Thursday, January 28, 2010

To the MAX!

Uh oh...it's nearly the end of January! And I've accomplished practically nothing on my to-do list!

Like, for example, instead of finishing my Modify Tradition quilt, I decided the final layout for my blocks, took a picture, and then removed them from my design wall to make room for another project. I also added a few white borders on a few blocks but it was a halfhearted attempt.

I was also going to make things for a giveaway but I only managed to finish two things. Two is still progress but I was hoping to have something spectacular for you by now.

sneak peek

I was also going to organize my craft supplies and get rid of stuff I know I'll never use. But I didn't even start that process. Boo-urns!

So, what have I been doing this month? My creative time has been spent preparing for the next round of the Modify Tradition project. I've completed 4 of my 6 blocks and 2 of my 12 projects. And I only have 10 project ideas at the moment...so, I'm feeling the pressure a little bit. The first block tutorial goes up this Monday and the first project tutorial on Tuesday. I'm pretty excited!

sneak peek

I also organized my studio, made two aprons, worked on my ripple blanket, cooked a fancy french meal, watched a lot of football (Go Vikes!) and saw the Guthrie's production of Romeo and Juliet.

It's been a fun month but in order to be truly happy, I need to put more time and effort into my creative and organizing endeavors. So, pay attention February: we're going to live each one of your 28 days TO THE MAX!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Raccoon Girls.

I've been thinking about the little things lately, mostly to avoid thinking about the big things. Because there's nothing I can do about the big things except fret and plan and watch my carefully fretted plans fall through. Nothing important, just future stuff. Like, how do you decide what your future will be? I usually leave it to fate and everything has worked out far better than expected. But some day I'm going to have to make a real decision, right? And sooner seems more likely than later given that I'm feeling unhappy with my current situation and actually feel the need to do something about it. Something to make me happy...ME, of all people!

frolic fabric

So I concentrate on these tiny creatures and remember a time when I thought people were raccoons. In the mornings at the cabin, my aunt would emerge from the camper with dark, smudgy makeup and dark, sleepy circles under her eyes...and when we asked her why, she told us she was a raccoon. And I thought that was pretty neat. And I still think it's pretty neat. A raccoon girl. An adventurous, curious, up all night, dark circles under her eyes in the morning, raccoon girl. A raccoon girl can have any kind of adventure, any time she wants. She can climb and run and find treasures and no one will know who she is because she wears her raccoon mask. And probably a capelet...you know, just for fun.

And I look at these tiny dots, these tiny yards of fabric...

full moon dots

...and think of all the tiny things I want to accomplish. And I think of how these tiny things add up to one not-so-tiny to-do list. I'm pretty sure raccoon girls don't have to-do lists. Or if they do, they cross things off quickly (with a flourish and a smile) because then the adventures can start. And I don't think raccoon girls let a gray day get them down. Not even two weeks of gray days.

And I think raccoon girls sometimes let fate decide and sometimes they make hard decisions for themselves. But mostly they have adventures. And that's not so bad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

French Cooking

Karrie and I spent Saturday (trying to) master the art of french cooking.

Mastering the art of french cooking

We started grocery shopping at 9am and sat down to dinner at 8:30 pm. We had a total of 3 hours down time and we spent two of those watching Julie & Julia before we even started making dinner.

It was definitely a day of adventures and a day of lessons. We learned that aprons are cute and helpful in the kitchen:

new aprons

We learned that Genoise cake, while appearing simple...

Genoise Cake=disaster!

...is actually a mystery:

Genoise Cake=disaster!

We also learned that chocolate, butter and rum...

making frosting

...makes everything right again:

chocolate frosting

We learned that browning mushrooms is easy if you don't crowd the pan. And that frozen peas help burned hands feel better:

burned hands and cold peas

We learned that a pretty table is nice but sharing the fruits of a hard day's work with friends and family is nicer.

a beautiful table

And I learned that while the meal was satisfying, the day itself was more satisfying. We made everything with our own two hands, we made it well (for the most part) and 12 hours later, we were still having fun. I learned that days like that are meant to be savored and enjoyed, much like the meal itself.

And now, all that's left to say is: Bon appetite!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Squirrel fabric!

What do you think of this fabric?



Cute, right? It's called Treasure Map by Wendy Slotboom (from her Frolic collection). This fabric reminded me of our baby squirrel encounter this past spring.

It also reminded me of my brother...I don't really know why squirrel-related things make me think of him. So, I bought it and I might use it to make him a quilt. Probably a big squares quilt or similar. Maybe I can have it done by his birthday (in December...haha). Or maybe it could be a christmas gift for him and his fiance (because I can never figure out what to get them).

Of course, I'm not sure he would actually want a quilt (especially a squirrel-related novelty quilt) so maybe I'll make myself him something else.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Studio!

So far, the only January goal I've accomplished is to straighten up my studio. But it's a different studio than you saw last time. It turns out I'm still terrible at keeping large rooms organized and I was constantly overwhelmed by the disorganization. So I moved just my sewing stuff into one of the small bedrooms. It's very small (not quite 10'x10') but I find that cozy works for me.

This is what you see when you walk in:

sewing studio

I have all my quilting fabric on my Ikea tv stand (there are notes on the flickr picture if you want to know what is what). And I'm watching Frasier, of course! To the right is my cutting table (and the stripey curtains I made):

sewing studio

And to the further right is my sewing table:

sewing studio

Um, you should know that I'm too lazy to buy kleenex...so that's why the toilet paper is there.

And this is looking back at the door and my design wall and ironing table (against the freshly painted aqua wall):

sewing studio

I really like having ONLY sewing stuff in the room. And I like that everything is close and I don't waste time walking all over the studio. I also like that there's nothing to mess up...all fabric goes back on the shelves, all tools go back into the bucket on the sewing table, all rulers go back on the wall and I'm done straightening up.

For now, the old studio looks pretty abandoned...there's a lot of junk in there that I'm going to organize as one of my other January goals. My February goal will be to turn it into a guest bedroom/craft room/painting studio. But I'm not going to think about that now...I have my January goals to accomplish first.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Accordion Lessons

Look! Ian's teaching me how to play the accordion.

accordion lesson

I learned to play the C major cord.

accordion lesson

Very badly.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January Goals

I've been thinking about goals for this year. I'm trying to keep the list simple (and take one month at a time) so I don't get overwhelmed. In no particular order, my goals for January are:

-finish my modify tradition quilt
-work on tutorials for the next round of the quilt-along
-make things for a giveaway (yay!)
-straighten up the studio (especially: fold and put away every last piece of quilting fabric)
-go through my craft supplies and give away stuff I never use anymore

That's not such a terrible list, right? I'm already making great headway on a few items...mostly the fun stuff like the giveaway and the quilting. I'm nearly finished with the blocks for my sampler quilt:

modify tradition blocks

But the rest of the things are important and I know I'll feel really great once my sewing space is clean and my craft space is less cluttered. I'm excited to show you pictures of the new studio...that's right, some rearranging (and even a little painting!) has been going on at my house. Stay tuned for pictures later this week!