Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 345 of 365

It's Day 345. 20 days to go to 365.

I'm anxious for it to get here. I feel like I'm in limbo. Knowing it's almost over I'm dragging my feet on starting any new changes in my life.

When I started a year ago, I had a clear goal. Take a picture every day to show that I had lived. I've accomplished that goal. Now it's getting time to come up with a new goal. While I'll continue with the picture-a-day, I need something else, too. But right now I don't know what that "else" is. I'm hoping something will present itself to me in the next 20 days. Something that will inspire me to reach another goal.

While I don't have a clear, life-changing goal, I do have some charity goals laid out. I'll do more sewing than I did this year - more quilts for kids, more stockings for soldiers, more turtle pillows for turtle camp. That means more than 35 quilts, more than 80 stockings, and more than 24 pillows. But other than that it's unknown. (Although it probably would be smart to start working on beating this past year's exercise streak of 120 consecutive days.)

So here I sit and wait. Wait and work on another quilt. I took a quilt top from my unfinished project basket and cut it up. I added some fabric left over from the baby quilt I made on Day 11, some crumb blocks from Day 111, and strips I organized on Day 334. A new quilt top is born.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 344 of 365

Yesterday I was quite discouraged about my charity quilting-for-kids work. Linda gave me some encouraging words that helped.

It also helped today that I received a large envelope in the mail addressed to me, the "YouTube Video Director". It was from the Stockings for Soldiers organization. (I sent them 80 stockings on Day 222.) On  Day 237 my tutorial for the day was on how to make the stockings for the program. I had sent them the link to the video on YouTube and they used it with their volunteers. In the envelope I received a nice thank you note signed by a couple dozen of the organization's folks and a couple of certificates of appreciation. One was for me and one was for the kids at Marsing High School who had gathered all the goodies for the stockings on Day 252.

The kids almost didn't get their certificate today, though.

The disagreement discussion negotiation started before 5 AM this morning. I was planning on sleeping in since I had the day off, but PJB (AKA Pajama Boy, AKA hubby) decided he wasn't going to school today. Again. So the agreement to get him (and me) through the day was that he would take the morning off and go to school after lunch. He followed through on his end of the bargain and the kids got their certificate.

And since I didn't get to sleep in, I got a picture of the foggy, hazy moon before six o'clock in the morning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 343 of 365

This week I've been feeling like I'm on shaky quilting waters and have started questioning my work. Am I doing the right thing by sewing all these? Is it a good use of my time, is the quality up to par? When I send the quilts off, do they really go where they are supposed to?

I've been making quilts for Operation Kid Comfort. (That's the group where the kids have parents serving in the military.) I make those quilts with pictures sewn into them, but they haven't sent me any more pictures in a couple months. I've e-mailed several times since before Christmas hoping to receive more pictures, but I haven't even received an e-mail response. It makes me wonder if I'm being ignored because they got word from parents that the kids didn't like their quilts.

Quilts for Kids is another group I do work for. Typically I request a couple kits from their fabric and then I make a couple out of my fabric. Every time - and it has been many times now - they send me those kits. This week when I received my kits, I only received one. It made me wonder if they don't trust me with two.

My daughter called the other day when I was working on a quilt and she asked if I was selling it. (She doesn't read my blog so she doesn't know how much time I really spend on making them to give away.) I went through the whole explanation of how many I do and where I send them. She was concerned I was spending too much money on all of it - the fabric, thread, batting, and postage - to continue doing it without any income from them coming in. It made me wonder if I am spending too much money doing them.

And then the Disaster Auction quilt has been in the back of my mind. Since Pajama Boy didn't go, not knowing how much the quilt fetched has been bugging me. My husband has been doing some checking with the folks running the thing and I knew an answer would be coming soon. I fully expected that today I would be writing about how I would never do a quilt for the auction again. That $25 is all that the quilt raised and that it was a waste of my time.

With the lack of responses from Operation Kid Comfort, the reduction in quilt kits from Quilts for Kids, my daughter's concern about the pricey-ness of the work, and the $25 thought looming over my head, I wasn't looking forward to going into the sewing room.

My husband's phone call saved the day and saved my sanity.

$150. My wall quilt fetched $150 at the Marsing Disaster Auction. I can move forward now. 

I've quilted waves throughout the sea turtle quilt. It's all done and I'm ready for the next one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Handmade Chocolate Covered Blackberries - Day 342 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

I love strawberries. I love them with sugar, I love them without sugar. I love them covered with chocolate.

But I discovered something I love covered with chocolate more than strawberries. Blackberries. We still have a few berries leftover from Costco and it occurred to me that if chocolate covered strawberries were tasty, chocolate covered blackberries would be just as good.

I was wrong. Chocolate covered blackberries are even better. They are easier to make, easier to eat, and in my opinion, even tastier. 

Actually, they just might be one of the best things I've ever tasted. So today's tutorial is the quickest and easiest thing I've ever made (and certainly the best tasting).

Click on the video below for the directions:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 341 of 365

After much cajoling and encouragement (and harassing) by me, Pajama Boy finally went to work.

A full day at home by myself. Finally, a full day of doing whatever I wanted. Hitting the sewing room for most of the day was the plan. After the way I woke up this morning I was tempted to stay away, though.

When I do repetitive tasks, it's not my muscles that bother me. It's the joints. The swelling in the joints puts pressure on the nerves, which in turns makes body parts numb and tingly. With all the ironing and rotary cutting I've been doing lately, my right shoulder has been getting quite the workout. All through the night my right shoulder was bothering me and by the time morning came around, the shoulder/elbow/wrist/hand joints were so swollen my arm and hand were completely numb. Completely numb and not willing to return to normal. It took quite some time to get feeling back.

But I couldn't give up the sewing. I had to do it.

I did it almost up until that 3:15 run to pick hubby up from school.

When I came home I caught someone napping in my bed.