy it.    And giving myself the freedom to slow down and take away deadlines might just do the trick.

So here goes: the newer, slower S.  (Maybe).  Today is the last day of the month, and the last day of stress-filled.  I am taking control of my own life, my own stress, and dealing with it.

Tonight's goals?  dust downstairs and maybe work on a quilt.  I am not sure which one just yet - but it will be one that I CHOOSE to work on.  Not one I feel that I HAVE to work on.  Oh, and dinner.  :)   I should make dinner.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Perverseness of the Universe

Good morning, Superfriends!

As many can attest, once a person makes a decision about things, the universe shifts, and those goals are no longer so easily reached.

Naturally, once I decided my goals - life happened. 

I haven't given up on them - oh, no... I'm far too stubborn for that!  But it might take me a wee bit longer.  So be it.  I am stubborn.  Seriously stubborn.  And so I am NOT going to quit.  Nope, not this girl.  I have better things to do than quit.  Sometimes, life makes it a challenge, but really... what would life be without a challenge?

In the meantime, we've fired up the old testing schedule at work, so there's less free time until, oh... January.  Hooray!  (Overtime is good money, right?)  I enjoy the testing part in some ways, but it does take up my time!  We're probably working 6 days a week until December.  And of course, now is the time that my brain goes "Oh, hey!  I've got these lovely ideas for a quilt!  You should totally make these!" 

I would love to make a steampunk hippo quilt.  I haven't figured out how yet, but it's percolating in my brain, along with the other new things.  My list is growing and growing! 

But, I am still plugging along, working as I can.  If I listed all the quilts I have in planning stage, I would just be overwhelmed.  I DO have a list, but it's kept on a spreadsheet for my sanity.  Right now it's sitting at 98 quilts in various stages: planned, designed, in process or done.  17 of those are done.  Currently I am sitting at 18% completion.  I keep shooting for higher.  Eventually.  Maybe.  :)

I am also testing one of my patterns for accuracy.  I want to see if it can get accepted in a quilting magazine, so I wanted to be certain it would do!  And, since I was making a test piece, I decided to do something a little different.  A little more modern.  It looked muddy until I added the blue.  I intended to go all black and white, but I think I have too much grey.  The blue helps, though!

So that's what I've been up to, superfriends!

What's up in your worlds?  What's currently challenging you?  Does life get in the way of quilting and crafting?


Friday, July 19, 2013

Onwards! Fruit, birds, and quilts

Good morning, superfriends!

I am keeping to my goals -  so far.  I have quilted on Boston Molasses Flood at least a little each night.  I have also planned out three (sigh) new quilts.  So, those go on the list for "someday."  At this rate, I won't have to worry about running out of ideas!  Even if I don't have another one for five years, I think I'm set!

Today is luau day at work - jeans, hawaiian shirts, decorations, food day, etc.  I volunteered for fruit, but because I am me, I couldn't just plop fruit on a plate and go with it.  No... not this girl....

Behold.  The fruit bird!  Pineapple body with pear wings, a banana head, and plumage of strawberries, cherries and grapes.  Hooray the fruit bird!

I put this together up here at work, and people kept stopping by to watch and make comments about how it's amazing how creative I am, and how they would never think of things like that.  One even asked if I'd taken a class on it.  (That one blew my mind).  I told her I'd seen a picture, and figured out how to put it together.  She looked at me as though I'd grown two heads.  To me, this is a bird made of fruit held together with bamboo skewers.  Apparently to other people this is something they would admire, but never even think to make.  Something too difficult.

I guess quilting is like that.  Actually, I suppose a LOT of life is like that.  Things that are simple to one person are amazingly difficult or even unthinkable to other people.  What is simple to me, not so much to others.  Likewise, what is nigh-on impossible to me is probably easy to some people. 

Tonight will be more quilting and such - and prepping Quilter's Moon for a small road trip.  We're going to a picnic this weekend, and it's going with me.  Just in case I get tired of talking and need something to do with my hands.  Or something.

Oh... what is Quilter's Moon?  Oh, yeah.  That entry crashed when I tried to post it.  So... Quilter's Moon.  Improv pieced moon of creams and whites on a dark blue starry background. The improv piecing came from an article in Quilty. I am immensely enjoying this magazine! 

The background color doesn't show up very well in this shot - it's considerably more blue than this.  But this shot does show the detail of the moon.  I am reasonably pleased with this as well, and now have to buckle down and quilt it! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Inspiration photos and such

We went to the zoo in San Antonio... got to go to a short talk about condors.  It was amazing!  They have two, and they have bred in the past, but no longer.  Apparently they got a condor divorce.  :)  They live in two different exhibits now; we got to meet Daisy.  She is being trained to follow a certain stick so they can move her into her cage when they need to.  She doesn't fear humans - she was raised by them, so she has a tendency to want to play instead of get in the cage.  Can't say I blame her!

One of the other things we noticed at the zoo was the number of statues that you can actually climb on!  They have little signs warning that the metal statues can get hot in the Texas sun, but other than that, have fun!  I thought that was amazing!

One of my favorites was this one:

Steampunk hippos!  They were adorable!  The live hippo had a new (to me) exhibit behind glass so you could watch it swimming around, but he was having his breakfast while we were there.  The old hippo enclosure is now for a capybara and a tapir. 

This is at the Japanese Tea Gardens - looking almost straight up into the top of the pavilion.  It was amazing.  I wish I had a better camera to grab better shots, but this one isn't too bad.  I'd love to recreate this in a quilt - the beautiful geometric pattern and the different shades of wood.  It's like looking up into a flower unfolding above. 
The pavilion from ground level - it's amazing.  Everything is limestone from the quarry the Tea Garden is located in, and it's chaotic and orderly both at the same time, organic and formal.  It's an amazing balance, and I adore it!
I did indeed work on Boston Molasses - got another complete row of quilting done - both parts of the "wave" of molasses, so I am reasonably pleased.  Got it rolled up a little more and started the next row of "wave" as well.  So far, so good.  Now for shower and working on pineapple.  (Not a real one, a stuffed one for a luau at work).

Goal Setting and Things Accomplished

I am setting new goals for myself, in several different areas.  The first is health - I have a weight loss goal - not for looks, but for health.  I would like to lose another 20 pounds by the end of February 2014.  I'm giving myself plenty of time, because I want it to stick!  It will be a little easier because D is also losing weight - again, health reasons.  So we're shooting for eating less, eating the right things, and doing more. 

I am also setting new goals in the sewing and quilting arena.  I am setting a couple of goals here.  The first one - finish Boston Molasses by the end of September.  Once that is done, start working on Crazy Diamonds.  Finish that one by the end of January 2014.  (They are being quilted by hand, and neither is a wee thing, so I am giving myself time).  If I manage to quilt the smaller ones as well, all the much better.

The second quilting goal - blog about what I am doing every day in the month of August.  Even if it's just a little, I am going to try to have something up EVERY DAY.  Hooray!  (And it's cheating if I post things I did several days ago.  It's got to be do something and post every day.).  Quilting and sewing related, obviously.

In order to make that second goal, I am going to have a bit of a run-up.  I will post (hopefully) more often henceforth.  I have ideas, and goals, and stuff!  I have things to say!  And by golly, I intend to say them!  (That almost got typed out as By Gollum.  Can you tell I'm a LotR fan?)

I got a lot of inspiration this past weekend.  D and I took a trip to San Antonio.  It was my mother's birthday, and I thought it would be fun to surprise her.  (Which I did, and it was fun!).  We did a lot of running around as a family, which was nice.  We haven't really done that in a while.  One of the side trips we took was to Las Colchas - which is a FABULOUS quilt shop in San Antonio.  If you get a chance, oh quilters, you should go!  They have a wide array of fabrics in a converted house, and it's just stuffed to the gills.  If I had unlimited funds, I could spend all day in there getting fabrics cut. 

They also had a lot of fabrics that I haven't seen up here in Fort Worth.  So... needless to say, I did some buying.  I don't have an immediate use for the things I bought, but still.... I know I will use them! 

D and I also went to the zoo and to the Japanese Tea Garden.  Both were amazing!  Both are built in an old quarry (as are a lot of things in San Antonio). but neither of them resemble quarries.  They are gorgeous!  The zoo has made a LOT of improvements since I was there last.  We were among the first people in the Tea Garden when we went, and so we got to meander around without lots of people barring the way.

The flowers were in full bloom, and butterflies flitted about.  Again, because we were early, the lizards were scurrying around doing their thing.  The koi and turtles were happily swimming around the Tea Garden.  It was a very pleasant morning, and afterwards, we got to meet my parents for lunch before heading out.

In a lot of ways, this trip was a little hard.  We went on a trip last year for a long weeked, and while it was a great deal of fun, the day we got back my cat died.  So I was a little leery this time.  Nothing seemed wrong last time, so that didn't give me much encouragement about THIS time.   But all was well when we got home.  Joji jumped off of her perch and came charging to meet me, and didn't hold any kind of grudge over our absence.  (Although she's been eating my toes every morning since).
At any rate, we are home and all is well now.  Still catching up on sleep - the weirdly cool weather (for July in Texas, rain and 80's is cool!) is helping, though.  And in the meantime, I am still working away in the forge getting things made.  I will post about them later today, when I have better pictures.  And maybe a few more pics of San Antonio, too.
And I have gained more inspiration from the San Antonio trip as far as quilts than I expected.  That's a nice thing - it feels like a long dry season that's finally coming to an end.
See you later, superfriends!