2017 Finish-A-Long : Q1

Sooo... I attempted this whole Finish-A-Long thing last year. I did really well in Q1... and then... nothing. AT ALL. In fact, I could probably transfer the Q2 proposed finishes over with the exception of the one thing I finished. In December. Sigh.  In my defense though... last spring and summer were ROUGH with working, taking care of the house, and the husband, and kiddos who went through some pretty rough medical stuff during that time. And I had a bunch of "stuff" I had to wrap my head around as well. So all things crafty really took a backseat. 

That said, new year, new goals. And a ridiculously long list of WIPs! I had no idea how many things I had going right now. It's embarrassing. So, short story made long, I'm back in the Finish-A-Long game. And, I am going to carry over all the items from my list from nine months ago. And add a couple more that I "discovered" as I was cleaning the other day. Oh lord. 

So... starting with the ones that have been lingering longest...

 1. The "Hannah" Halloween Quilt
I have not one, but two, Halloween quilts in progress right now (one for each boy, natch). While I made a halfhearted attempt in September to finish this before Halloween, I didn't. And then I didn't touch it at all since. So I'm thinking it will be first or second up this quarter. While I have most of the blocks together, I still need to piece them together and maybe add a border? Hoping to take this to flimsy stage this quarter so it can be shipped off to be quilted and bound.

2. Perfect Ten Halloween
Staying in the Halloween vein, I'm also adding in the other WIP Halloween quilt to the list. This one is a lot farther behind than the other one, but it would be nice to ship them off together to be quilted similarly. All I have is the stack of fabric and the pattern, "Perfect Ten"... Again, just hoping to get it to "flimsy" stage this quarter.

3. Winter's Lane... Something.
Last year, I finished my Winter's Lane Jelly Roll Jam quilt. (And it's back from the longarmer and absolutely gorgeous!) The final layout I ended up with left me with some pieced remnants. Enough to do something with... And while I do have some ideas in my head, I'm keeping my options open right now. This one will be finished completely by me since I think it's a great opportunity to practice my machine quilting.

4. Winter's Lane Quilt
And then, there is the actual quilt. I've had this back from the longarmer for a YEAR now. EGAD. Yet, I still can't get around to trimming it, making a binding, and binding it. Really?! That just goes to show how insane life has been here... 

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 5. Zen Chic "Drunkard's Path"
Oh friends, this one has been hanging around way too long in it's sad, unfinished state! I started this just about a year ago and have been making baby steps... slowly. Very, very slowly. Here's where I was last year:

And here's where I am today:

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igh. It's a solid start, but I think I've still got quite some way to go. [So much for the whole "you can do this in a day" claim so many made.] I would ideally like to get this to lap size or larger... but I'm less than halfway there. And while I LOVE it... I'm feeling a bit defeated on this one right now. Hoping to get a flimsy, but don't be surprised if this is on next quarter's list too. 

 6. Creeper Quilt
Yet another stagnant project. Oy. The oldest has been asking for a Minecraft quilt for quite some time now. He was envisioning creating himself a quilt with all the different characters on it. But, I'm not really sure that he or I had the patience for it. So instead, we are focused on the creeper, which is his favorite character, and making a pixel-y quilt. This was a project we were working on together... I was helping and he was kind of driving it all. We got the blocks cut and two rows sewed together. And then... he lost interest completely. Of course! So now I have a bunch of green pixels to sew together, quilt and bind. Part of me wants to abandon this, but I already have everything except for binding invested already. So I most likely won't abandon it... but it's not high on my list either. So we shall see. Right?! 

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7. Tricky Triangles
Another carry-over from the last list. The short story is that I found this pattern in a magazine quite some time ago. The top was finished OVER a year ago, but then it sat while I figured out what I wanted to do for the backing. (I also really and truly struggled to sew all those triangles together and needed a break.) The answer came in the form of an incredible find. See those three solids below? They are actually tiny cords... that I found. on. CLEARANCE. $2.99 a yard. SCORE! Clearly, it was meant to be because the colors match perfectly! I have a design plan in mind... but it needs to be pieced, and basted, and quilted. Hoping to complete this one here since I have very specific quilting ideas. (This is my oldest WIP, but still has such a long way to go it feels like...) 

8. Christmas In July
I've been wanting to do a simple patchwork Christmas quilt for... oh, four years now. Has it happened? No. Have I made sure to buy christmas fabric at every opportunity? Yes. Do I need yet another Christmas quilt? NO. Do I want one? YES. The insanity needs to stop. I have enough fabric to make a quilt large enough to cover this house. Last week, I had kiddos home sick from school so I took the time to trim out 375 squares from 100 different fabrics. Now I just need to tumble them to mix them, and then I will start piecing them. I figure if I use them as leaders and enders, I can get a solid start this quarter. My reach goal is to get this to flimsy stage along with the Halloween quilts, so I can ship them all at once. (It's probably NOT going to happen.) 

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Note: My inspiration is from Crazy Mom Quilts, but as my photo illustrates, it's going to be a tad bit brighter ... and crazy... than hers. :) 

So ... essentially the same list as Q2 last year, just swapping out a holiday quilt for a different one. Let's hope that THIS quarter I actually complete some of these though! I mean, it's only HALF my list and that's assuming I don't start anything new... which is HIGHLY unlikely since starting things is my strong point. Gaugh.  


Five on Friday : Wacky Weather Week

The last time I visited this space, I had no idea that our area was due to get a blizzard within the following 24 hours. It wasn't until Friday evening, as I scrolled through Instagram that I caught wind of this issue. A favorite store posted that they were going to be closed due to the parking ban. Then an organization I follow posted that people should check for closings before going to an event. Huh. Those two posts prompted me to check the weather... to learn that we were under a blizzard watch. The lesson here? I need to watch more TV. Those annoying scrolling bars at the bottom would have been helpful here. It made for an interesting weekend, that's for sure. There was a quick scramble late on Friday night to acquire groceries and then another scramble Saturday morning to run the rest of the errands. Then, we hunkered down and watched the snow accumulate, while also watching movies and eating popcorn. 

Flash forward to the evening and we had a foot of snow on the ground and drifts up to 18 inches. (The boys were thrilled) 

Flash forward three more days and all the snow was gone and it was in the high 50s and sunny.  

And some people say global warming isn't a real thing... 


And now for the five things of the week: 

1. I'm starting a "Books I've Read" page for the year. You can find it here. I finished some great books this week... "America's First Daughter" tops the list by a mile though. SUCH an interesting read. I'm also working on finalizing my Modern Mrs. Darcy's Reading Challenge list... there are a few categories that are really giving me difficulty!  Soon though. 

2. I still had sick kiddos home from school again this week, so I'm thrilled that I was actually able to work on my WIP {Work In Progress} list for all those quilts I've got going. First, I'm horrified at the length of this list. But I'm also really inspired to work at shortening it. It's hard to deny how bad it is when you see it in writing! I even knocked out binding a quilt during the blizzard. And I continued by working on a few blocks for another quilt. Baby steps. (But baby steps on a goal for the year... so still a big deal!) I'm currently toying with the idea of participating in a Finish-A-Long group... 

3. I've started to put away the holiday decorations. I'm much later than normal this year, and it's going much slower than in years past. I'm trying to consciously pay attention to what I'm packing, where I'm packing it, and the order in which I'm storing it. I'm hoping to avoid the disaster that is our house when the decor is going up by organizing the system some. I'm also simultaneously weeding out what I don't want in rotation anymore. This has proven harder than I thought. Lastly, I devoted a lot of effort to perfecting the mantle decor this year and I think that's part of the reason I'm dragging my feet. It just makes me so happy to look at it! 

4. We are at an all time low in terms of behavior and attitude from the youngest members of the household. I was chalking it up to the excitement (read: insanity) of the holiday season... and then to the general ickiness of congestion. But now... now I feel like we need a massive re-boot here. I can't handle the sass and freshness, the naughtiness, and the outright disobedience. It's constant and embarrassing. I'm often ashamed at how my children are treating each other, us, fellow students, teachers... basically everyone. And if I hear "I just" or "But" or "Actually" one more time... I. Will. Lose. It.  Sadly, these phrases are the minor offenses in the grand scheme. But, probably the thing that will be the final straw. If anyone happens to know SuperNanny... give her my number, okay?!

5.  I have been completely uninspired to pick up my camera this year. I've taken a few photos here and there... and purchased a bunch of photography software after Christmas... but the photo jojo just isn't there right now. While I'm hoping this "blegh" attitude passes quickly... I'm also trying to embrace the freedom this gives me. I've been documenting my days in a new way this year... so there isn't the pressure of the p365 in addition. But... I miss shooting so I'm hoping I find my way back to photography soon. (Especially since I'm really tired of sharing iPhone photos here.) In the meantime, I'll just keep quilting! 

New Year, New Goals

 

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And here we are. Time to make, and hopefully meet, some goals for the year 2017. As my last post mentions ... very loudly ... I did not do so great with the 2016 goals. Which is ok. I guess some years are like that. And that's part of the reason I use terms like "goals" or "improvements" instead of "resolutions." Because while I hope to be a better person at year end... we are all human after all. 

That said, I have spent the past few months working hard on my self. My mind, my soul, my spirit. I'll go into this more in another post... but for the first time in years, I'm feeling more like the self I once knew, and less like this self I now am. (I'm not a huge fan of this current self, so this is good.) The plan is to eventually become my best self yet... but I need to heal some internal wounds first, both old and new. So, having already started working on myself, I'm in a good spot to make some goals for the next year. 

I'm again trying to keep my goals tangible and trackable. I think that where I am in all aspects of life, that makes the most sense. I did that for the first time this past year and it was pretty clear how I was doing on my goals. Or not doing, as the case was. When I set more aspirational "improvements" for myself... it's a little harder to honestly reflect back on how I am doing, or did. I need black and white goals that I either hit or don't. None of this "be more patient" or "become one with my environment"... at least not this year. Give me the checklist, please! 

Enough rambling. Let's move on to the goals for 2017:

1. Start a "book club." 

I still need to figure out the specifics on this.  I don't think that I am looking to do a "traditional" book club since I feel like these have let me down in the past. I love talking books with people though.... so maybe it's as simple as an online group, or an in-real-life group that meets once a month to talk about what they are reading. I just know that this past year, I read so much and really enjoyed what I was reading. And several of the best reads were recommendations from others. Alternatively, I may just find a few friends who want to complete "Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge" with me. Any takers?! 

2. Make meals enjoyable. For all of us. 

This past year, I have really struggled with putting six or seven meals a week on the table that we all like, and can all eat. Between food intolerances, food dislikes, and just the overwhelming task of menu planning... grocery shopping... and meal prep... it's been hard. We all like lots of diversity in our menu, which hasn't really happened as of late. I think I got off track with our crazy spring, winged it over the summer, and completely failed this fall. I've been so disheartened the past few weeks that meals are just a task to complete and that is not what I want mealtime to be. I'm looking into one of those "box services" where they ship the meal to you, freezer meal workshops (which I have had success with in the past), and some new cookbooks. Meal times will be merry and enjoyable once more. 

3. Bust. That. Stash.

 No, really. I have some serious fabric hoarding tendencies. And everyone, rightfully so, has been calling me out on it. I mean, even my mom claimed I had "SABLE" [Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectnacy]... so it must be bad! I need to finish up the many, many WIPs I have in that sewing area, and either tackle some stashbusting projects or de-stash the fabric. I'm also going to clean up the sewing room while I go. Cause, it's embarrassing right now. 

4. Be creative every day.  

OK, some might say I already am. And I have achieved this in years past... especially with the P365. This was not the case this past year. At best, the P365 was a "to do item" and at worst, it was a chore I avoided. It's done, but not pretty. That said, I realized over the past few months of self-reflection that I am much, much happier and patient when I have taken some time for creativity during the day. Personal, fulfilling creativity... not work. Sometimes this is via photography, sometimes through doodling, sometimes through crafting... And sometimes it's just taking 20 minutes to watch a class online while sketching some ideas for a bucket list item. I'd love to find a way this year to incoporate creative time for myself every day. Almost to the point where it becomes a practice. And NOT let it be the first thing to drop when schedules get crazy and life gets overwhelming. I won't be doing another P365 this year, as I hope that by taking the pressure off, the work flows more freely. But I think that I have enough creative interests already that I don't need that structure to complete this goal. 

5. Less Clutter, More Calm.  

 Yeah... pretty sure this one is on my list every year in one form or another. Maybe this will be the year I accomplish it. There is STUFF everywhere in our house right now. And it's completely disorganized in several places. So many times I have told myself "I'll deal with it when I have half an hour" or "I'll do it when the boys are in school full-time" ... but guess what?! It's not happening. AT ALL. So I'm putting it on the list. Again. The clutter and the stuff and the things are driving me CRAZY. Time to remind this stuff who is boss. 

Of course, I have hopes for practicing self-care, noticing the small moments that make up my day and bring joy to my life, and becoming a patient, engaged human... But these goals are more aspirational and where I tend to fail. So, not this year. Also, I think that five goals is a pretty good number. Maybe once I get some "wins" under my belt... I'll tackle these. I mean, I could start a trend of Goals that are based around your birthday... right?! 

I guess we will see. I'm excited for 2017 and hopeful that this year is *my* year... but only time will tell. I had the same hopes going into 2016 and that certainly didn't prove to be true. But, unlike last year, I'm in a better place mentally, physically, professionally... this really could be the year! I'm optimistic.

Happy New Year Everyone! 

Merry Merry & Happy New Year!

Whoa. Anyone else feeling completely exhausted right about now?! I'm ready for a long winter's nap myself... 

As in years past, the holiday passed in a whirlwind of celebrations. The boys were out of school the week leading up to the holiday which added a bit more "interest" to all the last minute preparations I had to take care of... and I upped that ante by volunteering at school several times the week prior to that. To say that it was a frantic few weeks would be an understatement. 

But the holiday was happy and healthy... good food, good times, and all that. (As well as lots of frustrating moments involving overtired, overhyped kids. People tell me I will miss these days in ten years. Not so sure right now.)

Now we are preparing to travel to PA to celebrate with my family... the fun keeps on rolling here. (It will be a good time with good food, I'm sure. I'm referring to the fact that my kiddos are still over-hyped and over-tired and now I need to do laundry and pack bags to boot.) 


It's also that time of year when I look back on the year and see how I did with those goals I set back in January. 

Oh, boy. 

If you could see me... you would know that I am both cringing and laughing as I re-read the post where I laid them all out. Ironically, I even knew I'd be doing this as I made my list. At least I am self-aware if nothing else...

While I feel that I made forward progress on several of these goals... I don't feel that I can actually claim completion on any. And some of them are just complete and total FAILS. (As in, the whole second half of the list.)

I've been thinking about my 2017 goals for a few weeks now. While I don't have a definitive list yet... I also don't see a lot of overlap with last year's goals. Not sure if I need to revisit some of these or just move on. I do, however, seem to be reaching for tangible, trackable goals again this year. While I didn't succeed with my trackable, tangible goals last year... I think that it is the better option for me at this point in my [crazy] life.

We shall see... I still have two days or two weeks depending on how efficient I plan to be. 


I find this time of year so hard for so many. (Myself included.) The expectations are that one should be filled with joy, peace, and happiness. And in this little corner of the world, it's simply not the case. So while I wish you all joy and happiness at this time of year... I also wish you peace with yourselves and your feelings... whatever they may be. Sending you all thoughts of joy and happiness as we turn the calendar page to 2017. I wish all of you who take time to read my mundane thoughts the best year yet. XOXO.


And, a bit belated, but the sentiment still remains: