Sunday, January 25, 2009

Quilt Retreats

11 years of quilt retreats with my sister, and two wonderful friends. Lots of great memories, many projects completed, different locations, variety of quilt shops visited; this is what describes our retreats. They are highlights of each year. Some years we have worked on the same projects, some years we have exchanged blocks or made row quilts for each other and some years we have just tried to complete some of the projects on our 'to do' lists. I've posted a few pictures from some of our retreats. Thanks Jean, Becky and Susan for being great quilt retreat partners.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learning to Knit

I'm learning something new -- I'm learning to knit! I love to learn new things. It adds fun and excitement to one's life to take on something new. So knitting is my latest challenge. I think I learned to knit as a very small child but have long ago forgotten. Now thanks to a young women, Andrea, (who I met through 4-H) I have learned to knit. So far it's just a couple squares that will be dishcloths. Hopefully someday I will go on to more difficult things. For now I am just enjoying the experience and my new creations.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Latest Project

My latest quilt is a pattern called Star Light Quilt. I received this pattern from a customer who had me quilt her Star Light Quilt top. I fell so in love with the design that she graciously sent me the pattern. Wanting a larger quilt than the pattern showed, I added more blocks and then finally some borders, so I'm ending up with a quilt that is considerably larger than what I usually make for our queen-sized bed. This should make my husband very happy since he ocassionally complains that the quilts need to be bigger. Now I began the long and tedious task of hand appliqueing all the vines, leaves, and flowers on the borders. This will probably take months of work (because I have so little spare time). But my goal is to finish the quilt sometime this summer and by fall have it on our bed. So stay tuned...

To make a list or not?

Frequently I'm faced with the decision about making lists. Do I make a list of my unfinished quilt projects was a recent dilemna? A list can be a good thing. It can reveal clearly the tasks ahead of me. I can see progress by having a list. The negatives though, at least for me, can be the discouragement that comes with feeling overwhelmed by the list. If I know that it may take years to complete what's on my list -- hmm, that may make me never want to even start. Well, I've always been a list maker so even though my list of unfinished sewing projects (mostly quilts) is really long and I didn't even include a few projects that I now have no desire to finish, I made a list. It contains 20 projects. Some might require only a day or two to complete, well might be years before they are completed. The good news -- I already have 3 done on my list!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cats and Quilting

Cats and quilting just seem to go together. We have two cats that live here permanently and one cat that is currently living here until we can find her a new home (she just wandered into our garage). It never fails though whenever I spread a quilt out on the floor, suddenly a cat appears and either must sit right in the middle of my work or attempt to crawl underneath it. I never object too much. I love my cats.

Managing a business and a household

Some may wonder how I manage everything. Having 6 children, 4 of which still live at home, takes a lot of efficient time management. There's lots of things to juggle: homework, meals, cleaning, church involvement, school involvement, spending time with husband and friends, etc. Then there's keeping up all the other things I care about: reading, gardening, sewing and quilting, caring for the pets (1 dog, 2 permanent cats and one cat that needs a home), daily or almost daily exercise. Not to mention keeping up with email, blogs, news online, my website, etc. Busy doesn't even come close to how some days feel.
So how do I manage? Well, sometimes not very well. Some things get put on the back burner for way too long. I have a list of unfinished quilt and sewing projects that were started years ago. My nightstand has a pile of books started but not finished. There's always something that needs to be cleaned, reorganized or filed away into some drawer or storage bin.
What has worked, though, for many years is scheduling as many things as possible. I have made a menu and the accompanying grocery list every other week for years. I try to designate certain days for different things. I quilt mostly on Mondays and Tuesdays trying not to leave the house and stay focused in my quilt studio. Wednesdays are Bible Study and after that it's either an errand or two and then house cleaning. It's also the day I try to write on either email or my blogs. Thursday is most often my day to shop and meet with friends for lunch. Fridays are my husband's day off so we often spend that day together. It's one of the days I look forward to most!
I try to be up very early every morning to read, study and get organized for the day ahead. The other thing that makes life much smoother is that my children do regular chores and have responsibilities for dinner clean up every evening. I also happen to have one of the greatest supportive husbands who tackles just about anything in the home as well as encouraging me in whatever my latest endeavor is. I have weeks where nothing seems manageable and other weeks where it all seems to run smoothly. I can honestly say most days, 'I love my life'!