Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Smell of Thanksgiving

Right now the house smells divine. It's a baking day here at our home. I just finished a batch of chocolate crinkle cookies, and a pumpkin pie and two loaves of pumpkin bread are in my ovens. I'm hoping the pumpkin bread turns out. I added a different spice mixture to it (2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, and a generous pinch of nutmeg) It's times like this I'm glad I have double ovens.

... And a sense of smell! Lol! Yummy!

Laundry is tumbling and swishing. It's a busy week. Lots of housework to catch up on since last week's storm and power outage.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. This year it's just hubby and I. No traveling. Dinner will be chicken, country greens, and black eye peas. Maybe some stuffing and cranberry sauce, too! The big holiday dinner will be Friday night at a friend's house. I'm bringing ham and sweet potato casserole (you must make this!). 

Friday morning is my first annual Black Friday Stitch and Bitch. I invited a few friends to come by and sew. Lunch will be a salad bar and fresh baked peasant bread (at least some pretense of being healthy! Haha!). Sewing beats shopping.

Speaking of sewing, another row is completed on my diamonds in the sky top. That means there are two rows left. Yay! I might get this done before January 1!

I've started yet another journal. I'm trying out Time Warp Wife's holiday bible study. While it's not an artsy journal, it's involves thinking, so I'm marking this down as a creative project. And you know I have to make it all pretty.

Well, my bread is almost ready. Gotta scoot. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hand lettering

Good afternoon! Well, just barely afternoon here. Lol! (No makeup day. Haha!)

This past week has been crazy. Housework has been severely neglected here. First I was relaxing from weekend company, then we had a huge windstorm that knocked out the power for a good portion of two days. And to be honest, I don't feel like doing squat.

Yes, I know I'm delaying the inevitable! 

I spent yesterday practicing my hand lettering skills. On a whim, I decided to actually go back and refer to some of those sites I've been pinning on Pinterest. (My hand lettering board)

Today will find me taking advantage of warmth and sunshine in my family room, so I'll be working on some English paper piecing as soon as I finish this blog post. I wish it were warm enough to be outside... But it's not. Boo! 

I'm hoping to unpack the photo printer I got last week and play around with that for my journaling. That plus I have a few gifts to make. Speaking of gifts, this was cute bookmark I made for a friend. I used some office supply paper protectors and a special fuse tool to make the shaker packet. I also did up a cute little card for a friend that needs cheering up. 

I also made a sticker organizer using page protectors, the fuse tools, scrapbook paper, a bit of elastic and my hot laminating stuff (oh, and my grommet stuff too). This enables me to categorize my loose sticker stash.

I'll be honest in saying that my pocket planner has been gathering dust. That may be part of my inert behavior. Ideas if I write my list out it would make me more accountable. So chalk this out as a period of non-production in some areas.

Hope y'all have a good weekend. I hear that our storm is now ready to hit the Midwest and go further east. Stay safe, warm, and dry. It's the perfect excuse to get out your stuff and create!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Still Alive and Creating!

Still a mess but getting better! 

I've been slowly but surely getting my studio in good order. One medium sized moving box got filled with goodies and donated. I moved my fabric stash to half of my shelf and am using the other half to store larger paper crafting items.

Paper crafting palooza

Then I moved my drawers full of paper stuff to my IKEA Raskog cart (love that!), and consolidated my sewing supplies. Most used items are out, and the rest went in the closet shelving. I need to rehang some artwork and quilts, thin down my books and give the room a good base cleaning and I'll be ready for the gray rainy winter. Rumor has it we have a major storm coming in the next 24 hours, so I won't be doing my usual Tuesday out.

I've made a few sewing days to work on my paper piecing project, but no major sewing has been going on. I do have a wall hanging out for quilting, and it's companion piece waiting to be bound. Other stuff has been calling me. (Master bedroom decorating and houseguests)

I have been working on my journaling project for Listers Gotta List. It's an hour up front each month to decorate the base pages, then about 5-10 minutes each day, depending on the topic. I really am enjoying this journaling project. To keep it simple I've used a planner, since the prompts are daily. It works out great!

I've also been teaching myself some baking skills. I started watching The Great British Bakeoff on Netflix, PBS, and You Tube. Last week I tried my hand at biscotti. I made the one recipe as written, then improvised on two more batches. One improv batch turned out great, the other was so-so. I have some tweaks to make on the not so great batch. I'll likely try that this week as well. My goal this week is to do a crusty bread. I have an issue with my Italian bread recipe proofing out instead of up, and I learned a new trick on the show.

I also ensured some future sweet experimentation when I picked up this cookie porn. I'm thinking a holiday cookie swap might be in order!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Case for De-Stashing

As y'all know, I did a huge fabric purge earlier this year. 

I went from this.

To this.

I'm finally hitting my studio for setup and I'm taking another serious look at what I have. I'm thinking yet another purge is in order. I just look at my studio and see stuff. Yes, it's a case of feeling overwhelmed and the stuff owning me versus me owning it. 

I've read the book, The Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (MK), I've taken to heart Mark Lipinski's lecture on the Slow Stitching Movement (SS), and I need to refresh myself on what I learned between the two:
  • Responsible stashing (SS) and only stashing what brings me joy (MK)
  • Being more into and present in the art and process of quilting (SS) versus quick, fast, and easy. There are times for easy projects, but I need to challenge myself more. 
  • Creating pieces that have heartfelt meaning (my interpretation of both thought programs)
  • Creating a space that will bring joy/peace to me and my tools (MK)
So another box has been started for guild giveaway. I'll be taking another look at the actual furniture I have in my studio. I'll likely be subtracting a piece or two. I think when it's all said and done I'll be much lighter and more efficient. 

I know that the lighting is a major issue with this room. It's in a dark corner of the house and the ceiling fixture isn't conducive to creating actual workable light. I'm going to work with hubby on developing a lighting plan using full-spectrum lighting. I know this is a huge reason why I haven't used this space as much as I should. 

Stay tuned (if you're still with me!). I'll let you know about my progress.

Oh, speaking of progress, I'm well into row 11 of 13 on my hand pieced quilt of three years. I may actually finish the top in 2015!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Faith Journal

Lately it seems like there are lots of needs for prayer. I need a way to keep up with my list and at least write these down so they can be heard. Yes, I know those in my heart are heard, but writing them down echoes the sentiment even more.

I made a prayer diary last week, but didn't like it. So I journeyed to the land of Pinterest and came upon this link from Throne of Grace. I loved the author's concept of a mustard seed book, so I grabbed a spare book and made one.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, 
it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” 
(Matthew 13:31-32 NIV)

Love that.

Basically, I took the planning guts out of the binder, substituted heavy 28lb plain unlined paper, cut it to size and punched the holes using a planner sheet as a template. Needing dividers, I thought the "I AM" Sn@p cards from Simple Stories would be perfect with a slight modification. I grabbed my tab punch and punched out some coordinating tabs, labeled them, and adhered them to the card using pre-made tab adhesive stickers. No, it's not fancy... But it's fancy enough for me.

I love using the journal cards because the sentiments were spot-on to the subject matter, and they happen to be pretty on both sides!

I think so!

To embellish my journal, I filled my accompanying pencil and sticker folio with some page markers, assorted pens, a glue stick, some mini scrapbook ephemera, and stickers. Just a few things to give it some pizzaz.

I think I'm going to like this format. It has sections for confession, gratitude, personal requests, and sections for family, friends, and other matters needing prayer. Since this was all made from existing supplies, I'm not out much...

So I'll give it a whirl.

To learn more about the mustard seed prayer journal, click here. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Studio Time

I got some paperwork (lol!) done in the studio this past week. Got my Ban.Do planner set up for October's Listers Gotta List journaling project sponsored by The Reset Girl. I was able to get the base decorating done beforehand and my first week of October lists done. I'm loving this format versus using a full page. It suits my time/feeble brain well.

Doing a full page for each prompt was just too much. Glad I switched. This is a closeup of the actual lists in action.

This morning I made a birthday card for my niece and embellished some notepads I got from Target's dollar spot. I thought that by adding some bling to the cover and stamping the pages would make it more special. I always send her some spending money and a Starbucks card, so this kinda gave the gift a more personal touch. The card turned out dorky... That's why it's not photographed here. I sent it anyway, dork and all. Figured she'd get a good laugh out of it.

This week will find me sewing with the Guild at the firehouse. This will force me to work on my bedroom curtains. That'll be good because if I screw up, I can get extra panels from the Target nearby.  I hope I remember how to sew!

I got a quilt (UFO) back from the quilter. Looks great. This was the first time I sent something out. I need to have her do my second one in the series. That way I can get them both done and ready to hang.

Unfortunately, I found someone to give my black and white star quilt to. I was creating this for a friend with cancer. She died before I finished it. Another friend's mom was given a grave ovarian cancer diagnosis. I'll be giving it a good wash adding on a personalized label, and shipping it out.

That's about it in my world. Not much excitement going on.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm a Planner Girl!

Hello! I'm back. Things are starting to even out into routine. Thank goodness. I was about to check into the looney bin! Not really, but the rest and relaxation would be nice. LOL!

Truth be told, this and the last half of last year have taken a toll on me personally. Since my fall almost a year ago, I've been struggling to regain control of the household chores. Throw in a longer than expected house guest (now gone as of last week) and it spelled disaster for re-gaining control.

Fear no more. I handled a move with hubby out of the country, in fact picked the house out on my own, too! Betcha didn't know that. Yep, we had just about given up looking when I saw this one online. I just called him to ask him to sign the papers. LOL! But the actual move was on me. I couldn't have managed that without my A5 Foxy Dori bullet journal from The Foxy Fix

I blame my planning kick on a Pinterest board of a national quilting magazine editor I follow. She pinned these beautiful notebooks out of Japan known as "Midori Traveler's Notebooks". Many were adorned with beautiful illustrations, stickers, various ephemera, etc. Some were also simplified with just lists. Then she upped the ante showing  Filofax, Covey planners, and the like. I was a pinning fool, drinking in all the iterations of planning mania.

Hook. Line. Sinker.

In a mad search for Midori resources, my eyes were opened to a whole new creative way of time management. It tweaked my desire for order and satisfied my yen to create. I immediately went into obsession overdrive and bought supplies like crazy. Yep, you've seen that meme around about buying $96 in supplies to make something that costs $7. I'm that nut.

Anyway, after a few tries and iterations, I've found my groove. I make a pretty calendar for the household and use a slightly adorned bullet journal for my brain book. I carry my brain book wherever I go.

I love the ease of a bullet journal. I used a similar system during my working days and it really helped me to gage my priorities and set a work schedule. By putting it down on paper it's there if technology fails. For me, just writing it down makes it more real. Plus, the obsessive Virgo taskmaster I am cannot stand an unchecked task. Lol! Hence my groove. :)

So now that you've seen my pretty calendar shots, let me introduce you to my current bullet journal setup. This is an A5 cover I purchased from The Foxy Fix on Etsy. I chose an A5 size because I can readily find booklets in brick and mortar stores near me. My little Japanese dollar store uses international paper sizing A4-6, for example, so I can get affordable inserts if my budget crunches ($1.50). The A5 size also holds those simple Moleskine Cahiers I love. I can get those locally as well. The price of the Cahiers are more, but I like the simplicity of the notebook.

I use one book for my calendar and lists. I keep an index in the front of the book (left in picture), so I know where to go for certain info. In this same book I keep a running calendar (RIGHT IN PICTURE ABOVE). I have mine going until the end of the year. Simple. Just number page lines to the days in your month and go from there. Then the following pages are lists, notes from conversations, task info, etc. whatever you want it to be. I just number the pages and reference them in the index. This part has saved my gravy a few times with my ISP. Had I not had my new account number written down I would have had more issues. But that's a whole 'nother blog post. Anyway, those pages do come in handy sometimes!

The second book is actually my daily task lists. I use certain icons to denote type of activity, progress etc. Here is a basic week shown above.

I take about fifteen minutes each day to plan. Sometimes I plan two days in advance. I usually break my fifteen minutes into two sessions... One for reviewing the day's activities and the other for closing the day and planning the next day. I do set aside some time to do the pretty stuff in my household calendar each week. But I really count that as creative time versus planning time, as I really work from the bullet journal.

I am amazed at how productive I've become using the bullet method. The tasks it helps with:

  • Cleaning schedule
  • Appointments
  • List/Note repository
  • Task list
  • Bill pay reminder
  • And more

I highly recommend keeping a planner. You can make it as fancy as you want (and my pretty calendar is nowhere near as fancy as others' planners, trust me!) or as simple as a plain bullet journal/running task list.

Best yet, When the power is out, I have it all in hand thanks to low tech paper and pen.