2013 Recap

This has been quite the year for me and my family. Here’s a little look back on what’s been going on around our place over the last twelve months …

In January, I really got into fabric dyeing.

This was among my first batch of dyed fabric. I love the bright colors!

This was among my first batch of dyed fabric. I love the bright colors!

It became one of my favorite ways to add fabric to my quilts, and my stash, and I think at this point, there’s no going back. I’m not using dyed fabric in every quilt, but it’s made an appearance in one or two and people really seem to love it.

In February, I traveled back to London for business. It was crazy cold there, and snowed more than once during my trip! This South Texas girl certainly wasn’t ready for that weather, but it was beautiful in a cold sort of way. I didn’t get any good photos of the snow, but have no fear – I have to go back in January 2014, so I have another chance. The weather also lived up to its famous reputation while I was there …

Rain in London, February 2013

Rain in London, February 2013

In March, Ricco came to live with me. He’s been a faithful companion all year long, and I’ve really enjoyed having him as part of my life. 

April brought my annual physical results, which weren’t great but weren’t horrible either. I set a lot of goals, some of which I attained and some I did not. I still have a long way to go with this one, but I’m working on it.

In May, I gave canning tomatoes a shot, and it was a huge success.

My first batch of canned tomatoes

My first batch of canned tomatoes

June saw the graduation of my son and his friends from high school – last one of my kids out of public schools – and we celebrated.

Party

My foster son, JT, left for college in Ohio in July, so we had a going away party for that …

JT leaves for college

JT leaves for college

In August, we bought a new car!

Ford Edge

In September, my daughter got MARRIED.

My daughter gets married

My daughter gets married

In October, I finished the first of two commission quilts, this one for my friend Heather.

The front of Heather's quilt

The front of Heather’s quilt

My son-in-law also left for Army boot camp, and we found out shortly after that my daughter was pregnant (I’m too young to be a grandmother, I’m pretty sure!).

In November, my daughter and I attended the Houston Quilt Festival.

Houston Quilt Festival

We also enjoyed celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, of course.

Finally, in December, I finished the second of the commission quilts, for my friend Pam. We had wonderful Christmas celebrations with our families, and we were able to spend time on Christmas day with the kids for the first time in 14 years (they’ve always spent Christmas day with their dad since we split).

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

I don’t really know what changes 2014 will bring, except that we anticipate my son-in-law will be stationed somewhere around late April/early May, and in July we’ll be welcoming a new addition to the family. But 2013 was a very good year for us, and since I’m never one to just sit around waiting for things to happen, I am excited to see what 2014 has to offer.

Happy New Year’s to you and your family!

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2014 – The Year of Challenges

Every year, I make several New Year’s Resolutions, and every year I make little or no progress in attaining them. So this year, I decided to scrap the ideas of making resolutions and instead, choose a word or phrase that would embody what I want to accomplish this year. After a lot of consideration of words like create (as in, create new things), make (ie., make a difference), and accept (you know, accept the things I can’t change), I landed on challenge and I knew it was the right word for 2014.

The challenges I’m thinking of involve things like learning new quilting techniques and taking on more intricate projects. Challenge myself to make healthier choices, and to get to the gym. Once I do start back at the gym, the challenge will be to increase my work out levels. Challenge myself to get more organized, or to clear out the clutter. The point isn’t to make a specific set of goals, but to just strive for … well, I guess you’d call it continuous improvement. The idea is to continue to move forward in life, not rest on my laurels and be content with the way things are right now. I mean, I AM content with my life on the whole, and I’m not looking to shake up every detail in my life, but more to remember that without some self imposed challenges, I won’t get better at whatever it is I want to improve upon – my health, my quilting, my professional life – whatever I may decide I want to focus on during a given period.

Now, this might sound like a recipe for failure, or that I’ve got no goals, and that isn’t true. There will definitely be goals involved, but they will be smaller and more manageable than setting one big goal at the beginning of the year that I will likely forget by March. For example, in January, I am challenging myself to spend at least 15 minutes every day working on my free motion quilting skills. I am also challenging myself to rid the house of high calorie, low impact (well, low impact to everything but my ass) foods. Good bye cookies and cakes. Hello, fruits and yogurt. No specific weight loss goals in January, just a desire to do better with my eating and general health.

If I don’t make it to the gym for a couple of days, or I have a bad day or two of eating, I can challenge myself to get back on track. If my free motion quilting doesn’t look as good as I want it to, I can challenge myself to improve. One challenge I’ve already set for myself is to finish up by mid-year at least three of the UFO (unfinished object) quilts I have in my studio right now. I want to take on more complex quilting projects, too.

So, 2014 will be The Year of Challenges. I’m looking forward to taking on a variety of projects that will push me to step outside my comfort zone and allow me to expand my knowledge and skill set in the coming year!

Pam’s quilt – completed!

Sorry I haven’t been around the last month – I just couldn’t get enough time to log in, let alone actually write a post. That’s what happens to me at year end, every year. No matter how well prepared I think I am, it all just falls apart. Such is the life of the corporate employed accounting types.

Anyway, I thought I’d eek out a few minutes to share with you the completed quilt I made for Pam. Can you believe it’s ready to ship?! I just started it the last week of October, and here it is the middle of December, ready to ship! If anyone had told me I could finish this quilt in just six weeks, I wouldn’t have believed them. And it turned out to be a very generous size as well – 60″ x 76″ … bigger than the average lap quilt, smaller than a twin size bed quilt. But enough about all that … Now for the quilt!

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This is the first quilt I’ve ever used Free Motion Quilting in, though I have practiced on squares several times. It’s not perfect, but I like the way it turned out …

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It’s sort of hard to see where the “mess ups” might be on the front (above) but on the back on some of the lighter colored fabric, it’s easier to see that it isn’t so fluid.

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And speaking of the back … I really like the way the back turned out!

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Yes, it is wonky, and yes, it is on purpose.

Overall, I am very pleased with how this quilt turned out, and I think it will be beautiful for years to come. I just hope Pam likes it as much as I do!