Posts Tagged With: challenge

Fight the Chaos Friday – July edition

 

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You’ve come to the right place! Print your free list HERE!

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Fight the Chaos Friday – June edition

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – May edition

Are you still in the fight? This month’s items to conquer the clutter are actually fun to do!

 

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – April edition

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.”

a picture + patient demonstration = great teacher

To give myself a little reinforcement, I consulted — the manual (genius idea!)

A manual with pictures – what a great invention!

And “TA_DA!” [insert trumpet fanfare]

Just seeing the clean metal parts gives me confidence!

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 think I heard a little sigh of appreciation and a soft “Thank You!” coming from the machines.

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.

Someone downsized and we were happy to help them!

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!

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You can print your free April Challange list HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – March edition

SO the February Challenge list included

  • Clear out your hand sewing basket/box; replenish supplies
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So this time when I grabbed my handwork bag, I actually had what I needed when I opened it up!

  • clear out a drawer or shelf into 3 piles: keep, use or donate (see your Priority One list)
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this is BEFORE – who made this mess?

 

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I found everything from a bag of chalk to misc. leather straps and even some boxes of vintage singer attachments.

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And I found my long lost bag containing my thimble collection

 

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… and AFTER!

  • Pick a UFO to keep working on – Just 1!
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The pieces to this UFO are cut and setting right by my machine so that I stich a little every time I sit down!

  • Clean the floor, window, vents, lights in your sewing room

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:

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HERE is your free printable.

 

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Fight the Chaos Friday – February edition

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:

  • Put away gifts and Clean the work area
  • Clean machine, including a new needle and Put a new blade in the rotary cutter
  • Cut fabric that has accumulated on cutting table into usable sizes
  • List and post projects and due dates

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots of my “work area” i.e. cutting table.

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Remember I cropped out the really messy part.

 

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Amazing how this open space motivates me!

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.

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And an empty ironing board is actually quite handy.

While Sister2 was here we went on a hunt to find creative storage for the “useable pieces” we cut from my accumulated scraps.

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We stuck gold! What a pile of treasures!

 

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The Colorado sister’s creativity tells us that 2 1/2″ squares can be tucked away in so many places – even a little chicken feeder!

 

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My 2 1/2″ squares fit perfectly in the little drawers of the tin space cabinet. Thank you for the gift, sister!

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.

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A metal vintage film reel box is just the right size for the Colorado sister’s 5″ squares!

 

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And this vintage metal filing drawer is filling up with my 5″ squares. My own “pre-cut” charm square stash!

 

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The 10″ squares (some call them layer cakes) will be tucked away in this portable school desk I just couldn’t resist.

 

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This beautiful spool cabinet, found on her Florida road trip, is just the right size for Sister 2’s 10″ squares. (and some 5″ strips she added to the equation.)

 

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For now my 2 1/2″ strips will nestle in this metal mesh lantern so that I can see them in their light, medium, and dark glory.

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.

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These non-slip templates make cutting your own “pre-cut” sizes so easy!

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:

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Since it’s the first Friday of the month, you can get your FREE February printable checklist HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – January edition

The Colorado Sister has a natural bent toward organization and intentionality. And she has never backed down from a challenge to my knowledge. So, it’s only natural that she would set in motion a challenge to conquer the clutter of our studios during this next year. And since titles need to have some kind of alliteration, we are calling this challenge Fight the Chaos Fridays.

 

Here’s how it will work:

  • Take some BEFORE pictures of troublesome, chaotic corners of your sewing space. Okay, let’s be honest, I need to take a panoramic shot from the doorway to capture the whole thing.
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REALITY ALERT!!! This is the view of my cutting table from my ironing board. And I cropped out the really messy part.

  • Make a list of the areas that slow down your effectiveness the most. Those are Priority One places that impede your progress, clog your creativity and stifle your stitching. Conquer the Clutter!
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PRIORITY ONE!!! I need to find a safe landing spot for this Christmas present from Dietz. Make room for vintage drawers! (And the mess under the cutting table has my attention, too!)

Every month on the first Friday, Sisters will post four areas to focus on during that month. Some routine items will be repeated several times throughout the year for those of us who need to be reminded. A couple times a year there will be time for back up work but you can add that more often if you prefer. We wanted to give room to personalize the process based on your existing clutter (We all have it, dear. It’s okay to call it what it is. Breathe deep and think of where we will all be at the end of the year!) so every once in a while we will include time to address your personal Priority One list.

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This magazine rack is waaaay beyond capacity. Think of the hidden inspiration under this pile!

  • Print off the little monthly reminder we are giving you at the end of this post and check off your progress. We’ll tackle this challenge like we eat an elephant – one bite at a time. One checkmark on the list every week is plenty – we’ll have a whole year to work on this.

 

  • Take some AFTER pictures as you conquer each area. This will help you stay with it along about the first of May when the outside To Do list kicks into high gear too.

 

  • Every 1st Friday post the new Fight the Chaos  list that you’ll find posted here.

 

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 January:

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You can get your FREE January printable checklist HERE.

Together we can Fight the Chaos!

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Design Challenge: Someone else’s Favorite Things

FL Sister id tag

Sometimes I think I’m forgetting more than I ever knew in the first place. So this week’s foundation paper piecing project made me feel really good about myself. Not because it is prize-winning work (although the points do match pretty well) but because I realized how long ago I first learned to foundation paper piece – and I still remember how to do it!

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Back in the days we lived in Utah I went to a foundation paper piecing class in Logan Canyon – one of Utah’s many beautiful spots. The teacher had great handouts, a logical and methodical approach to her explanations, and it worked! Wonder of wonders, I finished the project!

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I hand quilted this one. With four kids at home at that time, I’m not sure how that happened!

And if you judge a teacher by how long the information sticks in the student’s head – she was a success.  Because here it is 25 years later and I’m still remembering the process! I wouldn’t say that it is my favorite method, but sometimes it is the only way to get where I need to go!

 

This month I needed this knowledge in a real way in order to “kill two birds with one stone” on my To Do list.

First goal was to prepare for a quilt show entry. The Pensacola Quilters Guild will host a show in the spring of 2018 and they have chosen Feathered Star as their theme block. You can be sure that the only way this stitching sister is going to do a Feathered Star is via foundation paper piecing! Before I commit to a whole quilt featuring a Feathered Star I needed to do a practice block. So some friends from guild met for a sew day to help each other get started.

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It’s kind of like paint-by-numbers, only you use fabric. And PS – this is not a feathered star, it’s a tree.

At the same time,  my Red Hens sewing bee friends had started a design a mini-quilt challenge. This challenge is meant to stretch our quilting resume to include a project based, not on our preferences, but the preferences of another person – kind of a widening of our quilting perspective. We drew a name out of the hat to determine who we were designing the quilt for. In order to design the quilt we were to interview that person to find out their quilting history, their preferences, how they made quilting choices.

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Diane Carson and Vernell Savage, our Red Hen sewing bee leaders, at our Christmas party.

So, I interviewed Diane Carson, one of the fearless leaders of our Red Hens quilting bee. This is what I found out:

What color scheme to you like? Not pastel, no brights or primary colors; Blues; Batiks

What style of quilting do you like? Not modern – more traditional with a twist; Applique is good; Dimensional is good

What scale of prints are you drawn to? Medium prints rather than large;

What was your first quilt choice? Log cabin

I learned a lot by asking what had influenced her as a quilter. She said: Dixie Hayward influenced her and changed her tastes

 

As I plotted and schemed I realized that I could achieve these two objectives in one project – a 24″ mini quilt for Diane with a Feathered Star center made from (not bright) blue batiks with a simple border that would accentuate the points of the Feathered Star.

I used my trusty EQ7 to print out the 12″ block that I wanted. There are plenty of choices since the middle of the star leaves space for lots of different options.

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Marking the squares with D for dark, L for light, etc. helps me remember what fabric goes where.

Using batiks added to the challenge because my batik stash is not huge. So the design of the sashing and border was determined by the amount of fabric left after the center was stitched.

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Now it’s ready for the border – simple so it doesn’t distract but still needs to echo of the center block.

And here are some of the other design challenge entries….

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for the embellishment lover

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for Herbie who loves owls

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for the quilter who loves sunshine and gardening

 

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She requested blue and yellow

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For the one who loves old linens. 🙂

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And now I know I can do a feathered star!

 

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Sisters’ Challenge

Let’s be very clear about the title of this post.  I’m saying that my sister and I are doingCO Sister id tag

a challenge together.  I’m NOT saying that my sister is “challenging”.

I want to state that before I being to talk about the problems involved. So hear me,  my sister is offering to do this quilt challenge with me. I’m not forcing myself upon her.  We have established a few ground rules to guide us.  But before we got through the first round we had a misunderstanding.  (about the wording of the guidelines, not with words).

The design focus this year has been old linens and lace and we are only at the beginning stages but you can get a glimpse of a runner from old blocks here or a display scarf from vintage linens here.  We took it a step further and started a round robin exchange between the two of us using old linens and lace in our quilts.

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Center with pieced blocks

The rules: (that was the beginning of the “issues”-one of us likes rules and one doesn’t)

I’m not telling which sister made which “challenge” but here are the facts as they stand.

  1. Make a center 15 1/2″ unfinished — one ended up 20 1/2″
  2. Deadline was April 15th — one of us wanted to wait until May 2nd so we could open them together
  3. First round of borders would be 5 1/2″ unfinished — one ended up 5 1/2 inches “divided between two sides”
  4. One was designed with a verbal description– one changed her mind
  5. The borders would include the following in any order:

    Old linen

    Pieced block

    Old lace

    Embellishments

    Dimensional

    Applique

    — one now says that one of those is included in her center

  6. Each sister would design and complete a border and then exchange — one designed the entire quilt!
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    Center with old linen

    None of that is the challenge! 

 

The real challenge is that now I want HER quilt instead of mine!  How do I break the news to her that I might not give hers back?  She really stepped out of her box and designed her own center with MY favorite color scheme.

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Red and brown floral

Don’t you LOVE this combination?!  It will really shows off the old lace doilies and trims.  I’m more excited about working on hers than on mine.  Well, I need to go tell her that I’m facing a moral challenge of trying not to covet but have excused myself with just whining a little to you all.

A word to the wise…be careful when you accept a challenge it may be more challenging that you think!

 

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Candles, Cake & Catch Up

 

CO Sister id tagIt all started about a month ago, and no one should party for that long!  I somehow manage to have an anniversary, a birthday and Mother’s Day within a few short days of each other.  This year is a big one for the birthday part so we decided to celebrate for a looooong time.   It all started with a drive to the snow-capped mountains for coffee with hubby and dinner out.

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Coffee in the snow of Estes

A few days later, Sister arrived to visit our dad.  (That’s what we tell him.)  He’s our 93 year old Marine of our own. So proud of him and his years as a pastor of rural churches.  He shared Mother’s Day lunch with us and the family as mom has been gone a while.  That day we shared a birthday cake for my granddaughter. You could say I lost my New Year’s resolution this week!

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Once a Marine, always a Marine

From there Sister and I went shopping.  Don’t know why “they” feel like we need a chaperon/driver now.  Was the birthday really THAT big of a deal?!  But even after all these years, I learned something from my big sister.  How to fold your tank tops for the drawer so you can still see them.  You really can teach an old dog a new trick.

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Tri-fold hot dog way; quarter-fold hamburger way

Then the gifts and cards started arriving.  If you knew how far out we lived, you would never expect to see a floral delivery truck out here.  But there they were waiting for me when we got home.  Thank you, dear daughter.

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Twelve different kinds of blooms!

Sister unloaded her suitcase and found these wonderful pillows for the guestroom. Gifts galore!  The quilt is my guestbook and she signs it each time she comes.

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The REAL 30’s fabrics

Once we got our beauty rest, it was off to high tea with all the girls.  Some drove and some flew in but we got a few short hours together.  So blessed to be with these fine young women and call them family. Thanks, girls.

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Can you pick out the sisters?

My dear mother-in-law and a family friend from childhood also joined our table and we were a merry party dining on cucumber sandwiches and scones! (I go straight for the Devon-shire crème and lemon curd.)

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Life-long friends in both

We hurried home so sister and I could do a little bit of sewing on the next project we had hatched.  Since we are working on the Linens and Old Lace patterns we set ourselves a challenge of our own.

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Sister’s center; open spots for more lace

Start with a vintage linen (of course) and then pass it to sister for the next round.  Add a border and send back to owner for the next round.  Somehow, we switched our usual color pallets and have finished the first exchange.

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Which one? Both?

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Background chosen

I’m auditioning some blocks & fabrics for the next round. We have decided to leave our options open and there are only suggestions of what to use but not when to use it.  Some borders will be pieced, some applique, some dimensional and of course, some with old lace.  So as you follow our progress, see if you can tell who has used which border and what is to come.

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Fabric options

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Next row?

So after all the cake and candles, it is now time to catch up:  bills, housework, laundry, sleep and deadlines.  Thanks everyone for the celebrating and for the memories made in my life quilt.

 

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