burned out

I have not been doing much in the way of quilting lately. You may have noticed my lack of posts recently.  The thing is every time I look up at my quilting space I DREAD going in there and working.  Why?  I am not sure.  It could be because of any number of reasons, but the good news is I think the big black rain cloud that has been hovering over my creative mojo has finally lifted.

Daily, I peruse the quilting blogs and websites looking for inspiration to strike.  Until this week I would just sigh and think "It just really looks like a lot of work."  And it is but it used to be fun!  I started noticing that many other blogger have also been slow to post or like me not posting at all.  Then I started seeing a post here and there about quilting burnout.  And then it struck me....That sounds just like me!

I am not sure why giving it a name helps but it has.  I guess misery really does love company.  Knowing that this happens to other professionals, that I am not alone is well, comforting.  In any job or hobby burnout happens.  Sometimes it results in big changes and sometimes just little changes.

Here are some ideas I ran across that helped me

1. Take a break:  I think it is just our brains way of taking a vacation.  Just like the rest of our bodies our brains need to rest. This is not always the most practical of choices, especially if you are providing for a family.  Just walking away sometimes helps. I didn't fight the dread, I simple just stopped quilting.

2. Learn something new:  Whether it is related to your area of burnout or not leaning something new stimulates your brains creativity and problem solving techniques.  In my case I started a class at Craftsy.com.  Machine Quilting Negative Space by Angelia Walters.  Introducing new ideas on quilting motifs has really blossomed my creativity.  Now I want to make a quilt to use all of these new ideas traveling around in my head.

3.  Cleaning up, putting away and giving away.  Clutter is one thing I cannot stand,  yet it haunts me, follows me from room to room.  Being a creative person it is unavoidable.  Sometimes there are so many ideas floating around in my head I cannot move fast enough from one project to the next.  When that happens the piles start appearing.  Going through the piles, boxes, totes and cleaning out helps you see what you've forgotten you have.  I have some really great UFO's (like the Christmas Tree Skirt)  which need to be trashed or ripped apart.  It is very therapeutic especially the ripping apart.

4. Create something for you.  It doesn't have to be quilted.  It could be anything.  Even just getting out and planting flowers helps.  Okay maybe a little cold for that, how about transplanting house plants instead? LOL.

5.  Get together with friends.  Nothing cheers me up more than a good cup of coffee and a chat with a friend.  Talk it out, get their advice or just forget about it!  Take some "Me" time and enjoy it!

Be patient and kind to yourself.  Beating yourself up DOES NOT help, believe me I already tried.

Good Luck!


Triangles, Trapezoids and Trepidation

This past week I have been revisiting a project I started last year at this time.  My Christmas Tree Skirt. I know I took pictures of my ideas and I thought I wrote a post about it but I cannot find it anywhere. Not a picture or a post!  Weird?

Regardless this has been my new work in progress.  I got this idea from a quilt pattern I saw in McCall's Quilting.  It was several years ago, the pattern was called Merry-go-round.  The quilter used 2.5 inch strips sewn together to cut out her triangle pieces.  When I saw the pattern I thought that the triangles would make beautiful Christmas trees.  Since I had been looking for an idea for a Christmas tree skirt I thought this the perfect opportunity to play.

Armed with piles and piles of green triangles I had cut out a year (or more) ago I started sorting.  My plan, as much as it was, was to make this a scrappy quilt project.  As I laid out options I decided it needed to be somewhat cohesive, yet scrappy.  Sewing together like triangles I ended up with a stack of   trapezoids.

Now what?

Now we play....
Not enough here for the size I need

Going for modern here. and Failing?

Still working on a modern setting.

Hmm. More traditional perhaps?

Sort of looks like a green snowflake?

I am sure this will resemble a tree skirt eventually, right?


Girls With Long-arms

No, no, no!  Not L- O- N- G-arms.  But Long-arms, as in the machine.  Several weeks ago I was at a party to celebrate the new year.  John and I were new to this crowd.  Everywhere we turned we were introduced to new people, which can be fun but for someone like me with no memory for names it can become stressful.  The hostess of the party introduced us to her neighbor.  I don't recall what her exact words were but I believe they were something to the effect of, "This is Teresa. She has really this really big sewing machine.  It takes up her entire room.  She has her own business sewing quilts."

I knew in an instant she was a long arm quilter.  How weird? and Fun?  at the same time.  It is rare to meet someone who knows what a long-arm machine is let alone meet someone who actually knows how to run one.  Throughout our conversation Teresa and I discussed quilting, our machines and our businesses.  We both were constantly struck by the fact that we had never run across one another in our dealings with quilts!  Crazy.

While at the party Teresa invited me to her Long-arm group meeting.  I decided to take her up on it.  It is not an official 'guild' but the bones of the meeting were about what I have experienced in past guild meetings.  I received many, many new dates for shop-hops, quilt retreats and classes happening around South Carolina.  I hope I actually get to attend a few!  There was show and tell with some really beautiful quilt work.  I took along my color wheel quilt to share.

(this was so difficult for me but it went really well.  Well, at least no one said, "you really suck at this.") The women have a speaker each meeting, this months was a sewing machine repairman who really knew his stuff.  He was a wealth of knowledge.

The group also issues a challenge to it's members to help them grow and 'challenge' themselves in their quilting.

This is the challenge quilt design.  The actual fabrics can be individual.  The idea is to challenge yourself to fill in the free space with quilting.  I think I am going to have to give this some serious thought. hmm.

Here is another take on the pattern.  I also received several new book titles that I am going to have to check out.  We broke for lunch about midway through and enjoyed our pot-luck lunch of soups and chili!  How delicious.  After lunch the ladies had what they call a "Throw down."  Brilliant idea!  You bring a quilt top that you are struggling to decide how to quilt and you.. throw it down.. onto the floor and everyone brainstorms ideas for the quilting.  I know! I said it was Brilliant!

I had a really fabulous time and met some very nice people.  I was so thankful that I stumbled upon Teresa and the girls with long-arms.



What wonderful weather we are having!  It has been in the high 70.  The breeze is warm and it is just cloudy enough to keep the hot sun at bay!  (Not to rub it in)  But it is Gorgeous!  The family took this weekend to explore some of the natural beauty around SC.  We gathered up the kiddo's,  forced them into the back seat of a small 4 door, and headed out.  We kept the drive short, for our sanity and found a very rustic trail in the Sumter National Forest.

Even though the weather was warm it was still very much winter in the forest.  We saw only a few squirrels and not much else.  Although that could be because of the 3 very loud children we had with us.

The trees were still barren, some still with withered brown leaves still hanging onto the branches.
There were a few signs of life such as lichen, mushrooms and moss.  That didn't stop us from having a wonderful hike.

With all of this wonderful color how can one not be inspired?!  You can't.  That is why I am entering my 9 color selections for Stitched in Color's and the Fat Quarter Shop's  Emerald Mosaic Contest.  These are my selections. If you would like to make your picks or just browse through the beautiful fabric selections of other's head over to Stitched in Color.


I love me some hedgehog.

A year ago, possibly longer, I started knitting up a Hedgehog for my nephew.  The knitting went well.  The felting, not so much.  The problem,  the fur.  The pattern called for Fun Fur from Lion Brand.  Since I was trying to use up the yarn I had in my stash I just used an eyelash yarn I had on hand.  Once felted, the yarn matted terribly.  It was quite possibly the ugliest hedgehog ever.  I put it in my, UFO pile and there it has stayed, until yesterday.

Yesterday, in a small effort to do some cleaning out I finally finished the Hedgehog.

And it makes the perfect doggie toy.  Not only does it smell like wool, yummy.  It also, so far, has been indestructible.  Add a dog safe squeakier and voila instant Doggie Toy.

And Ginger seems happy.  She love her some hedgehog.

*one of theses days I am going to have to make this with the correct yarn.  It is so Cute!*


Whew!  The last of the Holiday Decorations are finally put away.  The lights, the tree, the stockings and all of that accompanies Christmas is carefully tucked away.  Even the pine needles are vacuumed up of the floor, mostly.  I am not sure how they do it but a few of those seem to linger into February. :) The house always seems crowded with all of the Christmas things out but when they are all put away it appears a little less cheery around here.

Flipping though the Christmas photos I stumbled upon a kitchen towel and pot holder set I sewed up at the last minute.  I tend to get a bit worried as the holiday gets closer, so I wanted to have an extra gift whipped up just incase.  You'd be surprised how many times I have had to use them. They come in Handy!

I purchased the towels in a set of Three.  I only had enough fabric to make two christmas towels and pot holders in this print.  I used a tutorial I found online.  I love the internet! Just a quick search for Kitchen towel tutorials and WHAM!  100's of them at my disposal!

These towels have a holiday theme.  It is such a simple pattern, and there are simpler, and you have a great gift with a personal touch.  This is a project I am going to have to revisit!


A New Year

The family spent a week up north over the Holidays.  I am not sure why we end up going north in the winter but we do and boy is it COLD!  After living in the south for 7 years I am always surprised at how much colder it is!  I planned for cold weather, which was a good thing since we enjoyed a little snow while we were there.  The kids donned their ski pants, jackets, scarves and gloves to play what will probably be the only snow they will see this year.  The snow was beautiful.  It was even nicer to leave before the beautiful white snow turned icy and grey!

The nights here can still get chilly but the sun usually does a nice job warming up the days.  I wondered outside to enjoy the sunshine on New Year's Day, free from heavy coats, scarves and gloves.  Only a sweatshirt to keep the chill away.  I took time to enjoy the few animals that were out and about.  I drank my coffee and meandered around the yard taking in all of the signs that spring, yes SPRING!  is just around the corner.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered my Iris' are blooming!  WoW! 

All of the iris I have are gifts from another yard.  They were thinned out and replanted here.  The only problem,  they have never bloomed. Three years in the ground and nothing.  The green leaves peak out of the ground every year, teasing me.  Imagine my surprise when on New Years Day I should find one in full bloom!  Surprised as I was, I could not help thinking how appropriate it was.  A new year, a new bloom,  A flower opening to the sun.  Basking in the newness of the day, of the year and of endless possibilities.