All quiet on the western front …

Or at least the home front. I haven’t really been involved in the studio due to some personal things. I’ll be back in the studio this week, though, and I hope to be able to post some new stuff in the coming days. I’ve been more interested in getting past this week than I have been in sewing and doing artsy/craftsy things, but now I can focus on things that are more fun.

In other news, I have a new blog that will document my transition from corporate life into the next phase. I’d be so happy if you’d stop by and take a look.

Until next time …

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Lessons in patience and frustration

Last week, I wrote about all my plans for the free time I would have now that I’ve left Corporate America behind. I was so excited and looking forward to doing what I want, when I want to do it. I’d like to report back to you that I’ve been having a great time doing all the things I planned, and more, but alas, that is not the case. Instead, what I can report is that I’ve been sick all week. At times, I’ve been so sick that even the idea of walking up the stairs to my bedroom seemed like unnecessary torture. Not only that, but the few times I’ve felt well enough to drag myself in to the studio, my results have been frustrating and irritating, to say the least. In fact, nearly everything I’ve touched this week has resulted in similar feelings of ineptitude and irritation. The only thing that has truly worked in my favor is sitting on my butt, watching Netflix and playing on the iPad.

So that you don’t think I’m exaggerating, here, in no particular order, is a partial list of the things I have failed at miserably in the last seven days …

  • I decided that since I was sick, and didn’t really feel like doing much standing, I would work on improving my Electric Quilt 7 (EQ7) skills. EQ7 is a great program that quilters can use to plan out quilts, and I’ve long wanted to master it. I did some tutorial courses a few months ago, and I thought that maybe it was time to give it another go, so I pulled out my notebook and opened the program. But something is wrong, and I cannot open the Sketchbook. The Sketchbook is the “clipboard” that stores the blocks and fabrics you’ve planned to use on your quilt, and without it, nothing is going to happen. So now I’m waiting on technical support to tell me what I’m doing wrong (it must be my fault, right?).
  • I thought I would try scanning the patterns from the Amy Bradley Campers quilt into the Brother ScanNCut. I’ve had the SNC for probably a year, but I haven’t used it to its full potential, so I thought I’d try using it for this. At first, I couldn’t get the patterns to scan properly, but then I figured out it was the way I was trying to scan them. Got that figured out, and got a block’s worth of pieces scanned in, so I thought I’d test it out with some “throw away” fabric, and maybe use that to make a cute sewing machine cover for one of the machines. But I couldn’t get the Wonder Under to adhere to the fabric. I thought I finally got it to adhere, so I tried cutting a couple of the pieces on the SNC, but … wow. It was a mess. An utter mess.

Brother SNC trial

  • When that didn’t work out, I thought I’d try using the AccuQuilt Go! Baby I bought last year but haven’t used much (are you noticing a theme here?) to play around with applique. While I knew I wouldn’t use it to do the Amy Bradley quilt, I figured I could get some practice fusible interfacing and such. I happened by SewVac City in College Station yesterday and bought a new die to use with my Baby, a cute owl I thought would be fun to work with … but again, I still can’t get the fusible to fuse to my fabric! At least the die cuts fabric well …

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I could go on, but I think you get the picture. So I’ve decided to take the antibiotics the doctor gave me today and wait a couple days to see if my abilities improve with my health. Because I mean, what else can I do? I think that one more failure might push me to the edge of sanity and let’s face it – I’m already barely hanging on as it is!

I will say this – if I cannot figure out how to get the applique thing going, next week I’m going to do something I know I CAN do and piece a quilt!

Take the money & run

Yesterday was my last day in Corporate America, so “Take the Money & Run” by the Steve Miller Band was my theme song all day. Yep, I’m that kind of nerd, but I have come to accept and even embrace my nerdiness. LOL After going to the office one last time to turn in my computer, badge and assorted CorpAm paraphernalia, I went in search of the last bits of stuff I need to start the Amy Bradley Campers quilt.

Amy Bradley's brilliant quilt pattern, Campers!

Amy Bradley’s brilliant quilt pattern, Campers!

I am crazy about this pattern! I first saw it when I was shopping at my favorite LQS, Painted Pony & Quilts, a few months ago. They had to order the pattern, and I got it ages ago, but I didn’t have time to dig in to it. Now I have lots of time to devote to making it. It’s my first project post-CorpAm. 😉 And I have the PERFECT fabric for it …

Adorable Route 66 fabric by Robert Kaufman

Adorable Route 66 fabric by Robert Kaufman

I first fell in love with this fabric a few years ago when I visited another favored LQS, Sew Contempo. Sew Contempo became All Brands last year, and I think it’s better than ever, but I digress. I didn’t buy this fabric the first time I saw it, but it haunted me, and eventually I gave in and made a trip all the way back to the store (which is about 50-ish miles away) to pick up a couple yards. It has acted as my inspiration for the rest of the fabrics, and will serve as a larger than called for border in my final quilt. Speaking of the rest of the fabric, I am really excited about the colorway this quilt has taken on, and the cute fabrics I’ve found for the campers …

Route 66 Coordinates

Route 66 Coordinates

I think it’s going to be really cute. Now, the original pattern is like, child sized, or maybe wall sized?? Well, you know that’s not going to work for me, so I’m going to add at least one more column of campers, and some additional borders. While I certainly love Amy’s original pattern, I want something I can actually use as a throw. Oh, and did I mention that this will be my very first applique quilt ever?? Ambitious? Perhaps, but I think it will be totally worth it.

I have been toying with the idea of using my Brother CutNScan to cut the pieces for the campers, and I’m going to give it a shot tomorrow, because I don’t have a lightbox. I could order a lightbox, but it will be sometime next week before it gets here, at the earliest. I could build a lightbox, but after pricing the lights for the box, it would be cheaper to order one off Amazon. Trust me, I’ve looked every where I can think to buy one locally, except for the camera store, because I KNOW how much they’ll cost there. I never could afford a lightbox when photography was my main hobby! But the CutNScan has possibilities …

At any rate, words cannot begin to describe how excited I am about starting this project. I am really looking forward to putting together different fabrics to make the campers, and I’ve even toyed with the idea of mixing colors within in the blocks. *gasp* But seriously, how can you go wrong with a retro camper quilt?!?

I’ll keep ya updated on my progress; Lord knows I’ll have plenty of time to post now that I’m not working. 😉

In to the home stretch

Today, I’m starting my last week of employment with my current company. While I’ve got a plan for the future, I’m still a little nervous. I feel like I’m jumping off the deep end, working without a net … taking unusual risks that I normally wouldn’t take, at least not with my livelihood. And yet, I feel like it’s the right thing to do. It’s definitely time to move on from Corporate America and take the next step.

However, all of this change and upheaval have taken a toll on my studio time. I just have not been focused enough to do anything in there lately. I have the Cat in the Hat quilt in the process of being free motion quilted, but I haven’t felt the pull to work on it lately. I haven’t been able to focus on anything creative because I felt the need to nail down a plan of action on my career first. I did some fabric dyeing in yellow, which turned out quite well, in my opinion.

Deep Yellow Fabric Dyeing

As far as my career goes, I’m registered for a couple of “spring late start” classes at the local community college. It feels weird to be going back to school now, but I think that getting the accounting courses completed and sitting for the CPA (and possibly the CPB – Certified Public Bookkeeper) exam is the right thing to do. I’m going to be starting my own bookkeeping business on a part time basis at first, then once I’ve gotten my certification(s) out of the way, I’ll expand to a full time business. I’m doing a weekend seminar in March on how to start and run a successful and profitable small business. I’ve got my summer classes planned out, even though I have another month before I can register for them. Once I had all this worked out, I began to feel far more confident about my impending unemployment. In fact, I’m really beginning to look forward to it!

One thing I have realized, though, is that I need to be sure I have regularly scheduled things to do, because if I don’t I have a tendency to want to just sit around doing a whole lot of nothing. OK, maybe not nothing, but I do not need to sit around for hours several days a week to read books, or crochet or knit. I can do those things in the evenings, while watching tv, or in lieu of watching tv. I don’t really have anything specifically planned until  my classes start in March, so until then, I’m going to take a couple of classes on my new Pfaff sewing machine, do my spring cleaning, make some things that I might decide to sell, and spend time working on a business plan. I also intend to make myself some clothing and spend some time with family.

Hopefully, my next post won’t be about work stuff, and I can share some new projects I’m working on, or have finished!