You will find your free printable HERE.
Are you still in the fight? This month’s items to conquer the clutter are actually fun to do!
You will find your free printable HERE.
Every one of us has a special place where we find rest and refreshment. The Colorado mountains – and the high plains next to them – are that place for me. So Husband of the Year and I soaked up some time there recently and I thought I’d share the highlights.
Hope your Spring is filled with some rest and fun, too.
Part of the fun of going to a quilt show – like the one in Sterling, CO, that I enjoyed with my sister this spring – is voting for Viewers Choice. You look and examine (without touching) and decide which one (and only one) you would take home if you could.
There are patriotic quilts …
and seasonal quilts …
There are traditional quilts with a twist …
There are big quilts with lots of pieces
and little quilts with applique.
There are quilts for special days
and quilts for special new family members.
There are quilts with embellishments
and quilts with lots of cross stitched embroidery.
And there are quilts that seem to be dimensional
and quilts that took LOTS of time to make!
But most of all, there are quilts that you love to share with your sister!
PS – Just in case you are wondering, the Colorado sister voted for the Maze quilt and my first choice was the embroidered Block of the Month.
They say confession is good for the soul and I’m going to believe that is true because I have to confess that I’m behind on our Chaos Challange in order to celebrate an “I did it myself!” moment. And since it’s just between us stitching sisters, I’m sure my secret is safe.
The January list said it was time to clean my sewing machine but [drum roll – confession to follow] I keep avoiding that cleaning business since I had never done it before. I have taken my machine in for professional tune ups but I had never opened one up to clean it myself. If you are horrified, I understand. It is a deep flaw for sure!
So, here I am facing April – the queen of procrastination – and I got just the nudge I needed! I visited the Colorado sister (more details on that in a later post) and her quilt club had a presentation from someone with a long history of fixing and cleaning machines. When I saw her walk through the steps, I thought, “I believe I could do that without doing irreparable harm.”
To give myself a little reinforcement, I consulted — the manual (genius idea!)
And “TA_DA!” [insert trumpet fanfare]
It was so do-able that I did both my Bernina workhorse and my little lightweight Singer. (which I picked up at a garage sale for the price of a nice dinner and I LOVE the blanket stitch it produces!)
I have to tell you that cleaning the second one was absolutely necessary since my Bernina foot has died. [moment of silence, please] Having survived a house flood and limped along after a couple other disasters, it had given a noble contribution. So while I wait for a new one to arrive, I’m very happy to have my garage sale buddy as a stand in.
So now I’m caught up on my Challenge lists and I’m ready for a new one for April. Except for the fact that the Colorado Sister shared some treasures with me so I have some more “cut into usable sizes.” [see January list] But that is an ongoing effort in order to maintain victory over the chaos!
And in a coming post I’ll tell you one thing we are doing with those self-made precuts which allowed us to check off the “make a block-or 10” item this past month. Stay tuned.
Make it easy on yourself – Fight the Chaos! Clear the Clutter! Mash the Mess! okay, maybe my alliteration skills are weak today!
You can print your free April Challange list HERE.
SO the February Challenge list included
CHECK, CHECK, CHECK and CHECK!
Now, this is progress! Every single little step is helping me be more productive!
Even if you haven’t checked off all of your goals for February, take another shot at it this month. Just one item per week for March:
HERE is your free printable.
The geographic distance between us makes us thankful that we no longer rely on the Pony Express to trade packages. And the distances give us a growing affection for the Wright brothers and the “flying machines” legacy they left us all – especially as we needed those machines to rendezvous in St. Louis in order to drive into Illinois for a family funeral.
We sisters love every minute we have together but this trip was bitter-sweet in the face of losing our one-of-a-kind Uncle Bruce. We say he was one of our very own Second Hand Lions (if you’ve seen the movie you will understand this even better) because of the grand adventures and extraordinary fun he and our Uncle Bob always concocted for us and our cousins – and later, for our children.
Uncle Bruce was a gifted cartoonist and held Lincoln in high regard.
It’s a great loss for our family. And for everyone who knew this kind, devoted, fiercely patriotic Marine Corps veteran who loved his family and his Savior.
He loved to hunt – sometimes with his binoculars and camera and sometimes with bow and arrows. So the cousins banded together to honor him with an arrangement that held arrows.
The other sister and I determined to get one of those arrows to our dad, who at age 94 was unable to attend the funeral for his youngest sibling. The problem with going from concept to reality in this case was due to the fact that the arrow wouldn’t fit into either of our suitcases. After brief consultation we decided it wouldn’t work to convince TSA agents that one single arrow doesn’t really qualify as “dangerous” materials. They are funny about stuff like that.
Now, I’m including this instructional episode because I’m sure that sometime in the future many of you will need to know how to solve this dilemma.
Should we cut the arrow so that it fits into the suitcase? Neither of us happened to have a saw with us. So we hatched a late night plot to mail the arrow home to the Colorado ranch – if only we could find a mailing container that would fit an arrow. This took us to the wrapping paper aisle at the large chain “general store” and also involved the taping of Styrofoam cups to each end to prevent the arrow from poking through.
It worked! The arrow – an important memento for our dad – is safely in place! What sisters can accomplish we when concoct together!
And on the way back to the St. Louis airport we took a quick detour to find Quilting on Aisle 3 in the little town (with some great Victorian houses) in Virden, Ill. We got some hot tips from Trudi about the heat activated pens they carry and discovered that the three friends who run this shop are willing to do custom quilts! You can find their web site HERE.
The quick trip made me conscious once again that our time together here is so brief and so fleeting. We do well to soak up the pleasure of every minute.
And now we are home safe and sound – and so is Uncle Bruce!
The Sister and I have a Challenge going this year. We are going to fight the chaos and conquer the clutter in our sewing studios. I call it “studio” because that sounds more like serious business whereas “sewing room” sounds like an option. It’s a mind game with myself. She has a bit of an advantage since she thinks and even breathes in a more orderly fashion than I do. But, I’m giving it my best shot.
So, we started the year off with a once-a-week list called Fight the Chaos Fridays and last month it focused on:
Here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots of my “work area” i.e. cutting table.
You can tell already it is a necessary challenge. And you will be more convinced as the year moves along and you see the other BEFORE pictures I will post – as often as I can stand the embarrassment.
And you’ll agree that it’s a good thing Sister was here for a visit last month to get me off to a strong start. Here’s some more of the work area AFTER we fought through the chaos.
While Sister2 was here we went on a hunt to find creative storage for the “useable pieces” we cut from my accumulated scraps.
And now, as you can see above, there is a place at the end of my vintage ammo box to hang our Spools for Tools project (get pattern HERE) which holds my favorite rulers – like the skini minis by Martelli with their wonderful non-slip backing.
The whole cutting process to get control of accumulated scraps has been addictive! Probably because we have been using some templates made by Martelli. The non-slip backing grips through about 8 layers of fabric and you can turn the template without the fabric slipping! If you want a set of non-slip templates to help you cut those “pre-cut” sizes, send me an email (SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com) and we’ll give you a special Stitching Sisters price. Look HERE under Template for Precuts for details.
So, how’s the rest of my Fight the Chaos Friday list?
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I still have a little work to do as far as cleaning my machines. And my project To Do list is right on the Notes section of my calendar, although some of the due dates are a little flexible.
Remember, it’s a year-long effort so celebrate the things you check off each week and don’t worry about what is still left to do. Trust me, honey, it’ll still be there when you find it on our challenge list in a few weeks.
We’d love to hear from you if you think of things we have missed. And we’d love to see pictures of your progress!
Here’s the list for February:
Since it’s the first Friday of the month, you can get your FREE February printable checklist HERE.
It’s not often enough that we sisters are in the same state at the same time. So when we are, I soak up every minute we have together like it’s a life prolonging magic vitamin. This time the Dietz B&B was the southern-most stop in the Escape the Winter road trip for the Colorado sister and her rancher husband.
To double the fun, our brother and his wife made the trip down from their house hunting in Atlanta for the Kick Off weekend. Having three of the four siblings together is a rare pleasure. I missed our other cowboy brother, I admit.
We ate Italian stew and Mexican green chili (recipe at the end of this post), played raucous games of cards, visited the USS Alabama,
went to church together, and watched football. Then brother Bill and his wife, Susan had to return to the real world while we partied on.
Once the first weekend was over Sister 2 and I got down to the business of organizing my studio. We needed to legitimize our trips to antique malls and thrift stores.
We found great organizing treasurers to help us with our Fight the Chaos Friday Challenge,
as well as other treasures,
and we went to a Glenn Miller Band concert.
And we stitched! A 10-minute runner. (more on that later.) And we cut scraps into useable sizes. (more on that later, too.) We also gave attention to the row quilt we are working on. Once again – more on that later.
And then she went home. Sorry for the sad ending. Please pass the tissues.
Green Chili Pulled Pork Bowls
To the slow cooker add onion, garlic, green chilies, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, cilantro, and salsa.
Season each side of the pork with the dry seasoning and place in slow cooker fat side up
Cover and slow cook on high for 4 -6 hours until tender
Shred with two forks and mix well with the sauce.
Serve with fried corn tortillas or chips, cheese, sour cream and lime wedges.
I’m not sure if I’m excited by the possibilities of the new year or if I’m unnerved by the possibilities. My state of conflictedness may have something to do with how Day #1 of 2017 started.
On New Year’s Day at about 7 o’clock in the morning I got a message from my neighbor with some pictures of our house attached. (We were driving home from the Georgia mountains.)
That’s right. At about 4 o’clock that morning they woke up to strange whistling in the air and lots of debris hitting their house so they had a family meeting in the bathtub. (That’s a safe place to ride out a storm, in case you haven’t experienced this kind of event in person.)
Let’s just say that the tornadic activity did not translate into good news for the old live oak trees in our yard. So the next several days have meant getting to know tree service people – and our home owners insurance people.
Looking back, I should have known that the holidays would be anything but normal when I sent to the dentist right before we left on our Christmas trip and found my dentist in strange garb. Evidently his family loves the movie The Christmas Story and designated him to wear the Ralphy costume for a day this year. THAT should have been a forewarning that unusual things were coming our way.
Flash forward to our return home:
When we finally faced the chaos in person, it helped me to remember the fun of the previous week when we spent Christmas in Minnesota with our daughters, son-in-law, mostly grownup grandchildren and their – ummm – friends. Should I say boyfriend/girlfriend? Love interest? Significant other? I’m never sure. I include that category because we got to go on a triple date to the movies with these fun people – such good sports!
As we faced the tornado cleanup, we kept our smiles in place, in part, because of the great time we had celebrating:
amazing food, fun games, Christmas eve candlelight service & family pictures
the white elephant gift exchange (which included one poor soul who received his own video game which had been snatched from his room with great slyness) and other delightful gifts …
and visiting my granddaughter’s favorite antique shop. I found this sweet set of hot pads which needed embroidered. That size project is great for airplane rides!
It’s probably safe to assume that the rest of the year will continue to unfold in much the same way as these last couple of weeks – hard and easy, laughter and chaos, excitement and disappointment, celebrations and surprises …. and stitching.
I’ll have to admit that I’m hoping for less of some and more of others. What are you hoping for in the coming year?
PS – Thank you, Ryan & Mandy and Joby for all your work to host this celebration! And nice to meet you, Tony!