Friday, June 23, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 06/23

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

LeeAnna Paylor, whose blog is Not Afraid of Color, suggested I try my hand at writing an "I Like" post. After the initial knee jerk reaction (more work; no way) I have decided to give it a go this week. Why the change of heart? It's simple really, I begin each morning by sitting at my desk and writing two pages in my gratitude journal. Much of what I am grateful for are things that I like. So, it isn't a big stretch to share some of the things I like wit you. 


Picking Up the Pieces #4,
my current in work in progress.
1) I like routine. The very fact that I start my day by writing in my gratitude journal means I don't have to wonder how to start my day.

2) I've been keeping a gratitude journal without missing a single day for approximately 20 years. I like to write with a Uniball Vision Elite Micro pen in a spiral lined notebook, preferably college ruled. The pen is vital. I like the way it glides over the paper. I'm left handed and writing with ink, especially using a ball point pen, results in blobs on the paper and ink smears on my hand. The ruled paper helps me with alignment.

3) I like getting my exercise in next. What I do varies with the weather and the day of the week. What rarely varies is getting my exercise in before the "work" of the day begins. This also means I only have to change from pajamas, to exercise clothes, to daily clothes, and back to pajamas most days. I also don't have to stop what I am doing, breaking the flow of concentration to get out and exercise. 

4) I like fruit in my cereal and since discovering almond coconut milk, that is my preferred cereal milk. Yum.  I am lactose sensitive and avoiding cow's milk makes me feel much better. I like feeling comfortable after eating. 

5) I like having a designated, always set up, studio space to create fiber art in. When I began quilting 30 years ago I used our dining room. Eventually, I took over a spare bedroom. It was cramped, but functional. Our move, seven years ago, gave me an actual studio, with room to spare. It's heaven. Although, I may procrastinate walking into the studio, I find when I do, it is easy to get work. I am like one of Pavlov's dogs. I may not salivate when I enter my studio, but I naturally start working with very little thought.

Here is what I have been working on this week: 

A detail from Picking Up the Pieces #4. Right
click on the image for a better view of the
feathers I quilted in the pink sections.
1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4 - Done!

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3 - Not yet.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!

I have been practicing filling space with feathers while doing the free motion quilting on Picking Up the Pieces #4. I had lots of practice this week. The more I did the better I got at the logic of where to start, where to go next, and how to fill the odd spaces, while making it look like what is there was my intention all along.

4) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

Next week will be more of the same. Perhaps that should be less of the same. I have various commitments which will reduce, but not eliminate my studio time. I look forward to spending what time I do have on the following:

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice


I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 06/16



Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

We often see herons
fly over the lake, or
catch glimpses of them
between the cattails,
since they tend to nest
or fish right at the shore's
edge. This week we were
treated to one far enough
from shore, perching on
branch so we could
observe it from our condo.
I'm thinking this has
potential to be the incentive
for Reflection #3.
The National Bike Challenge has begun in earnest for me. I've lost track of how many years my husband and I have been participants. I believe this may be our fifth year. Personally, I find it a great motivator to get out and ride. The challenge began as health challenge for employees of the Kimberly Clark Corporation. If you live in Appleton, WI, as I do, home to Kimberly Clark, it is known as KC and it is one of the largest employers in town. What makes this competition stellar for me, is that it is designed to encourage regularly riding versus weekend warriors. It does this by giving you 20 points for every day you ride and an additional point per mile. Therefore, if you ride as little as 1 mile a day, you automatically get 147 points for the week. If you rode one 50 mile bike ride on Saturday, it is just 70 points. I'm a natural "regular" rider and endurance versus sprinting is my strength. It is as though the National Bike Challenge was designed with me in mind. :)

We have two primary routes we ride depending on the day. When you ride the same route every day it is like making pots. The more times you ride it, the better you get at avoiding that pot hole which is tricky to see, divining the perfect spot to cross the railroad tracks, and even how to ride beside the tractor trailer trucks entering and leaving Great Northern. Once the basics become second nature it leaves the mind open to free association and/or problem solving. When scenery is no longer novel, you begin to notice the slight variations. For example the warmer than normal day when we spotted multiple turtles laying eggs. And oh, the sunrises! They range from subtle to spectacular. 

Picking Up the Pieces #4 went from
most of the blocks were nearly finished,
to settling on a design, seaming the blocks,
preparing the quilt sandwich, and finally
beginning the quilting.
What does participating in the National Bike Challenge have to do with making fiber art? Repetition. The more fiber art you make, the more you note what was difficult when you were first starting out has become second nature now. This leaves room to enjoy the nuances. Enjoy them I did, this week as I have been working on a piece which is technically easy for me, but only because I have 30 years of making quilts and art quilts behind me. 

Here is how the week went:

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4 - Done!

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3 - Not Yet.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!

We biked every single day this week. In fact, we have biked 19 days in a row. 

4) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

When I'm not pedaling down the road, this is my plan on how best to use my studio time next week:

My quilting goal for Picking Up the Pieces #4
is to bring in a lot of texture while not distracting
from the Mondrian-esque piecing.
1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice



I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 06/09


Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Multitasking is a myth. What you are really doing is alternating tasks rapidly or as Dave Crenshaw has defined it, you are Switch Tasking. If you think you are the maven of multitasking, I highly encourage you to go to the this link Crenshaw's exercise and take the test. When I did this years ago it changed how I managed my time. 


One of my tasks is co-managing
Knitted Knockers of the Fox Cities.
These are knitted and crocheted breast
prosthetics. They are more comfortable to
wear than the standard plastic prosthetic.
We will be delivering our first set of 

twenty-five pairs of knockers to the 
Fox Valley Hematology and Oncology 
Center shortly. There are a group
of us to knit knockers. Mine recent
pair is the beige set lower left. 

I am often asked how I find the time to do all that I do. Like most people I find there is never enough time to do all I wish to do. Still, I find by compartmentalizing my time I get more done than if I bounce back and forth. I still struggle with ignoring checking my email, but for the most part, I read and respond to email three designated times a day. I assign Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as my studio days. I will not schedule appointments or visit with others during these days unless there are no other options. On Wednesday I take care of the business of being a professional fiber artist. Fridays are set aside to write my blog, do the laundry and pay the bills. Saturday my husband and I look forward to running household errands together and treating ourselves to lunch out. 

What I have learned doesn't work for getting into the studio is clearing away business, emails, household chores and other tasks first, then hoping there is time to work in the studio. If I do all that I believe must get done before I give myself permission to head to the studio, I am guaranteed never to see my studio again. 

Yes, I did manage to spend time in my studio on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week. Not as much time as I might have liked due to inbox overflow for my volunteer work, but enough time to make progress on the following:

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4 - Done!

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3 - Not yet.

3) Pot(s) made this week - Done!
Four of the sixteen blocks needed for
Picking Up the Pieces #4 in a
pleasing arrangement.

I've been paper piecing the same block over and over again. Last week I said I would make six blocks in total. What can I say? I laid out the first five blocks and decided the piece would look better with sixteen blocks. Although each block looks the same, I can attest to the fact that I am learning, or relearning the nuances of paper piecing which work best for me.

4) Free motion quilting practice - Didn't get to it.

I am combing FaceBook, Leah Day's Newsletter and Pinterest for free motion quilting motif ideas for when it comes time to quilt Picking Up the Pieces #4

It hasn't taken me long to get back into the flow of my compartmentalized life since I returned from my travels. It feels as if I never left, which for me is a good thing. It means I have a natural rhythm going, allowing me studio time to attend to the following next week:

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice


I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Week in Review 2017 - 06/02


Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

One of four similar containers
on our balcony.
Can it really be two months since my last post?  I greatly admire other bloggers who post several times a week even when travel and life add to their work load. Since my blog focuses on my studio work, something I can't physically do when I travel, a hiatus became necessary. Yesterday was my first day immersed in the studio since mid April. What a treat! I had forgotten how quickly the world falls away and I become engrossed in creating. 

The first of six blocks for my current
work in progress.
The disruption due to travel (I was away from home for 32 out of the last 45 days), coupled with gray, overcast skies left me longing for color. No surprise I selected the hot pink petunias to fill the balcony containers this year. It is also why I selected jewel tone hand dyed fabrics for my current project. Color both brings a smile to my face and relaxes me.

I'm looking forward to spending more time in the studio and plan to focus on the following:

1) Work on Picking Up the Pieces #4

2) Finish Picking Up the Pieces #1 and #3

3) Pot(s) made this week

4) Free motion quilting practice

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.