Prioritizing FTW (For the Win)

I not only got the name of the contractor, I went to the quilt shop with my friend as well! This is the fabric I purchased, 1 yard each of 6 rainbow colors, 1/2 yard of a print that looks very Hungarian (Mom was Hungarian so my sister and I are 1/2 Hungarian), and an 1/8th yard of a cute purple that looks like it has black thistle plants on it. (One of my dad’s cousins married a very proud Scotsman, and they have been great so if I can make them a wall hanging I will). I will get into my crafting for the week after the **** but first an update on my prioritizing.

I called the mechanic recommended by a colleague and seconded by another colleague. They are going to do an oil change and look at my front bumper Tuesday morning. Yay! My friend that accompanied me to the quilt shop sent me the contact info for her contractor on Monday night, when I called him Tuesday he offered to come on Thursday to look into what I needed done. While talking with him on Thursday he kept saying, “Oh, that’ll take me a couple of hours and shouldn’t cost above 1k, no real reason to redo the entire bathroom I’ll see what’s going on underneath when I get there. Oh the flooring will cost X (less than the price that was quoted for finishing 1 room), we can get that done whenever. Your garage is under a $100 fix. The sliding glass door, I can get a door and get it installed and the house fixed up in a couple of hours. Your front porch, we’ll jack it up, figure out what is going on, and get it fixed.”

All of the fixes that I was planning on doling out over the course of the summer, because I thought the bathroom alone would be 5k, he is planning on having finished in 2 weeks, and for a lot less than I had planned. The flooring will take a little longer because I need to pull all of the staples out before he can put the flooring down. I think I have one room staple free but I’m working on my bedroom first because I would like that finished ASAP. So, he is fixing my toilet on Wednesday and maybe doing something else, this is my day off so I’ll be hanging around the house. Then on Friday I will let him in before I leave for work so he can take out the very drafty sliding glass door and install a working regular door. I am so excited because this, combined with a garage door, will allow me to actually use my backyard. This is all very exciting and a bit overwhelming. The overwhelm keeps going.

When I got home from work on Friday I had my garbage can on the sidewalk in front of my steps leading up to the house. To clarify, I did not put it there. Someone, likely a passive aggressive neighbor, did. Fine, the snow is likely done for a while, I’ll move my can back around the side of the house. This also prompted me to assemble my manual mower, just a huge cutting blade with a handle that rotates as you push it along, and mow my lawn. This is when I realized the damage the previous owners dogs left behind in the form of brown spots where no grass will grow. I bagged up the leaves left over from last year, realized I have a lovely flower bed in the back yard, and looked into disposing of the yard waste as well as how to repair my lawn. The city wants $3 per bag of yard waste and compost costs $7 a bag. With this in mind I looked into getting a rotating compost barrel, yes it cost me $80, however that is 8 bags of yard waste and compost. Considering how many plants I’m planning on growing this year the compost barrel will be paid off by the end of a season or two. Since I do not use most of my driveway, it is an old house and the driveway is at an angle to the garage, I am going to put the barrel near the garage. For repairing my lawn I discovered a Scotts brand product that claims it will repair and reseed my lawn. Last night, Saturday, after I was done with my day of shopping (more about that soon) I used a weed digger I purchased to aerate the brown spots. The product is supposed to be waiting for me at home so I hope to put that down tonight. Now, about shopping!

I’m going to go in reverse order since I went to the quilt shop first and I would like that to segue into the crafting portion of this post. So given that I’ll lead the shopping segment with: I found a living room chair! After going to three different furniture stores I finally found a chair that I don’t feel I have to heave myself out of and better yet it has both lumbar support and a separately adjustable headrest. I can recline, adjust my lumbar support for my lower back, and raise my head so that I can watch something on TV all at the same time! I didn’t even really know that is what I was looking for! Admittedly the gold/tan color is not my favorite but it might brighten up a bit against the background of my purple room, better than the dark chocolate color that was my other option. Before that I managed to find three dresses that I like and two shrugs that I can use (since I hate sleeveless I need something to cover my upper arms). This means that I have enough outfits that currently fit me to take me through until the winter when I can pull out my sweater dresses again. I plan on going to the laundromat on Wednesday so I can freshen my sheets, wash my quilt, and probably wash my wool dresses for storage. Before the dress and furniture shopping I hit a bookstore, I am a librarian (lol), and found a book I look forward to exploring titled: Sarah Payne’s Quilt School. This segues into the first part of the shopping on Saturday, the Quilt Shop!

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A friend of mine is moving, she wanted to make sure I could find the local quilt shop before she moved. We had a lovely trip and I purchased too much fabric. In the picture at the top of the post you can see a rainbow of 6 colors of fabric, I purchased a yard each. I’m not too sure what I am going to do with this fabric, however I could not resist them. The 6 yards cost me what 4 would have from other retailers, so when there was a full rainbow I had to try. I’m going to look in the Sarah Payne book I purchased from a bookstore later in the day to see if there is a pattern that would look good in these colors.

I did not get much crafting done however I did realize that if the only thing stopping me from knitting up the hat is that I hate doing the ribbing then 3″ of ribbing is going to have to be enough so I can move onto the next part. Speaking of moving on, I did make some progress on the tapestery I have been weaving since last July (I had to look at when I bought the loom since I had it in my mind I had been working on this for a couple of years).

As you can see the edges are not very even and there is a wide mish-mash of different types of weaving in there. This is my sampler piece and I could not love it any more! It is amazingly colorful and has a lot of movement to it.

Okay, that is about it for me this week, so much exciting news!

Remember to take time for yourself and Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Realizing That Prioritizing is a THING

This is more of a realization post than a crafting one, other than finishing sewing a lunch bag, I have not made any progress on any of my crafts in the past week. Stay tuned for (hopefully) crafting content next week.

I want to do everything, I even have the skill to do most of it. What I really lack right now is time and motivation. Fortunately I know how to deal with both of these obstacles as soon as I get motivated to do that, lol. This week I need to call for an oil change in my car, and see if they can get the front plastic bumper to stop dragging on the ground when I turn corners, you can hear me from a mile away. This is with a new mechanic since I have moved, which is why I keep hesitating but I cannot justify an hour drive to go to a mechanic I trust…believe me I have tried justifying that but it doesn’t fly with gas prices the way they are. That is my easily solvable problem.

I was informed about an initiative that will help fund my new roof, when trying to contact someone about that I was informed it will be about July until they get applications created. I’m likely going to need someone to put some emergency shingles on my roof until then, I’ll fill out an application for the grant then minute I can because I would like a permanent solution rather than temporary. There is also an initiative about heating and cooling that I might have to go for even though the smart thing would be to wait a year or two since my furnace works alright however I am not sure the initiative will be valid by then and I would rather not risk an emergency heating and cooling problem. The main effort that I need to accomplish is getting the floor in my upstairs bathroom leveled and a new toilet installed, there was some mention of renovating the entire bathroom but I’m not sure how much more that would cost then fixing the toilet and installing shower doors. Tomorrow I am going to a quilt guild meeting and hope to get the name of a contractor I can contact then, if not I’ll have to go to the local home improvement store (that is not a chain) to find someone to do the work…not a chain because the chain does not do the work I need…I checked.

Once the floor is level and I have a working bathroom on the second floor I can begin to move myself up there and actually, well, live in my house rather than just the living room. Of course I also need to still pull the padding out of the third floor and pull up the tack strips from where the carpet was. When I was leaving my family home I jam packed a storage unit with everything I thought I wanted to keep, I was also (I thought at the time) pretty ruthless in what I wanted to keep. It turns out that I was probably pretty liberal in what I wanted to keep, yet I hesitate in getting rid of anything else until I feel settled in the house…but I am not sure I’m going to feel settled when an entire room is basically jam packed with storage totes. At present I am torn between taking them up to the third floor once I have that cleared out or trying to use the third floor as a quilting room. Since I am planning on trying hand quilting the first and third floors are the only two with enough room to consider putting a quilting frame. I’m still hand washing my clothes, though I did invest in a rack to try drying my clothes outside. To do that I need to get my back door fixed up so I can actually use it…..some days I love that I get to organize my house just the way I want it and others I feel like I made a huge mistake in purchasing something that needs so many little (and big) fixes. Only time will tell how I feel about the house in the long run, I believe that once I have these major events completed (the bathroom, the roof, back exit, and heating/cooling) I will feel more inclined to like the house.

Time, that is another constraint. I work 6 days a week, I know of people that work 7 without any real break, but at present I do not have to do that. In two weeks the semester will end on my side hustle, and I will ask my supervisor if she wants me to stay on the books until the new semester or put my resignation in at the end of this semester. I know she wants me to stay as an emergency contact, however it would take 5 hours of work to pay for the gas and an entire day off is worth more than a tank of gas and $30. While it feels selfish to have that attitude I am beginning to understand my self-worth as a person and as a librarian. An entire day off, 10 hours because the job is an hour away from where I live, is worth more than the gas it takes to get there and $30. By reclaiming this day I will be able to take a day to rest and a day to get things accomplished, or feel like I have more time to socialize and spend time on weekend jaunts around the city.

Three other priorities that I am working my way through are: Diet, Exercise, and wardrobe. Between November of 2020 and September of 2021 I lost 70 pounds. Since October of 2021 I have gained back 40. This means that the summer wardrobe I purchased last year does not fit me any longer, as well as meaning that I am better off trying to stick to my Nutri-System diet than do it on my own. As with everything that is easier said than done. I did join a gym, however I am being rather precious about when I go. If it is snowing and I will need to go to work afterwards, I’m not going to sweat at the gym, go out in the snow still sweaty, and shower for work. The last segment is wardrobe.

This is the hardest for me. I want to have a sustainable capsule wardrobe that fits me. Since my size is currently fluctuating, I cannot justify spending over $100 for a single piece that I am not sure will flatter me. This means that, in the immediate future, I am still contributing to Fast Fashion though I am still trying to ensure that my footprint is as light as I can afford to make it. I have purchased a skirt pattern with the intention of learning to sew my own wardrobe using eco-friendly fabrics…which cost about $20 a yard…and the pattern takes 6 yards…so we are back to $120 for a single piece that I am not sure will flatter me…wait I spend $11 on the pattern….so $131. This means that for now, until I have a better handle on my style and a steady figure, I am going to have to stick with second-hand and clearance options purchased in moderation. For the entire winter I cycled through my three wool dresses, tights, and two dresses that were heavy enough to wear with wool tights. This means that I essentially wore a uniform, which kept me from having to make any drastic decisions about wardrobe. With a limited number of pieces I will be able to do the same throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. As soon as it looks like snow is no longer on the horizon I plan on running my wool dresses through the laundromat and packing them away in a vacuum sealed bag until Autumn.

I woke up this morning, at 11 pm, 2 am, and 5 am. I thought that my body was trying to reset my sleep schedule, however I now realize that I am using one or two days off strange sleep patterns to mess up my own sleep schedule. I plan on going to bed at 10pm and setting my alarm for 4:30am. This gives me time to do anything I need to do in the mornings before work. If the weather looks like it will hold out then I will try to go to the gym in the morning, if not the gym then I will try to go onto the third floor to pull up some of the carpet padding. This is where I have to figure out my priorities.

There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Right now I work 6 of them, in 2 weeks I will only work 5. At present my priorities are: Work, Me, Friends and Family, then House. I am going to spend the rest of spring and the summer figuring out what these priorities mean to me. Feeding my own soul involves spending time with my friends and family. I have made arrangements to spend a weekend at a family reunion, and there are 2 fiber festivals I plan to go to with a friend this autumn. I have invited another friend to come to Erie so we can visit a quilt shop next Saturday, if she says at the meeting she cannot make it then I will contact two of my other friends to see if they can make it. If no one else can come, I will still go to Erie, the quilt shop, and possibly some furniture stores. For myself, because it is alright to do something like that for myself. That is the lesson I need to get through, also that this diet is actually a good thing. That one is getting harder, I need to spend some time focusing on that concept.

That is the end of my self-reflection…hopefully for quite some time. These thoughts are exhausting, figuring out why I am doing what I am doing takes a lot out of me. Having an understanding to my motivations and a written list of what needs to get done and in what order is invaluable. Sharing it makes it more concrete to my mind. Hopefully by next week I can let some of the mundane go and get back to living my life in a way that is A Little More Abstract. (Thereby getting my creative mojo back!)

2 AM Brain

Starting off, I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter, Happy Passover, or a lovely weekend. I took a 3 day weekend and went through all the stages. I signed my taxes and went out to eat one day. Bleached my kitchen cupboards the second day. Went shopping for spring clothes and got caught in a snowstorm yesterday. This morning at 2am my brain decided that I had forgotten a notice about jury duty, that I could not find so I emailed the county I moved from to check I don’t have a warrant out for skipping jury duty. (The house closed though it took an entire week for the money to get to me).

What do you do when you wake up at 2am and your brain will it let you sleep? Well you hide threads on your sewing projects so that you’re ready for the next stages. I started making a lunch box and needed to hide the threads before I can put the zipper in, so I hid threads until my hand cramped.

I hope to get more done this week, until then remember to live life a little more abstract!

Walk-Throughs and Speed Bumps

**** Will denote the crafty updates, house content until then. Today the person buying the house I grew up in will be doing their final walk through. The sale should be finalized tomorrow, with the disbursements happening from there. I hope that this means I can finally get myself settled on a budget that I can stick to. Of course, it is Holy Week (if you’re Catholic…which I am but lapsed), so things are going to be a little strange anyway. Even though it is a religious holiday the secular world seems to come to a bit of a slow down anyway. I did look into the roof grant, only to be told that they were working on finalizing the application and they would have the forms ready in about 90 days…well I’ve needed something done since October so waiting until June/July to fill out an application that could cover 3/4 the cost of it…doesn’t seem like a bad idea at this point in time. When I get someone in to look at the bathroom I imagine I can ask them about the roof as well.

I did start back onto Nutrisystem, only for my monthly concerns to rear their head setting my plans back for a few days. After tomorrow I should be able to go back to my original plan. I am debating if I want to spend my 3 day weekend next week hiding or if I want to go to the buffet next Sunday since I believe they will have lamb, I Love lamb, and don’t want to buy/cook/clean up after cooking lamb this week. Either way I hope to spend at least part of next weekend planting my seedlings in the pots I will use to put them outside in. Yay! I was going to pot the plants this weekend but did not, and I don’t feel bad about that. I need to rest for a couple of days, maybe finish some projects so I’m ready to start some new ones when I am back on an upswing. I have not been to the gym this week, Friday the weather was miserable and I was starting to feel poorly, then Saturday I started to figure out why I was feeling poorly, then today I had work and there was snow on the car so…no. I know it is weird, however I do not plan on going to the gym on days where there is snow, at least not when I am on a tighter schedule. If the weather is warmer and the gym is open at least 3 hours before I have to be at work that will work, 2 hours for the gym (getting there, working out, getting back) and 1 hour to clean up for work, then I will go to the gym. If not, then my iron and cutting board are upstairs, my sewing machine is downstairs, If I feel really good I’ll go up and down my stairs for 10 minutes at a time, that got me sweating the last time I tried that.

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I took Friday and Saturday off, though I am working my other job today. I had made a ‘play date’ with a friend and former colleague to try out a solar dyeing technique, unfortunately the weather did not hold out, however we had a fun time anyway. She had some fabric she did not want to keep and offered it to me, one was a set of 5″ squares pre-sewn together into 4 patches. She told me that it might be good for a disappearing 4 patch, however I know I cannot machine sew the corners properly, no matter how much I try, so I believe I am going to edge the squares using a solid color and either make it into a baby quilt that I can practice my hand quilting on or as a pillow or something similar. She was also kind enough to gift me with a mat for my sewing machine to sit on with pockets in the front and her husband gifted me with a carved bunny that I will treasure. She has this upcoming week off and would like to show me to a quilt shop less than an hour away and I suggested next Saturday since I know I have that day off, not thinking that it was the day before Easter. Oops, I hope it happens but I understand if it does not.

This means that Saturday was a ton of fun, however I tend to drive myself mad sometimes. In preparation for Saturday (and to just get it done) I worked on getting my third quilt attempt finished. I like how it turned out, learned a lot of lessons, and think I am going to give hand quilting a try next.

Wrestling a quilt that fits the top of a queen sized bed through a domestic sewing machine that sits on one of those small square tables you can get from certain craft stores is NOT how I recommend quilting. It did the job, I have a quilted quilt with the binding sewn on the edges. I did a ‘wavy lines’ quilting pattern, which means I tried to do wavy lines and I’m just going with, “Sure, I wanted it to look like that” as my answer when I am questioned about the weird peaks, dips, and straight edges in my wavy lines. The quilting is about 5″ apart, the batting says that the quilting can be up to 8″ apart so I should be alright there. The binding is just the backing folded over like you would do for pot holders.

Yesterday, Saturday, was a Weaver’s guild meeting half-way between where I used to live and where I live now. I love the guild, and it was ironic that the meeting was held at their public library (where I had interviewed for a job 2 years ago). The meeting was lovely, I had a chance to pull out my spinning wheel and show some individuals how to spin. I also reminded myself how much I enjoy the quiet of spinning. I am presently thinking that I will spin on my front porch while watching the world go by. Of course in order to do this I need to get 2 things accomplished. I need to get the porch level again, it looks as though one board likes to swell in the rain which causes it to buckle the porch, and purchase a chair for my front porch. I have been looking online thinking that I would order one, however if I plan on using it for a spinning chair I really should get a good idea of how it feels before actually spinning in it for any extended length of time. I am hoping that this is a once every 30 years purchase. While in town I discovered that they have a quilt shop which I was thrilled to find out…until I looked at their selection. I know that I have particular tastes, and that I do not want to purchase fabric until I KNOW I like it and will use it. This means that I bought a small, simple, pattern and a bag of essentially colorful scraps and asked the owner to keep the change since that was the only way I could spend five dollars in the shop. I feel bad, but I am not buying fabric I cannot see a good use for. I do have plans to use the pattern as a sort of border for one of the panels I hope to create a quilt from next. I also have 3 jelly rolls, not to mention most of a black jelly roll, to still use. Well, I did not know until I was typing that up that I had really decided on the quilt panel next, however that makes sense. I am still working on my EPP Project.

I have started to figure out how I want to place the glued pieces for my first EPP quilt, I have 10 out of 25 pairs sewn for the second part and these bundles put together for the first part that I hope to start sewing soon. I am trying to get some long languishing projects worked on so that I feel a little more freedom to work on this huge project. I am about a dozen rows away from finishing the pillow that started with a new colorwork class that had me knitting what were almost quilt block pieces. I love how this looks and cannot wait to see it finished. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to finish it since at present I am planning on knitting some extra rows of the back to create a flap that tucks inside the pillow. I thought about just seaming the pillow blank inside however if I ever need to wash it that would cause too many problems.

Next I hope to start getting projects ready for progress. I need to find a charm pack that will go with the panel I hope to work on so I can get that border started. My 16 shaft loom needs to be warped with the towel warp I wound so I can start weaving that up. I need to straighten out my Saori Loom’s warp so I can get back to using up some of that yarn. There is the possibility that we will be playing with weaving looms next month at the guild meeting so I should have my looms ready to be warped and played with, not to mention possibly finding the alpaca tweed yarn I bought to weave a blanket from. Possibly that got lost during the moth-ening though I hope not. Oh, on a not so fun note, I just realized with spring possibly on the way I should consider putting together the push mower I purchased so that when my lawn dries enough I can mow. yay.

I am honestly excited by all of the changes coming, to myself, my house, and my crafting. I have been finding by leaning into what I am feeling and what my body is trying to tell me I can get more done. Some of this is certainly down to having 1 full-time job, no person needing me to take care of them, as well as having the second house off of my shoulders. However I do believe by resting when I need to, finishing things when I have the urge, and starting (some) things when I also have the urge I am completing more than I ever have in the past. Normally I would have become overwhelmed by the quilt and stopped, instead I leaned into wanting to finish it, took it step by step and leaned into binding when I felt like it instead of waffling.

That is me for the week, it has been busy. I’m going to take the next couple of days to lean into recharging and see where the world takes me from there. I am uncertain if I will post next week, it will depend on how much I get done and how I am feeling. Until next time, Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

434 Out of 471 Glued Down

Catch up about life and the house(s) before crafting. Crafting content starts at ****. According to our real estate agent the closing date for the sale of the house should be within the next 2 weeks. This is a little sooner than anticipated, however that will likely work out in our favor in the end. When we get the final closing date I will call the oil company so that we can be reimbursed by the new owner for the oil left in the tank (they will essentially buy the oil off of us) and we can notify the insurance company as well as the electric company. Yay. I’m feeling relieved about this, not as sad as I expected (it really was too much house for me and mom had gotten into some minor hoarding tenancies which made it more difficult to keep up with than it already was.) My supervisor, that was supposed to pick up the loom, is on medical leave….I don’t have any details and feel that if she wanted me to know she would have told me so I’m not asking for any details….so her Father picked up the loom yesterday. He also worked for the city works administration where I now live and had plenty of advice about my getting a new roof and fixing up my bathroom. About the roof, apparently where I live doesn’t qualify for financial help getting a solar paneled roof, however they do offer financial help in installing a new roof. So I will look into that on Monday and make inquiries. He also advised that since the floor is going to have to be semi-leveled to fix the problem with the toilet I should think about just getting the bathroom completely redone. He pointed out that if the toilet had been leaking then it might have caused structural damage anyway, and if I’m going to possibly pull everything out I might as well budget for it and get it done the way I want it to be in the first place. It’s a little strange, however I think it also makes complete sense.

For some reason the shower in that bathroom doesn’t have any doors or rod for a shower curtain, I’ve been making due with a tension rod but that sort of sucks as well. When I try to hang up some things to dry, if it is more than some hand towels or underthings the weight tends to bring the rod down…which is not fun in the middle of the night. Getting the bathroom done the way it needs to be and the roof on the house should be enough for this year. I would like to get a heating/air conditioning unit installed since I don’t do well in the heat, however that will likely have to wait for another year. Part of why I have never done too well in the heat is simply being overweight. Since stopping nutrisystem I have been finding myself falling back on old bad habits. To counteract this I have decided to resume Nutrisystem, and to stop delaying any further I reinstated myself today. This combined with going to the gym, yes I only managed once last week however that was more than I had been doing before and I have plans for this upcoming week, should lead to results I enjoy. I will not be purchasing a scale, instead I will be looking into how my clothing fits at a given time.

Of course, if these two fixes to the house do not cost a huge amount I can look into other fixes for this upcoming year. If they do, then I will choose one fix each year until the place is the way it needs to be. Alright, I’m back. Thinking about a new bathroom promptly sent me on a spiral to look at Victorian Bathroom Fixtures and two hours later I have emerged from that rabbit hole with several ideas. I will have to work with the individuals doing the renovations to ensure that I do not have too many conflicting points of interest, especially since I would like to minimize the white in the room. Enough of this for now, decisions will be made when the time comes, and I have a chance to speak with a couple of contractors my friends and colleagues have recommended.

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As in the title I have 434 out of 471 pieces of Tula Pink’s Tula Nova English Paper Piecing quilt glue basted. I did start sewing together the second set of pieces where the initial step is to attach two pentagons together along one side. The first step is to actually attach 5 triangles around a pentagon then attach diamonds in between each of the triangles to completely encase the pentagon. I have not taken the first step since I am still gluing down diamonds and have not made a design choice about these pentagons yet. As I will be making 11 of these they are the focal points of the quilt and need quite a bit of attention, I believe. After that I make some stars which will be modified to create the next portion of the quilt. I’m thinking of laying several pieces down to try and form a semi-cohesive view of the finished product before I do any intense stitching.

Oh, you didn’t think I was only doing one project did you? As stated before I tend to go in fits and spurts as well as leaning into my need to have more than one project on the go at a time. I have made progress on the sampler quilt top I am playing with, when laying it on the bed it goes across the bed rather well despite being only about 60″ wide however the length leaves a lot to be desired. I have another strip ready to add on to the initial portion so that I can decide where to go from there. I thought about adding more onto this smaller strip and then adding that onto the larger quilt, however upon reflection (which is why I didn’t add it on right away) I believe I would be better off seeing how this strip adds to the pattern before making any drastic design decisions. While I do have some blocks that I could add on, and at looking at what I have now I think it might be neat to add on some 10″ squares outlined and baste in my EPP flowers as centerpieces…hmmm. What if I add strips of 10″ squares to the length of the top and bottom of the quilt, balancing them out. This might complete the project if the strip I am going to add on tonight or tomorrow means that I only need about 20 more inches added onto the length of the quilt. I don’t think that is going to be the case, so I might be cutting some more strips to add onto the top and bottom to flesh things out so to speak. Adding in EPP Motifs as I play around with them on top of the 10″ square border pieces would certainly add visual interest. It might take me a little longer….unless I give my current project a sewing pause as I make some more EPP flowers…it would give me a chance to play with some of the ideas I have going on regarding patterning in my second Tula Nova Quilt…

Oh, I did mention that I was making a second Tula Nova Quilt despite each quilt being positively huge right? I’m sure I did. Anyway, the Wolfsbane print from Spoonflower arrived as well as a yard of rainbow stripe fabric I ordered from amazon. I have cut the pieces that will act as the star centers out of the wolfsbane fabric so that each wolf is howling, it took some time to fussy cut each one out, however I LOVE the effect. I was thinking about fussy cutting some diamonds out of the same fabric, however I do not want to risk overusing one print in a potentially dynamic quilt. To that end I am going to do some experimenting with how the wolfsbane fabric looks as hexi flowers since I have about a 1/2 yard left, and I will play around with the stripes as well.

Once I have the new quilt top finished I intend to use the cotton batting as well as one of the 108″ backing fabrics to create my quilt sandwich. Then I plan on doing some form of free-motion quilting, trim the batting down and folding the edges of the backing to act as my binding. It is a little unconventional, however I haven’t followed a pattern for this quilt yet, why start now?

So, selling houses, potential bathroom renovations, new roofs, English paper piecing, diets, exercise, quilt tops, did I forget anything? Actually I did! My cousin’s daughters are very into Fairies right now, and I am into playing with resin. As with any of my projects I wanted to ensure that I was making something that would get some use, so I decided to figure out which colors the little girls would like. One likes rainbows and the other purple (girl after my own heart). So I made up two resin fairy pieces, and it took several weeks since I attempted to mix two different brands of resin to create the second (I was out of one type and added in a second). It turns out that doesn’t work…at all. No matter how much you try to cure it stays tacky. There is a vague possibility this was due to the humidity over a 3 day period that I tried to get the dang thing to cure…but I have Natural Gas heating and I believe the house gets quite dry. I finally got these pieces in the mail yesterday, YAY! I also told my supervisor to purchase Roxy Epoxy if she wants me to do this craft with the teens, so I had a bottle of that waiting for me. I have found that the three brands I tried, one from Michaels and 2 from Amazon, worked just fine if they were cured on their own and not too much coloring was added in. When I did try Mica Powder (which I will not be using with the teens) the result wanted to take a very long time to cure, which I did not find out until I stuck my finger in it.

It is my fondest hope that the girls like their little fairy friends.

Until next time Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Scattershot

This pretty much describes where I am right now, scattershot. Crafting content will commence after this paragraph of catching up, if you want to skip ahead look for the ****. For the life of me I cannot believe that April is next week! The closing of the house is, hopefully, going to be in about 3 weeks. That will be a huge load off of my mind, and begin to give me the resources I need to make some changes to my new home. I did get the carpet taken out and the pink desk moved into the corner. I am still working on making the space as usable as I can. My energetic period took an abrupt downswing over the past couple of days, however that might be due to weird weather patterns and the re-emergence of my allergies. I had a stroke of productivity earlier this week and also joined my local gym. I started off strong and went twice this past week, it should have been 3 times however I wanted to go at 5 am to get back to my house by 7am and get ready for work, but the gym opened on the weekends at 6am and I thought 8am was cutting it too close. I plan on going tomorrow, Monday, at 5am and getting in the shower at home by 7am to be at work by 8:45. While that is also cutting it close I open M-W this week and do not want to have an entire week between gym visits, it will make the entire endeavor an unpredictable failure. My decision to go to the gym is prompted by a trifecta of circumstances; I plan on going back to Nutrisystem when I get the settlement from the house (and therefor don’t have the extra bills associated with the old house to contend with) and hope to do so more reasonably since the initial was essentially a starvation diet with no exercise component added in, I need to get stronger for my personal health/well being/self esteem; My sister and I hope to go on a special trip in the next couple of years and the theme park we hope to visit recommends that you are able to walk for 7-10 miles (which I cannot do right now without serious regret).

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On to the crafting content. There honestly is not a lot for me to report this week. I am still plugging away with gluing down pieces for my first EPP Project. I love how the colors are coming together, though I do plan on doing a little more organization for my second project. I obtained a case to keep all of my pieces in, since without it I was concerned I would drop everything everywhere and lose something.

As I finish pasting down one type of block I then color them in on the chart obtained from the Tula Pink kit, this is a photocopy for my personal use since I hope to make more than one of this quilt. There are some of the tiny triangle that have not been colored in, this is deliberate. As you can see on the far right hand side of the photo there are some triangles out of a white fabric with colored books on it, that will go in the ‘uncolored’ sections.

I had so much fun at the brown paper bag book binding class, the results were amazing. The embroidery class was also a ton of fun, I even managed a french knot. Then just to make sure it was not a fluke I recreated the knot at home on my own! Of course I do not have any photos of my embroidery, but I do have a picture of the finished bound book.

I believe that is all the news worth posting about this week, as things progress I will keep you updated. I hope to finish pasting down the pieces for my EPP quilt this week, there are 471 pieces to this quilt and I have 246 completely glued down with another 30/50 of one shape completed. That will bring me up to 296/471. It will be interesting to see how far I get and whether I get impatient enough to begin stitching some parts together before I have everything glued *spoiler* I’m probably going to get impatient. Until next time remember to live life A Little More Abstract.

Why Not Go All in?

So when I start something I tend to go all in. Case in point, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. Learning one type of quilting at a time wasn’t enough for me apparently.

Lesson 1. 1.5” hexagons measure 2.5” across and 1.5” on each side. this means that getting a jelly roll so you have 10 coordinating fabrics of 40+ inches each….does not work. Oh well.

Lesson 2. Why plan one extremely complicated pattern for your second try at English Paper Piecing when you can go for 2?

To clarify these lessons, I am having an absolute blast with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have finished 2 flowers and have most of the pieces cut out for Tula Pink’s Nova Quilt Pattern. I purchased the pattern and papers as a kit from Amazon along with the Acrylic templates to cut the fabric out. I think I could have done fine with cutting the fabric, though not very fast, without the templates however I plan on doing some fussy cutting for the second quilt and the templates will be invaluable then.

The pattern, there are a lot of small squares to this
The paper templates are amazing, however it is going to take me forever to get the fabric pasted on

It has taken me several hours to get most of the pieces cut out for my trial version of the quilt. I love the colors and I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Right now I am working on pasting the 170 tiny paper triangles onto the tiny fabric triangles and tacking them down with the fabric glue. I use Wonder Clips to hold the three points down to ensure a good seal, then stack about 10 in the clip for about 15-30 minutes. Then I make sure each triangle will separate, since I like using a good amount of glue, and stack them in the box. About 3 hours in and I have about 100 of the 170 ready to go. Of course this is just the first of 7 shapes, it is also the most abundant. After this the numbers drastically reduce per shape, the largest has only pieces 11 to it.

I do have this quilt finally completed, there is a flower on the back and writing on the front to hide where I messed up the binding, however I love how it looks. It is really just a lap sized sort of thing, however I adore it. I have also made some progress on following patterns and made the 29″x29″ heart below, I am hoping to add other squares and sashing to make this a 90″x90″ piece so I can use it as a queen sized quilt.

I had a quilt night at my library and my machine kept jamming up, despite just having been serviced I was spitting mad. Luckily enough one of the patrons, the step-mother-in-law (ex?) of one of my supervisors, had a Janome LE she was not using and offered it to me. She would not take anything in return, which was very nice of her. I made the heart up in the week between classes, since I had the idea floating around in my head, just no reliable machine to use! Eventually I am going to have to consider getting the Janome professionally seen to, however I might see who else does that in the area.

If that were not enough I also have been doing some work on my house. This is crafting related I promise. A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a sewing day, it was amazing. Her set up was so inspiring I immediately went looking for something similar, and promptly got sticker shock. A week or so later and I found a sale at Michaels that would go along with my $10 coupon, and for under $100 I had a table that was 55″ unfolded by over 22″ deep, and waist height. I have found that as a responsible adult, I have to trick myself into doing stuff, lol.

In this case I was not able to assemble my new table until I had called the garbage company to arrange pickup of the carpet pieces from the third floor AND hauled the carpet to a point where taking them out the afternoon before pick-up would be easy. (I have to put them out after 4pm the day before, no earlier.) Right now they are on my front porch, looking really ugly, however I did not really have anywhere else to store them until pickup.

Well, now that the carpet is done, okay so I still have one more small piece….and all of the padding…and the linoleum that someone put down on top of the hardwood floors…other than that the carpet is done, I could assemble my new table. The plan was, yes was, for me to use the good table to sew and a card table with adjustable height to press and cut. I put the card table, well it is a bit closer to picnic table length, up and started to do some cutting. Only to find that even at its highest the table is a bit too short for me to comfortably cut on it. I think it’s a good height if I am sitting at it, however, so this might become my sewing station instead. The rolling cart however, with the 55″ width when unfolded, is just at my waist height making it virtually perfect for cutting and pressing. While assembling this I had to run downstairs and put two different bandages on, one was due to the folding nature of the particular screw driver I was using, and I still have to tighten a couple of screws down before I trust that flap for cutting. Other than that the entire thing is assembled.

I also have an origami rack in the odd corner, right now it is going out into the room, however I think I will turn it to nestle into the corner to give me more room around my sewing table. You can see that the white table has considerably more height on it. The floors are a bit scarred looking, I was thinking of seeing how much it would be to get them professionally refinished, however someone pointed out it might be better to just get a faux wood laminate or something similar over top. This wood is so scarred and there are such gaps between boards I think the entire floor would have to be relaid and there is a lot more that needs done to the house before that. (Such as a new roof, heater/air conditioner, etc.).

I am very happy with these wall storage pieces. The spool rack is from amazon, but the other rack is from 5-below. I was able to bend out the hooks on the bottom so they can fit a pair of scissors and some other small objects. While I love the look of table top storage rack things, I knock them over. I just do. This is a similar problem I am going to have with acrylic ruler storage…I knock them over. There are some really neat ones with slots and places for pins…One bad bump and I have pins all over the floor along with ruler (just my luck I would break one).

My sewing room is coming along wonderfully. I hope that I will be able to keep the other pink desk in there so that this can be a multi craft room since I have too many interests to make a room for each one. When the second leaf of the tall white table is unfolded I cannot get by the pink desk. If I move the white table or the black table then I lose maneuverability. If I move the pink desk any closer to the window I cannot get into the closet…which I am only worried about so that Orkin can make sure I don’t have mice…but that is important to me. I might move the pink desk back into the corner and make a nest of tables with my resin and possibly paper craft supplies by the pink desk. The white table is just about 1″ to shallow for the entire width of my largest cutting mat, which frankly sucks, however I believe I can live with that (and being careful about cutting) since it completely fits my pressing mat.

That is about it for my big news. I am loving these new crafts, and using the momentum to make progress on other things. This is my active cycle, which according to traditional wisdom this should be the end of my resting cycle but whatever, so I am going to lean into it and enjoy while I can. This week I am taking the second in a two part book binding class and the first in a two part embroidery class. While I have a full week of work ahead of me it is exciting to know that I now have some room and freedom to explore. I still do better when I plan my days out and stick to them within the parameters given, I have the freedom to change those parameters as well. No pet or person waiting on me to get home, no major obligations other than to myself, work, and my bills. The freedom is a bit heady, I can get involved in other organizations without worrying that it will cause problems for my ill mother or that it cannot be worked around my crazy work schedule (I now have a regular work schedule). It has taken a bit over a year for these facts to begin to sink in, now that they have I ensured that I would be available for every meeting of the 3 guilds I belong to as I could. 2 meetings of one guild occur during major events at work I need to be at. Okay, enough pseudo therapy for right now.

I hope to have more crafting news for you next week, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Falling Hard for Quilting

So, the truth of the matter is when I start something that I enjoy I tend to fall very hard for that craft. Here are the quilt squares that I have made and that I am presently working on squaring up…

Spools were a theme then I moved onto other things. I love how everything is turning out, though I know that they are not perfect and will not be square in the end. I did have a binding mishap on a quilt I finished rather quickly and have learned what I did wrong to fix that in the future. On a similar note…quilting leads to fabric design. I know, not for most but go along with me here.

I have been watching episodes of Quilting Arts TV online via a monthly subscription, and it is giving me ideas. One of those ideas is about Cyanotype printing, or printing on fabric using sunlight/uv. I tried something similar withy Cyanotype paper last year for a program and absolutely hated it. Well, what I hated was that the results were not consistent. Some of the papers printed fine while others would not print at all. This made for disappointing results for several children and I hate disappointing children. I have already told my bosses that I am doing some experimenting but this is not going to be ready to go as a program until next year at the earliest. Of course, I cannot be content with just one exploration.

I am also playing with the ideas of block fabric printing, fabric painting, and wet fabric paint dyeing. There is a medium that can be used to turn acrylic paint into heat set fabric paint. Using that and some stamps I plan on giving block printing on fabric a try. Fabric painting is straightforward, use the acrylics with medium to paint onto fabric. The last is a little different, again on Quilting Arts TV they had a wet fabric painting technique that I would like to explore.

You may think me mad, however you cannot say that I am linear!

I was also fortunate enough to have been gifted a Janome sewing machine, it is a bit old but the manual is available online and I have been able to start sashing several squares already in hopes of turning them into a quilt top.

*Unrelated to crafting, I have had confirmation that the buyer of my family home has financing, so that will be one more worry off of my mind in a few weeks.*

Remember to Live Life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

Plant Update

For a Dye Garden that I am planning on planting in the spring I purchased seeds from the Grand Prismatic Seed Company, which has amazing support. I did try for a grant to purchase grow lights however other candidates were chosen. I have two Ott Lights that some people claim can be used as grow lights, Grant Prismatic said that the spindly plants from last year were due to a lack of light. I planted 3 seeds in 5 pots for 5 different species of flowers, 25 total. These were the packets of seeds that contained 100+. I planted about 4-5 days ago and today when I looked there were some seedlings peeping up. The Ott lights are on the entire time that I am home, so at least 12 hours a day.

So Much Happening

So, last Sunday my side hustle was on break and I wound up having a quilting day with an amazing new friend/colleague from my full-time job. The afternoon started off worryingly, I shut the top of my metal storage rack on my finger…that was not a good time to discover I did not have any band-aids in my new house! One trip to the pharmacy later, and I went to my friends house. She is a part of the Pointer Rescue Organization and had a foster dog that I was able to meet. That makes it so hard to remember that I do not have time/space for a dog right now. I was able to get some ideas about how I can/should set up a sewing area. Since she is planning on making a long distance move soon she offered me her folding table…until her husband found out how much it would cost to replace that table, lol. I deeply appreciate the offer, and I do realize that this is the sort of table I am going to need. I gained a deeper understanding of cutting and pressing.

I am having so much fun sewing and quilting right now that I cannot believe I have allowed myself to be intimidated by quilting for this long! The aspects that have allowed me to get into this form of quilting is the understanding that there is more out there than half-square triangles. I am working better when I do not have to meet corners perfectly (though there are certainly arguments that there is no perfect in quilting). I finished a 6 column quilt that comprised of 4 colors in different saturation points that were sashed by black jelly roll strips on all sides. Since this was made of 24 blocks with simple sashing I was able to finish in 2 days. I then made the quilt sandwich, switched out needles when the machine started ka-thunk-ing, and sewed 90% around the edge of the quilt sandwich. Changing the needle once more after the tip broke off at a corner ( digging a sharp needle tip out of quilt batting is not fun). After I cut the excess of batting and backing off of the edges I turned the quilt inside out before I sewed about a quarter inch around the edges to close the seam and get a more finished edge.

The last two steps involved the binding around the edge of the quilt. I sewed the binding strips together, then with the right sides together (with the bulk of the binding on top of the quilt, then once you have sewn around the edge you flip the binding around to the back) I sewed the binding onto the top of the quilt. Next I folded the binding over the edge of the quilt, folded under the edge of the binding and faced hand felling this binding….and I decided to take a shortcut. I decided that I was going to use a decorative stitch from the top of the quilt to machine fell the edges of the binding. In retrospect I really should have at least watched a video on how to machine fell a seam…so after I did that I went back to fell the parts of the seam that did not work, embroidered some text in a corner that the stitching did not work in, and now I’m embroidering a flower on the back so that the embroidery stitches from the text do not show as random thread on the back… Oh well. The batting and backing I used were left over from earlier purchases and I plan on using this as a rug once I have shown it to the quilt guild I joined because my new friend is a member. This experience has also taught me that I need to take some in person classes about quilting, and properly finishing a quilt. Hopefully I can find some that are not cost prohibitive.

One of the main take-aways that I have from this experience is that I really enjoy quilting. For me to do this new craft properly I am going to need a space to create within. My Library room is likely going to become my sewing room. Before I can start using my second and third floors I need my second floor bathroom to be usable, so once the old house has sold this has become my second priority (the roof is still first). I also am going to need a better sewing machine at some point in the relatively near future. I am half thinking about getting a machine that also does embroidery so that I can use the hoop to do some pre-programmed quilting designs on the quilt.

Not everything has been about the quilting however, well there is work and how I will be starting a teen crafting class every week in April but that is a different post, as I have been working with UV resin. UV resin is a form of resin that is quickly set using ultraviolet light, it is said that sunlight works however I have found that UV nail lights work well. The kind that nail salons use to set acrylic nails. I know that this sounds really scary, however with the exception of using mica powder for coloring I have found UV resin to be relatively easy to work with. Small bookmarks turned out well, The medium journal cover needs work, I’m not sure if it is because the mold was not on a flat surface or that the mold warped a little due to the heat of the reaction but this cover is not flat. I’m going to try again with the small cover when the new resin arrives. I am experimenting with different brands of resin to obtain the best value/quality ratio. My boss is already planning on how this can be used at the library, which I am all on board with.

I think that is enough for now, sorry I don’t have any WIP photos.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.