Thursday, March 3, 2016

February Finish All People Quilt UFO Challenge

The project number chosen for March is #3 and I'm so relieved that it is not my other BOM project! I'm burnt out from complicated piecing and need a "breather" by way of a simple project to work on. 

My No. 3 this month is a Thanksgiving table runner that I started in 2011.   It was a project in the October/November 2011 issue of The Quilter magazine.   I was really drawn to the design because it used batik fabrics and I like the dimension that they added to the pumpkins and leaves.   They remind me of the Cinderella pumpkins and turban squash.

I was wondering if any of you subscribe to one or more quilt magazines each month?   I have to confess that while I don't subscribe to ANY magazines,  I will occasionally look through them when I'm in the magazine aisle,  but I rarely purchase one unless there's several unique projects that I really, really like. 

I have taken many classes and practiced but I am not skilled at FMQ, so MY machine quilting is done with a regular presser foot.  I then follow lines or designs that I've marked on the quilt top.

The piecing and applique are done, so I hope to get the machine embroidery and quilting completed as well as the self-binding.

For my February project I had chosen the Vintage Memories quilt and I now have all of the blocks finished.   I only had Block #8 and 9 left and now that those are complete, I will be able to piece the quilt top in between projects.  I'm really committed to finishing this quilt THIS YEAR!

 It's been a very hectic month and I don't see it letting up soon,  I'm just grateful that February came and went a lot easier than it did in 2015. My sister and I are trying to prep my dad's house for sale this spring and that means every weekend we are there purging, cleaning and making runs to Savers and the Salvation Army with drop offs.   I also started a full-time job this week so my project time is seriously diminished, which is another reason that I'm glad this month's UFO challenge project is an easy one.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

UFO Challenge

Just wondering if any of you are doing the UFO challenge here ?  I saw this referenced on another blog and decided to look into it.   According to the website, you identify twelve UFO's that you want to finish over the next year and number them from 1-12 on a downloadable form along with their current status. 

At the beginning of each month, a random number is selected.  Whichever project on your list corresponds to the number drawn, is what you work on for that month.   I'm getting into this a month and a half late, so I cheated a little.  This month's project # is 5, so I'm working on my Vintage Memories quilt which I put in the #5 slot.   I have seven of the nine blocks completed, so I'm hoping to finish all of the blocks and maybe even get some of the borders cut.

I had to go through the cabinets and shelves in my very messy craft room to locate the UFO's that I wanted to add to my list and found a lot more than twelve!  Yikes!  I had to use the back of the form.

Have any of you been shocked when you've realized how many UFO's you have or the money that's tied up in them?   I know we all start out with good intentions and a generous heart, wanting to feed our creative spirit and make beautiful gifts, but while I was ferreting out kits and patterns from shelves and cabinets, I started calculating the cost and it adds up to a staggering amount. 

I have two BOM quilts that I purchased and each kit was about $20.00 a month, plus the finishing kits which ran about another $40.  So I'm estimating each was around $200.00 to $250.00 not including any extra FQ's or yardage that I purchased because I loved it at the time. 

I also have a tote bag kit that I bought to make for a friend that was $50.00;  (4) four Patchabilities "monthly mini" kits that I purchased for about $20.00 each;  another Halloween BOM quilt kit (I bought one pattern but three separate fabric kits to make three of these) at a cost of $35. each plus the pattern $15.00; two charm packs, yardage and pattern and an a machine embroidery alphabet and design to make a Christmas stocking for my grandson at a cost $40.00.

This doesn't include the stashes of fabric, pre-cuts or  partially complete projects that are over 20 years old and non-sewing projects like the afghan for my sister I've been working on for 7 years!

When do you cut your losses and let go of projects you know you don't want to finish and what do you do with them?  Do you sell them online, donate them, swap with other crafting friends?  I'd love to know in the comments section.   Please share? 

I'm also thinking of having an online "yard sale' in the next few weeks so stay tuned.   I'll be listing some fabrics and patterns and there will also be a give-away! 

I'm still looking for a pattern I bought back in 2011 or 2012 for a purse made with strips of batting wrapped with batik fabrics.  I went to the Sewing Diva yesterday which is where I originally bought the pattern.  She no longer carries it but told me the name and because I didn't write it down, I forgot it before I got home.   It begins with "Auntie" something or other so if anyone knows what the rest is, please leave it in the comments below.

Well, I'm off to work on #5 for a few hours and then, since it's a beautiful day outside for a long walk!



Thursday, January 28, 2016

One Year Later

I never intended to go this long between posting on my blog but as John Lennon said "Life is what happens when you're making other plans."  And, sometimes when you're making those other plans and life is happening around you, you change focus on what is important.

My sister and I noticed a change in my dad's behavior after my mother passed away in 2013.  We were beginning to suspect that it was some sort of dementia and did some searches on the internet.  We would get middle of the night phone calls with bizarre stories of visitors knocking on the door, or else asking us where our mother had gone.  Sometimes they were irate calls filled with anger towards us for not understanding and sometimes we could hear the fear and confusion in his voice.

During this time, there were also several "incidents" and ER visits where the VNA and elder services got involved.  He flooded the basement, and set the oven on fire but he was at the time still very resistant to any kind of help or outside services that were offered and when I signed him up for meals on wheels, he called and cancelled the program.  We were told that it was no longer safe for him to live alone, so when I had a job offer nearby that allowed me to move in it seemed like a good solution.  For a while it worked and the middle-of-the-night calls stopped.

Then in mid-December 2014 when neither of us were there, my father's dementia required another ER visit and this time he was transferred from the ER to a geriatric hospital that specialized in dementia.  There the diagnosis was confirmed and over the course of several weeks they tried him on medications and dosages until they felt he was stabilized enough to be released home with 24-hour supervision and day care.  

That never worked out.  Shortly before his release, he acquired an acute viral infection that nearly killed him and left him weak and unable to walk without assistance.  I won't go into all the details but after he recovered, he spent time in nine different institutions and I watched my dad decline steadily with each move.

Dad passed away last September alone in a nursing home.  My sister got the call from the nursing home that morning but she got there just minutes too late to hold his hand and say goodbye.  I was away on my first real vacation in ten years.  And even now, my heart breaks when I think of him alone without me.  Though in my heart I know that it would have been what he wanted.

My father was not a very sentimental man.  I know he mourned the deaths of close friends and the three brothers who preceded him but he would also admonish my mother, sister and I when we were overly sentimental.  Maybe that came from growing up Irish and poor during the depression, or maybe because he was a Boston policeman or soldier in the Korean war whatever the reason, he was pragmatic about death and violence and saw more of it than most.

I do not think I really knew him well, the private man or his hopes and dreams.  I wish that was different and I wish now that I'd spent more time with him; knew his friends and talked with him more than I did, but my sister and I were our mother's girls and my father always seemed happy that we chose her to spend our visits with.  We relied on my father for his technical expertise--he was the most amazing handyman and mechanic and a reliable worker.  Self-taught, he could do anything from plumbing to carpentry.  One thing I have learned since from his many neighbors,  was that he was also generous with his skills and time.

I am grateful for those six months that I had with him during the summer of 2014.  I made dinner for us both on a broken stove while he shared stories about his family, youthful adventures and lost loves.  We watched  television and sometimes went out to eat at the "99" which he loved.  We took a few walks at a park he loved and admired his beautiful lawn while sitting outside one summer evening.  Looking back, I think he knew he would lose some of those memories and wanted to share them before he did. 

Good-bye Dad.  Thank you for being my dad.  I love you.

John Crowley
8/4/29 to 9/27/15