Tuesday, April 30, 2019

This is the Year! Do the Unthinkable!

Image from: https://www.cntraveller.in

And just like that, April is now over...I don't know about you but it seems that there is never enough time to get everything done.  I have so many sewing and quilting projects that I want to do (& quilt shows on my calendar) that I started a list so I wouldn't forget about them and mainly thinking it would help me focus on getting them done.  If anything, I've been adding to the list.

St. Mary's Quilt Show 2019

In addition to the birthdays, anniversaries, and other such engagements my family will have, May starts a new chapter for many...graduations will be here soon and so will the parties.  Don't forget about Mother's Day either...I have that on my agenda as well.  I need to find the perfect gifts for the mothers in our lives and I have limited time to do it in.  Remember Easter?  I just got that packed up in my house.  May is also a hot time for quilt shows!  (I'm working on a post of sources for you find quilt shows near you...watch for it next week!)  I love a good quilt show and there are MANY coming up that you will want to add to your schedule!

I was at a guild board meeting last month and while we were discussing a new task that needed to be done, most of everyone looked in my direction to do it.  I did the unthinkable: I told them my plate is full.  I heard snickering and someone commented "We all have full plates" under their breath thinking I didn't hear it.

Well I did, so I said  "I also have a two year old at home" not in daycare, but at home with me.  She makes my schedule for me, know what I mean?  Another response was "We all had kids" from the same person (insert eye roll here - key word "HAD" her kids are grown and now have kids of their own).  Some people will never be happy with any response you give.  I get that.  She's going to be one of those people...

Image from https://wirindiagrampedia.com/
Why did this even have to come up?  Why did she feel compelled to say that?  I don't know for sure, but it tells me she feels like she has given so much to the guild/organization and she's ready for someone else to do what she did so she can relax and enjoy the guild too.  She's tired.  She's burned out.  When people feel the need to make comments that have to be made "under their breath", it's meant to be rude and offend.  Why add this hostility to a guild board meeting?  No idea.  We were making progress and arrangements were getting made and finalized and then wham.  Which kind of leads me to you never know now who has a blog and who may write about you.  Remember WWJD?  People use to think about that before their actions, or at least say it...

I digress.  This moment froze in time for me at this meeting and I found myself looking around the room wondering.  There were only about 20 people who came to this board meeting, when over 350 members were invited...This is the group of people who have invested their time, money, and energy to this guild.  They were going to ensure the guild was successful at all personal costs.  Dedicated, to say the least.

As I looked around for a second time, I noticed most were retired - not all and every single one of them had grown children.  They looked tired and ready for someone else to start doing as much as they were doing.  They couldn't say no.  I could.  I used this moment to tell them that they need to invite their friends to come to more meetings and to get involved...to do activities together if they were tired of doing it alone.  One response was that they were tired of doing it altogether.  I replied and told them to encourage the new members to get involved.  How many of them called and welcomed the new members?  None.  Including myself.  But there was a solution for them and it didn't belittle anyone.  I didn't make a rude comment under my breath...I just told them a possible solution.  One they never thought of.  Why not?  Because they are burned out!

Take the time to enjoy! 

I want to encourage you to go to a guild meeting and help where you can.  One guild I attend needed someone to mail out birthday cards...so I do that.  Literally takes less than 10 minutes a month.  Another guild I attend needed someone to take over Block of the Month for them...uh hello?  I already do that here so why not?  It's little jobs that can make a big difference...it also shows you a lot about the personality of the guild - when you get involved.  I have been able to make great connections by doing these small jobs and have now been asked to volunteer as a board member for two different quilt shows!

Next time you go to a guild meeting or any meeting for that matter, look around the room and take a moment to be in their shoes.  How long have they been doing the position?  Do they look tired?  Is it something you could do?  Could you fill in for a couple years and pass the position on to someone else?  Could this be a volunteer role that fits your family life and your schedule?  Could you enjoy doing this?  Help where you can.  Helping others & serving others...gives you great joy!

I don't feel the need to explain what fills my day hour by hour, but I know when enough is enough for me.  I keep a calendar to help remember my events and to plan as well as I can, when I can.  I get up early and have coffee, sew, or write a blogpost, research sewing/quilting in some form...I keep my me time.  I learned this not long ago...if I keep my me time then I'm a much happier person.  Then my family reaps the benefits.

Image from: http://www.mamaayahuasca.com

I know that my plate is full.  I acknowledge it.  I accept it.  Why would I feel the need to just say yes and impede my family's home life with doing work outside the home and have my family suffer for it?  My family requires a lot of time...a lot.  My home requires a lot of time.  I just said no.  Hubby and I agreed that I would not work outside the home, but my work would be the home and the family.  I have accepted some volunteer work -- but it's something I enjoy doing.  This is our agreement.  

Image from: https://getlighthouse.com
There was a time when I would have said yes.  I would have accepted as many tasks given and I would have found a way to do it all while working full time with 20-40 hours of overtime on top of it.  I did that.  At one position, I held 7 different hats within the agency.  It's too much.

If you don't  have the time to do it right, you are too busy.  I got burned out.  Burn out is not good for the soul.  Burn out can lead to poor mental health which leads to a poor quality of life.  It becomes a cycle that may never end....unless you learn how to say no.  Break the cycle.  Poor mental health can lead to so many things!  Take care of your mental health!  It's so very important that you do.

I know what you're thinking...I just got finished telling you to volunteer and now I'm telling you to say no...I'm not trying to contradict myself, but I am saying if there is something you can do to help someone, perhaps as a volunteer, that will make you happy and meets your needs (family work life balance), then by all means do it!  If it doesn't - say no.

Here's an example - as Block of the Month Coordinator I am responsible for finding a block, finding the fabrics, cutting the fabrics, printing directions which often means I have to re-write for copyright laws, put the fabric and the directions in kits, pass out kits at the guild's monthly meeting, accept the previous month's blocks and keep track of who is participating.  It's a lot.  So, about twice a month I receive an email from various people, sometimes the same person offers to help month after month.  These emails are from people who want to help but don't want the job.  So they offer to help find fabrics we can use in the guild's fabric closet or cut fabrics for the blocks.  It's a HUGE HELP!  They don't have the responsibility of it every single month.

You don't have to always volunteer to help.  Sometimes you need to take care of yourself.  You need to give yourself time every day to recharge.  When was the last time you did something for you?  When was the last time you sewed or quilted something just for you?  I'm guessing it's been a while.  I'm not talking about the new tablecloth, or table decorations you made for the holidays - those are items for the home.  I'm talking about strictly something you can enjoy.  A new dress for you, a new top, or perhaps--yes, I'm going to say it...the quilt you've always wanted to make for YOUR own bed!

#quiltingismytherapy  This hashtag is no joke for me.  I thoroughly enjoy it.  I found a sewing bee for Featherweights in my area and join them monthly.  This has been a wonderful experience and truly gives me time to recharge.  I don't always sew the whole time, but just being there and socializing with people (adults I might add) who have the same joys as I do just brightens my day!  If you don't find one in your area, you may want to see about a small sewing bee with your friends.  You could rotate houses as the location.  I know a woman who has a small 4 person sewing bee who does this and it's with her closest friends.  She treasures this time with them and looks forward to it!  You could do this too!

Sewing Bees do not have to have a lot of people to be successful.  

One thing I have learned or noticed about people in our quilting community is that we are a GIVING one.  We like to make items for others....make Easter dresses for our kids or grandkids, make quilts as wedding or birthday gifts, make Christmas stockings, or even scrunchies or hair bows for those on the cheer team or dance squad.

This is the year to take of yourself.  By doing so, you will have happier families.  I have already seen the fruits of this come from my own family.  The fabrics I'm choosing for the My Charmed Cabin Life Block of the Month - are for my own sampler quilt that I've DESPERATELY been wanting for MY own bed.  I get up early and have my me time...usually sitting beside my white/celery Featherweight named Fiona.  I went to a quilt show last week (St. Mary's Quilt Show) with a new friend of mine and hired a babysitter to do it.  Guilt free.

Image from https://101quotesabout.blogspot.com
I'm not saying to stop volunteering....
I'm not saying to not go to your guild's board meeting or stop participating in guilds, because I have found some great creative minds there and I thrive when I'm with creative people.
I'm not saying you can't work outside your home and have a happy home life...

What I am saying is to take some time for yourself...and do it every day.  It could be time to read the Bible, prayer time, sewing, Pinteresting for inspiration (I just used it as a verb, that's right!), downloading sewing patterns, going to a new quilt shop, participating in the MCCL Block of the Month...it could be anything, as long as it gives you time to relax, you're not rushed, and you enjoy it.  It could even be a NAP!  Yep, I said it.

Some people may find that they need more time than others to be recharged.  I'm one of those people.  I have a two year old who wants to do everything with me...everything.  She is literally touching me 97% of the time and I need time where she's not.  I get up earlier than everyone else in my house - which is pretty easy because they like to stay up late and they sleep in.  I've had to be at work at 6 AM, so getting up at 7 AM, feels like sleeping in.

It took me a while to figure out what worked for me...what helped me relax and what made me a better person.  I found getting up before my family gave me several hours to read, drink coffee, sew, quilt, write, prepare for my day, and recharge for my family.  Sometimes I go for walks when the weather is beautiful outside...your options are only limited BY you and what you are willing to do FOR you.  #DOYOU

So here we are just before May...Plan to do something just for you.  Make something just for you.  Do something just for you! ...and not because it's Mother's Day.  Post your comments below of what you are planning to do - what are you going to do for you?  Share to on Instagram and Facebook using hashtag #mccldoyouchallenge !

Do the unthinkable!!! #DOYOU

If you or someone you know could use assistance with mental health, please get help.  


Or, In a Crisis? Text NAMI to 741741


Need to talk?  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline @ 1-800-273-8255.




Monday, April 1, 2019

April 2019 Block of the Month

It's time!  It's time!  I know you want to see the next block in our fabulously fun Block of the Month program we have building up our skills!  

Introducing the SAWTOOTH STAR!  This block had Flying Geese and this was something I really wanted to attempt.  I've never been brave enough to do it.  

I used my AccuQuilt fabric cutter and used the dies in my Qube to get my shapes.  I used die 1 - for the large square in the middle; die 2 - for the small corner squares; die 4 - for the large triangle on the sides; and die 5 - for the small triangles on the sides.  

Die 1 is the 4.5" (4" finished) Square. 
Die 2 is the 2.5" (2" finished) Square. 
Die 4 is the Quarter Square Triangle (4" finished square). 
Die 5 is the Half Square Triangle (2" finished square).  


The first thing I did was lay out my pieces in the layout of the block.

Then I sewed the Flying Geese (two small triangles sewn onto a larger triangle).  This was surprisingly easy since the dog ears are cut off in the AccuQuilt - you can easily see where to sew your SCANT 1/4" seam.

Then I sewed the corner blocks onto the Flying Geese on the top and bottom rows as you see here in this picture!


Your next step is to attach the last two Flying Geese to the large square in the middle.

When you do this, you will have your block in 3 different sections that make up your 3 rows to attach.


Take the top or bottom row and pen matching your seams.

Sew a SCANT 1/4" SEAM. 


Take the opposite row that is left and pen matching your seams. 
Sew across with a SCANT ¼” SEAM.  

Press open. 


Take the 2.5” strip of your neutral toned fabric and pin to the sides of your block.  You will sew it onto the block – SIDES FIRST.  Then sew across the top and bottom.  This will make the block 12.5” unfinished.  

This entire block takes 5 minutes to make!  Isn't that awesome?  

Recapping March-No April Fools Here!

It's April...finally.  March was about to kick my butt.  There were so many things that came up, but such is life, right?  Needless to say, I'm too tired for a good April Fools joke today.  So how about a recap?

This month was a whirlwind for my household.  I had 3 client quilts delivered, a 6 year old's birthday party - which included a quilt request of her own, mechanical problems with our car - which is still at the mechanic and this makes 3 almost 4 weeks there...the yard needed severe help with blackberry bushes taking over my flowerbeds...the list goes on...

With all of the world's problems and issues in society today, sewing and quilting and creating has become my stress reliever.  Sometimes just going to the local quilt shop - Quilters Crossing - and looking at all the fabrics can reduce my stress level greatly!  It's not my only stress reliever, but Quilters Crossing isn't open 24/7.  Maybe I could talk them into giving me a key?  LOL.  Oh, boy!  Wouldn't that be amazing!

My sewing tales for this month were heavily in playing with new blocks for my sampler quilt!  I'm ecstatic too that I found more wonderful fabrics in my quilt colors at another great quilt shop that just opened up in Chappell Hill, Texas - Carol's Quilt Shop.  I LOVE IT!  If you ever get a chance, go by and see Carol herself.  Tell her I said hi.  Or better yet - I'll meet you there!

You'll see my new fabrics in next month's block for Block of the Month!

I tried something new to me this month - Machine Applique.  I was really shocked at how easy it was...I may not have been doing it the proper way, but I figured it out enough and without even looking up YouTube!  That's got to be a huge accomplishment, right?  Everyone looks there now for help.

Did you see the deer wall-hanging quilt I made for my 6 year old?  Her request....for her deer themed birthday party!  She wanted all the deer to have horns/antlers but the colors were pink and purple.  No challenge there?

I dug into her fabric stash (yes she has one) and found some very bright and colorful fabrics (that she stole from my stash for her quilt).  I cut 2.5" strips with my AccuQuilt Fabric Cutter and then cut them again varying in sizes - but still in strips.  I sewed the strips together.

(**Depending on your fabrics, you may want to apply interfacing here to the strip set sewn together.  I found this helped hold the image stiff while I tried to sew it on the block.)

I found an image on Pinterest (free, of course) and cut it out by hand - NOT MY FABRIC SCISSORS!  I pinned the image/graphic to the strips that were sewn together and traced around using a Frixion (from Pilot) pen/marker.  This pen will erase when I put the iron back on the fabric.  Then I hand cut the image out with my fabric scissors.

I did pin the deer onto the fabric.  I thought about using fabric adhesive, but I couldn't do it in my space without getting the glue everywhere so I just pinned it to the fabric.  For the blue background fabric - I simply cut out a 12.5" square block.  I centered the deer as best I could with the help of a ruler and pinned as best I could.

I used Fanny the Featherweight to sew the applique onto the fabric and I was surprised at how easily she let me guide the fabric around, especially the antlers!  

I just tried to sew as close to the edge as possible, leaving a raw edge.  Before I knew it, I had it on!  

I made another 12.5" square block out of a marbled purple and then sewed the 3 blocks together.  Before I knew it, I had all 4 deer appliqued to the fabric and the quilt top pieced together!

I decided to do a checkerboard pattern with the blue and purple blocks.  I did also decide to use the extra strips to make my binding and used all of the different fabrics in varying lengths for it.  I think it turned out great!  And best of all, so does the 6 year old!

For an extra touch, you can quilt the blocks without the applique...I found these antlers online and wanted to quilt them into the blocks, but due to time...wasn't able to do them.

For this wall-hanging size quilt, I only did stitch in the ditch quilting.  I wanted to do more, but time was my enemy.  I only had two days to get this done and I barely made that deadline with Bailey running around me.

The marbled fabrics make it look more quilted than it is...but that's okay with me!  The binding isn't perfect, but it's done...and the 6 year old is very happy with it!  She told me she wants it to stay where it is, in the dining area.

I plan on taking it to my next guild meeting!  I'm pretty proud of it...

What were some of your sewing projects that you worked on in March?  Did any of them help relieve some stress like mine did?  Share your tricks and tips!  How's Block of the Month going for you?