Friday, December 26, 2014

December 2014

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.
The Pueblo West Quilters’ Holiday Party kicked off December on a high note. The Holiday committee was determined, determined to have all quilters leaving the meeting with smiles - no -  mouth-stretching grins.
They succeeded. Between the pin cushion table dĂ©cor/gifts, the games: Card Bingo, Pin Cushion Memory, Guess the #, oh, and Thread the Needle (Are you serious?!!!); and the food, the yummy, yummy food, the Pueblo West Quilters’ laughter filled the room.
On a serious note, Helen tried conducting the fastest business portion of the meeting, but when 9 LUV quilts pushed her goal of 100 LUV quilts for the year to 148; well, let’s just say Helen did a fantastic job of herding the holiday spirits.
Sandy Strickland demonstrated how to add a sleeve to your quilts for hanging. She needed one so she turned to experienced sleeve-making quilters and the Internet. How to Make a 4” Quilt Sleeve
That’s why PWQ is successful. Quilters are happy to share their experiences year-round and not limit the sharing just around the holidays. New quilters bring a wealth of information to the guild too. Their freshness introduces new techniques and tools into the mix and brings old ideas back to life.
Vicki Becker presented December’s BOM. Four Part Strip Block. 12.5” x 12.5” unfinished block 2.5” x 26” strip. 3 different strips from the same color family (your choice) and a scant ¼” seam allowance. Thanks Marcia Hohn for these instructions.
The 2015 Pueblo West Quilters Board: Prez – Lisa Mollenauer, VP – Sandy Strickland, Treasurer – Pat Graham, and Sec – Debbie Mueller.
Imagine a  fabulous transition inserted here from business to holiday organizing ….
The Holiday season tends to stress society out more than any other time of the year.
Did you find time to quilt during December? Did you sneak off to finish those quilts in secret? Did you have everything you need in order to finish those quilting projects?
When company’s invading your home, did you move your organized “disorganized” projects and when you stole a moment to work on the project, you were unable to find the section/fabric pieces you needed?
Wouldn’t it have been great if your home was sooooo organized that there was room for all your works-in-progress and the rest of your active life – like the holidays?
Maybe that’s what I needed for Christmas. Peace within myself that extends to my environment. A place for everything and everything in its place. Here’s  the catch… I don’t know where a thing’s place is.
Well, put it somewhere and see if it works in that place. If it doesn’t, move it to a new place. Keep moving it until it finds its own spot.
Yeah, like that works
As I prepare for the holidays and 2015, I thought I’d try to organize myself first, then my studio. Well, that didn’t happen because I’ve had this new sewing machine sitting in its box for months and curious me decided to unwrap it in the midst of the holiday preparations. You know what that meant … trying to set it up in the studio where chaos threw up already.
I had a functioning workspace with my machines up and running, a cutting area and ironing station. There were totes with various projects I’m working on, stacked neatly in the corner. I even had a clear floor, but that was last February. Since February, I began more projects, took a few workshops, attended meetings where new ideas spilled into my brain and overflowed into my studio. The studio functioned as I tripped over piles of quilting projects and well, just piles of half-baked ideas.
Hence, a place for every thing and every thing in its place sounds sooo good but reality dictates otherwise. At least for me. . So I do the next best thing. Like scissors. I have multiple pairs of scissors in several places and that works for me. But the studio, I needed outside help.
I called a sister (She said she had no idea how to resolve my dilemma.) and a friend. My friend came over and we rearranged the furniture until a workable solution resolved. Turns out a craft table I purchased about 20 years ago became part of the solution.
Just goes to show you that throwing away (removing) something if you don’t use it within a year is wrong advice. Just sayin’….
Anywhoooo, I have a functional, messy studio and I’m able to work in it again.
Organizing your studio. Where do you start?
Let’s take some advice from an expert. (An expert is someone who lives out of town. In this case, my husband read this advice from a woodworker.) I’ll transpose in my own words…
When you’re in the middle of organizing, you’ll find yourself in the explody phase and that’s when you tend to give up and quit. (DH had a vision of me and my clutter.) The advice is to suck it up and work through this explosion because it’s well worth the effort to get to the finish.
Change is good but it’s the transitions that are hard to get through. I tend to stop when the explody phase overwhelms me (So DH’s vision is sooo on the mark.) but if I plow through, then maybe I’ll have a different outcome.
So what do you do in order to maintain the clutter from preventing you to work toward finishing your quilts? Do you put everything in its place at the end of the work session or do you, like me, wake up one day and wonder how the mess happened? Again.
I keep trying to stay organized but I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen. More stuff comes in than goes out and when I’m focusing on other things, keeping things neat isn’t a high priority for me. We won’t mention the myriad of ideas rattling in my head where some escape and I’m coordinating fabrics to see if the idea is viable and then leave the forlorn pile as I Oh look! Squirrel
Whatever I do, piles appear. I shove them out of the way, ignoring them until the piles collapse upon each other and there’s no room to cut, iron, sew, serge, or quilt. Why isn’t there a cleaning fairy to put things away in their place when I’m done for the day?
“It only takes five minutes each day to tidy up your work area.”
Oh squirrel!
I can take one step and forget where I’m going so five minutes is lost on me.
But it all boils down to the place. Where do I put something if it’s not in a pile? A pile is a perfect place. I know where something is. Well….. I use to know where things were until I accumulated too many things. Now I’m surprised at the things I find – still in their shopping bags.
Don’t bring it into the house and you won’t have a storage issue in the first place.
Don’t buy it. You don’t need it.

All good advice. And I do resist purchasing things. Lots of times. I’m even better than I was 20 years ago. Things still get into my hands and are purchased. They still come into my home and I still have habits of piling.
So instead of trying to change me, why not try to work with my habit regarding piling so I can function and create? Why can’t I produce quilts just the way I am?
Guess what? I can.
When I become aware of my I can’t function in this mess stage, I straighten and tidy until the next time the chaos creates another pile avalanche.
Why am I writing about organizing when you want to read about the holiday spirit? After the holidays are over and you’re straightening up your home, straighten up your studio, straighten up your mind and prep for the new year.
Make new quilts, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.
It’s the same with your quilting projects. It’s okay to have new quilting ideas and projects but continue working on the old quilting works-in-progress until they turn into gold, I mean, finished. And if you’re not going to finish them, remove them from your home. I give you permission. Why keep them? Bag it or put it into a bin and give it to someone who wants your UFPs. Remove the stress from your home, your life.
May the finished quilt piles be prolific in 2015,
Cactus Kilter Quilter

PS. May I have the recipe to the Pumpkin Roll with Carmel Sauce? Please oh please?!!!