Monday, January 30, 2012

You Have the Floor

So after 20 posts, I feel like I'm finally starting to get the hang of this.  But it occurs to me that it might be fun to shake things up.  So today, instead of hearing only from me, I thought it would be fun to turn the floor over to you, my readers... I hope you're out there!

Here's my question:  How do you push through creative indecision?

Let me explain.  I have a table runner pattern that I've been wanting to make for a while.  If I make it in red and green, it would be perfect for Christmas, but if I make it in blue and white batiks, it would great for winter.  I've had the pattern for months and the fabric since November, but I'm still having trouble pulling the trigger.  I think I'm worried about choosing one colorway and using up time and fabric only to discover that I should have gone the other route.  So instead of being productive, I'm mired down in an endless debate.

Blue and white batiks?
The red and green, or
None of the usual tricks are working.  I've tried using EQ7 to color different versions of the quilt -- I'm now up to 17 and I refuse to spend any more money on toner.  I've tried discussing the options with my kids, but somehow they just don't seem interested.  I've even tried thinking about it just before I go to sleep in the hope that a solution will come to me in my dreams.  Nothing.  I'm stuck and it's making me crazy.

I'm not sure what my indecision means.  Maybe subconsciously I have reservations about this particular design.  Maybe I've over thought it to the point that I'm incapable of moving forward (wouldn't be the first time).  Maybe I'm just a wimp.

But enough is enough.  I'm tired of agonizing over this decision.  This week I plan to pick a lane and drive and I'm going to try as hard as I can to not look in the rear view mirror. 

I guess that's one way to push through creative indecision -- you just have to get to the point where the self-loathing for being indecisive is greater than the fear of making the wrong choice.  But there has got to be a better way. 

So what about you?  How do you push through indecision?  Click on the word "comments" in the gray box directly below this post and join the conversation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Clearing the Decks

Ok, so I'm officially changing my resolution.  I resolve to post no later than Tuesday.  Ahh, now the pressure is off -- at least until the posts start creeping towards Wednesday!

Yesterday I set out with great intentions.  I've got one quilt to bind, two to baste, and a final Christmas design that I want to work on before my last shred of Christmas spirit evaporates. 

But when I walked into my sewing room yesterday morning to find a needle, this was the sight that met my eyes...

Green fabric and cookie cutters (cookie cutters??) -- yes.  Needles -- no.  Even worse, my framed desk calendar is still on November.  It's now January.  Apparently it's been a while since I cleaned my cutting table.

When I turned around, this was what I saw...

Plenty of buttons, thread, and fabric scraps, but no needle.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, my sewing machine is shrouded in a shirt that my daughter would like me to alter.  She's not very subtle.

And finally, as I decided to leave the room, I caught sight of my fabric closet...

Enough said.

Faced with a huge mess and my own organizational shortcomings I decided to postpone the binding, basting, and blogging in favor of clearing the decks.  So I rolled up my sleeves, took a deep breath, and... called my sister.

One hour and a bit of tough love later, I finally got to work.

This is what my sewing room looks like this morning...


and finally...

Let the games begin.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It Takes a Village

I know, I know... it's Tuesday.  So much for New Year's resolutions.  But I am still flossing and I do have a really good excuse for not writing a post on Monday.  Yesterday was the deadline for submissions for Quilters Newsletter's 2012 Best Christmas Quilts issue.  I've spent every free moment over the past few weeks knee deep in fabric, wool, and embroidery floss, and this past weekend and yesterday were the final push.  Now that I've made my deadline and have a moment to breathe, it occurs to me that I simply couldn't have done it on my own.

Despite having their own commitments and plans, my whole family pitched in over the weekend to give me the support that I needed to finish on time.  My husband not only brought home take-out on Friday and cooked dinner on Saturday, but he actually made the bed, cleaned a bathroom spontaneously and took the kids skiing Saturday afternoon.  Not bad!  The kids helped out by entertaining and walking the puppy, and even Casey decided to cooperate by napping during the day and sleeping until 5:00 am (thank God!).

My husband and kids were also unbelievably patient over the weekend.  They were all willing to pull their clean clothes out of the dryer or the various clothes baskets scattered around the house (although it occurs to me that one of them could actually have put the clothes away), and no one complained when we didn't eat dinner until 7:15 on Sunday or when we had to eat it on our laps because the kitchen table was covered with quilts.

As I worked, my family encouraged me with compliments and well-timed pep talks.  It's amazing how my husband's standard "You can do it!" and my daughter's favorite "You gotta want it!" can still get the job done.


 Best of all, my family -- as ever -- was a great source of inspiration.  Although they too were busy, they were ready to put down a book or step away from the technology in order to give me their opinions.  Even if I didn't take their advice, their willingness to discuss options or suggest ideas helped me make decisions.  When it came time to name my projects, they were more than happy to come up with ideas, and while "Luxurious Luxury" and "Star of Destiny" weren't exactly ideal, a few of their suggestions made the cut.

As great and supportive as my family is, I'm still playing catch-up today.  I've got 5 loads of laundry waiting, the floors need to be vacuumed, and the pantry is bare (for me, instead of a village, it takes a town).  And I suppose you could argue that without carpool and puppy training, hockey and homework, I wouldn't have been working at the last minute.  But honestly, where's the fun in that.  My family keeps me busy and occasionally makes me crazy, but this past weekend they made it possible and they always make it worthwhile.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hockey 1 - Quilting 0

One is the number of hours I was able to quilt this weekend because...
Two o'clock is the hour our new puppy Casey is waking up in the morning (if you can call 2:00 am morning); and
Three is the number of away hockey games we had this weekend (by the way, we also had two home games); and
Four hundred is the number of miles we put on our cars Saturday and Sunday (thank God we traded our huge, gas-guzzling truck for a Honda Fit); but
Five... five is the number of quilt shops and/or fabric stores I discovered while driving my son all over the state of New Hampshire.

Signs reading "Fabric" and "Quilts," and a tantalizing log cabin quilt draped outside the front door of one, seemed to call out to me as I passed the stores.  I slowed the car as I drove past each, gazing longingly, visions of fat quarters and jelly rolls dancing in my head.  And the inner debate began.  Could I spare a minute to pop in??  After all, I've never been to this store before and in my experience (which admittedly is vast) a new quilt shop is like a present waiting to be unwrapped.  I haven't bought fabric since November (Christmas gifts don't count!).  And I doubt my son, contentedly playing with his iPod Touch, would even notice if I stopped the car.  I waiver for a moment, thinking I might be able to get away with 5 minutes or maybe 10 if I tied my son's skates really fast.  But alas, I don't quite trust my 6 year old GPS to actually get me to the rink on time.  And sadly, it's hockey, not a quilt shop hop.  So I drive on.  This time hockey wins.

But don't worry.  I'll be back.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As you may recall, my family brought home a puppy the week before Christmas.  Things are finally beginning to settle down a bit, but following Casey around trying to prevent accidents seems to be impeding my ability to focus.  Normally I try to start a new year off with a big list of resolutions complete with action plans, progress charts, and, of course, an incentive program.  But thanks to my foggy brain, this year, the only resolution I've been able to come up with so far is to floss every night.

I decided to ask my family for resolution suggestions and here are some of the highlights...

My husband's contributions were:  "Always cut on the bias" and "Make liberal use of interfacing."  While I admire his grasp of sewing vocabulary, somehow I think his heart wasn't in it.

My youngest son's suggestion was:  "Stay quilting my friends."  Great idea, but I'm a little disturbed that he's referencing Dos Equis beer commercials at 10 years of age.

My oldest son was right on the money with his idea:  "Go big and bold!"  Probably not a bad idea for me to try something other than my usual muted palette and small scale fabrics.  At least I think he was referring to quilting...

My daughter, a fellow crafter, had a couple of useful suggestions:  "Finish your UFO's" and "Wear comfortable shoes."  She also came up with my favorite idea:  "Less talky, more quilty."  Enough said.

Still searching for ideas, I approached my mother and sister.  My mom informed me that she was thinking about not buying any more fabric until she has used some of hers up.  Clearly, and much to my husband's chagrin, I'm not even considering this resolution.  My sister plans to be mindful and to record a year in the life of her family by taking a photograph a day and scrapbooking it.  As good as it sounds, I'm not sure it's possible to be mindful while raising a puppy.

So now that I've surveyed my family what are my resolutions for 2012 going to be?  Well, I'd like to train the puppy to go outside only 10 times a day instead of her current average of 20.  I'd like to exercise more, drink more water, and eat more fruits and veggies and less chips and queso.  I'd like to get organized and up my productivity -- less talky, more quilty!  I'd like to continue to write a post for my blog every Monday (oops, please disregard that today is Tuesday!).  And finally, I'd like to see what I can do about the quilt pattern book idea that was rolling around in my head before Casey came to stay. 

Ambitious?  Yes.    Possible?  Maybe.    Healthy gums?  Definitely.

Happy New Year!
Casey's latest mug shot.