M’s Quilt – BEHIND SCHEDULE – But I’m OK With That

Let me get this out there in the open first thing. I’m behind schedule. I wanted to have M’s quilt quilted, bound and finished before today. Didn’t happen.

I could tell you a million different reasons why I let things get in the way and all the unforeseen interruptions that occurred. But I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing that. What I am going to say is that I own it and I’m OK with it. Things come up. Things happen. I’m tired of fighting the flow and taking it out on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. Do you ever do that?

OK. So where am I in the process? I am a bit over 1/2 way finished with the quilting, which I decided to do wonky echo quilting (using King Tut #918 thread) instead of wavy horizontal or vertical line quilting. Once the quilting is finished, I will apply the binding which is a randomly pieced scrappy binding made from the colors/fabrics that were used to make the M and accent strip. The binding has already been pieced and prepared, so it is ready to go (a PLUS!). I really like the look of the variegated thread on the solid navy background. I can’t wait to get it finished and wash/dry to see it all crinkly.

I think if I push myself and work really hard I might be able to get it finished today. But if I’m being honest, I need to admit that I already know that’s not going to happen. (See where I’m going with this self-honesty thing?) With all the uncertainty in the world right now, virtually EVERYONE is under incredible stress. That includes me. I was never a particularly fast quilter to begin with. Stress makes me even slower. You know what? That’s a perfectly normal response to stress.

SEW. What am I going do to help myself so I don’t revert to Perfection Paralysis and allow M’s quilt to join my UFO pile? I’ve decided I’m going to lower my expectations of myself–and of others. I’m going to stay true to my personal values but I’m also going to cut myself–and others–some slack. This is all new territory we are in and no one knows when it’s going to end. Sew. YES, I’m going to sew, quilt and work at a healthy pace, allow my process to just be. It will BE imperfect and I’m going to celebrate that because I AM IMPERFECT. I’m going to take breaks when I need to go for a walk. I’m going to spend time with and care for our chickens, goats, and seeds I’m starting for our garden. I will make frugal but tasty and nutritious meals for my family every day. I’m going to take care of myself so I can “be there” for Jeff (husband) and Jacob (son who is a college student finishing his semester online from home) and 3 adult children serving active duty in the military. I’m going to do my very best to be kind, extend love and encourage others. I’m going to look for the good and I believe I’m going to find a LOT of it everyday.

When I feel myself getting sucked into negative thinking and doom & gloom, I’m going to come back here and read this post to remind myself how to get back on/stay on track.

No matter what the situation, giving up is never a good answer. We can always choose to tweak, adjust or even change course entirely. But as long as we remain honest, stay responsible for our own choices and keep moving forward, we retain our own personal power and dignity. With that there is peace and satisfaction at the end of every day.

OK. Enough about me. How about you?

What are you going to do to take care of yourself and keep moving forward?

What do you think about M’s quilt so far?

As always, I absolutely value and appreciate constructive comments and sharing. Please remember that in order to protect the blog and my readers from hideous spam posts I must approve each comment that is submitted. I have numerous responsibilities, so sometimes it takes a bit for me to get to reading and approving posts. Thanks in advance for anything you care to share. It means a lot to me.

A Quilt for M and Overcoming My Perfection Paralysis

M is my beautiful grandson. M will turn 3 soon. Can you believe I still haven’t made a quilt for him? This is shocking and almost criminal, I know.

Out of respect for M, his parent and our privacy concerns for them, I won’t be sharing pictures of him/them or any additional details about M himself.

But I want to use this occasion to share a personal secret with you. I suffer from a hideous disease called Perfection Paralysis.

Have you ever experienced this? It’s when you find yourself unable to perform the “ideas” that are in your head and begging to come out because you are afraid they won’t come out as perfectly as you imagine. BECAUSE…as long as they stay ideas in your mind they are perfect. But what ends up happening is that you don’t make many of the things you really want to create. M’s Quilt is a perfect example of this. He’s turning 3 and still no quilt has been made by me. This is OUTRAGEOUS to me and I’m fed up. I’m done with this disease.

Ugh. I’m the only one who can take action to cure it, you know. And one thing that’s become clear to me through all the stuff that’s happening in the world right now is that I no longer have time or luxury of allowing Perfection Paralysis a place in my life. So here I am, baring my soul in hopes that maybe I can help someone else free themselves of this hideous disease.

Sew…I turned this into a challenge for myself.

The challenge was to make a more “modernish” style quilt that has a lot of negative space (note: negative space is the space between, within and surrounding an object in an image) and to use ONLY the solid fabrics that I currently have on hand. This quilt will be a utilitarian/drag around cuddle quilt. I have removed any expectations of myself and I am creating and sewing with abandon as ideas come to me.

SEW…The picture above shows approximately 18″ of the bottom right corner of the quilt top. The M was cut out from pieced 1inch strips of many solid fabrics. I cut the M and fused it on. I will stitch it down with a durable zigzag/satin stitch. The colorful 1/2inch finished strip at the bottom was pieced into a floating border (and there is a mirror image of it at the top left side of the quilt top). It’s funny, I mused as I was sewing the colorful strips into the floating borders that they reminded me of military service ribbons.

As of right now, I plan to do either simple straight line or whimsical wavy line quilting across the quilt using my domestic sewing machine. I have always loved closely quilted horizontal straight line quilting. Fingers crossed and saying my prayers that I will get this thing finished, bound and sent off to M this week. Please send good thoughts my way.

Sew…my friends…what do you think? Do you have any thoughts or feedback? Constructive comments and feedback are always welcome! Please know that to protect you from seeing unwanted spam garbage I do have to approve each comment before it will post so there may be a delay in seeing your comment appear.

A Constant, Powerful Truth: The Sun Rises & The Sun Sets Every Day

It’s true.

No matter if there is chaos and confusion in the world. No matter if times are good or bad. As long as life on earth continues, the sun will rise and the sun will set each day.

The following three pictures capture an exceptionally stunning sunset this past Wednesday, March 26, 2020. The sequence was taken over approximately a three minute span.

I felt overwhelmed, humbled and blessed to have the opportunity immerse myself in this powerful experience. As it started, the bright yellow cast felt so intense it was eerie, unsettling and almost foreboding. But I stayed still. I waited and observed. I could not believe the incredible progression to the most incredible beauty I’ve ever seen in the skies. (These pictures which have not been filtered or adjusted are OK but don’t begin to show the true intensity). This experience was an excellent reminder that our human problems are truly small and insignificant in comparison to the ever powerful, constant truth which we have absolutely no control over.

To worry about the sun rising and setting would be silly because we can’t control that in the least (and that’s probably a very good thing).

I honestly believe the same goes for what is happening around the world right now.

All we can do is our best every day. We don’t know all the answers and how everything is going to play out. We have no control over this thing. To allow ourselves to become consumed with excessive worry serves no purpose other than to paralyze and weaken us; and it will diminish hope, strength and resolve both within us and in our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

So what do we do? Should we succumb to the fear mongers? Should we join in the fear mongering? Should we just give up and wait for the government to take care of all our needs?

I say, “No! We must each do the best we can. Individually and collectively. EVERY. DAY. We listen to the still, small voice inside of us and we get busy. We get really honest about what we CAN do every day to make our lives better for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our communities and we don’t wait for anyone to do it for us. We take back our power by remaining calm and controlling our own thoughts and our own actions. And it IS still very possible to do these things and follow the current safe social distance and shelter in place protocols.

There has never been a better time than right now to love, to be kind, to be thankful, to share, and most especially to offer hope to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Let’s take this opportunity to teach them how to stand strong in the face of adversity. Let’s teach them: How to sew. How to mend. How to fix things instead of throwing them away and getting new. How to clean up after themselves and help out more in the household. How to bake & cook. How to plant a garden (yes, even in a small apartment, one can grow a few things in containers–and it’s incredible how good home grown veg tastes!). How to can and preserve. Let’s teach them that they can be part of something bigger than themselves and the video games they play while they wait for you (or someone else) to take care of everything for them.

At the end of every day, the sun will set.
It’s more powerful than magic. It is a constant, powerful, indisputable truth.

Jeff and I send you warm wishes of love, good health, safety and peace. There is STILL sew much to be thankful for.

FINISHED: Twister Sofa Back Pillows Re-Cover Project

With all that’s going on in the world right now, I must admit that I found it very difficult to focus and force myself to finish this Twister Pillows sofa back pillows re-cover project. That said, I am so very glad I did.

Pushing through the daily madness and finding my rhythm in sewing and quilting the new pillow covers was actually quite healing. I guess because I was doing something that I “COULD DO” instead of worrying and being caught up in the insanity. And at the end of the day, I had something to show for it.

Quick recap. Here’s the BEFORE sofa look:

Here is the AFTER:

As mentioned previously, I needed to make my pillow covers larger than the pattern so I simply enlarged the borders. I also decided to apply a scrappy binding instead of the prescribed “turning” method which would have been OK, but I love the look of the scrappy binding.

The Twister Pillows pattern offered directions for two methods of closure on the back: Envelope Style and Zipper Closure. I opted for the zipper closure and I really like the professional feel and finish. Here are a few shots of that:

Twister Pillow Back Side – Zipper Closure Finish
Twister Pillow Back Side Zipper Detail
Zipper Detail Close-Up

There you have it!

I loved the process of making my Twister Pillows! In fact, after I finish a couple other small projects, I would really like to design and make a coordinating Twister Table Runner to put on our coffee table that sits in front of the sofa.

What do you think?

Do the new pillow covers improve the look of our living room?

Have you ever made Twister Pillows or any projects using the Lil Twister Tool?

I’d love to hear your constructive comments and sharing below!

Fear Itself…Is There An Art Quilt In This Somewhere?

RooRoo Cogburn and A Few of His Ladies: Who’s Chicken?!

It’s surreal.

Look around today and you are almost certain to find an overwhelming number of fear inducing messages from the mainstream media, social media and across the internet. I’ve been incredulous at the hysteria and resulting mass shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks, cleaning products and even (in my local area) bottled water, fresh foods, dry and canned goods and food in general. Shelves are noticeably empty.

I have been so shocked by all this that I decided to adjust my perspective from incredulity to one of curiosity and do a little research. Go ahead–please use virtually any search engine and quickly search the effects of fear on our bodies, on our minds, on our well-beings. It is astonishing to learn that simply the perception of fear in others can actually induce fear in us and an equal fear response in our bodies. Yikes. Sadly…the more fear spreads…well, the more it spreads.

According to a 2008 article written by Jay Winner, MD on psychologytoday.com (context: this article was written during the financial crisis):

Many people are living in fear that is made worse by constant consumption of news media. I am not a financial expert, so I would not presume to know the future course of our economy. (The financial experts, on the other hand, can correctly predict market direction almost 50% of the time.) We do, however, need to look at the motivations of the media who advise us. Keep in mind that one of the main goals of media is to keep you consuming it. If you quickly change the channel to another station, they don’t make money. Watching people talk about financial “concerns” will likely not keep your eyes glued to the tube as much as talk of a financial “crisis.” ”

This August 2017 article by Daniel Bennett (I encourage you to read through it via link provided) goes a bit further by describing a specific incident in Tennessee where a teacher complained of a terrible gas like odor in her classroom. She soon began feeling ill. Students in class almost immediately began demonstrating similar symptoms. Fire, police, ambulances came and evacuated the building taking more than 80 people to the hospital where many were kept/hospitalized overnight. Blood test results found nothing. Several subsequent official investigations found NOTHING.

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine attributed the outbreak to a phenomenon known as ‘mass psychogenic illness’, which occurs when the fear of infection spreads just as virulently as the disease itself. The students and staff had decided that, based on the behaviour of those around them, there was a real threat they needed to be afraid of.

What does this mean? Should we disregard this “virus” as a hoax? Absolutely not. We should absolutely be aware of it and EDUCATE ourselves. How can we educate ourselves? By seeking valid medical advice from a variety of trusted, credible and reputable sources. Always carefully consider the source.

Listening to media channels and reading internet speculations from people with no verifiable credentials (especially for any length of time) is NOT recommended.

Relying on speculation, gossip and participating in mass hysteria rarely results in a good outcome. We are our own best care-takers and advocates. Further, understanding that we can only control ourselves and that which is truly within our control is liberating. If we can focus on that while remaining calm, we begin to set an example for others.

What else? Perhaps turn off the tube/social media speculations (or at least limit) and GET BUSY. Take control of your present. Today is a gift. Use it. Treasure it. Sew. Quilt. Create. Go ahead. Let your inner artist acknowledge and express any fears you are experiencing. It’s OK to do this and let it out in a constructive manner. Make something for yourself. Make something for someone else. Check on family members, neighbors and friends (you can do all this from a distance via phone, text, email). Shine your light by doing something positive that is meaningful to you. I’ll do things that are meaningful to me. All together when we shine our lights, we make a difference. These things are healthy and good. In the DOING of shining our light of love we take back our power, find purpose and create/stimulate our own well-being.

In summary: Remain calm. Control intake of information and limit exposure to fear mongering. Educate using credible sources and resources. Take known preventative measures after evaluating several reputable sources. DO SOMETHING/ANYTHING POSITIVE.

I am not a scientist, medical expert or psychiatrist. I am just a girl who loves YOU and others. I want the best for you and for all of us. Life is so short and we are all only here for a little while. Let’s dig deep for that light of love and shine it brightly.

With that…it’s time for me to get back to my projects for the day. Happy sewing, quilting and creating. Let’s get back to looking for the good in life and really living it. Love is the answer. Forward is the way. WE CAN DO THIS!