Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Listen, Learn, Create!

"Well, it's Craftcast, we'll have a blast, new ideas so easy and fast!" How much do I love listening to Alison Lee's podcast? I love the discussions on creativity and how the creative mind works. I love listening to so many diverse people discuss their particular crafty passion. I so love Alison's voice. If I could change my voice, I would pick hers. It's mellow and smooth and her laugh is, well, fabulous. And, on a somewhat lowbrow note, I adore her theme song! When that song starts, my toes just start a-tapping, and those background "do-do-do's" always, always, always lift my spirits. In fact, sometimes as I'm singing along with the background guys, I miss what Alison has been saying, and I have to go back again and listen, being careful this time not to get sucked into the bass line.

I recently downloaded every past epidsode. It's been fun to go back in time, as it were, and listen to the beginnings of Craftcast. Today I listened to the interview with Carol Duvall. So much fun! But so far my favorite of the oldies has been the interview with Kaffe Fassett. I doubt that our quilting styles could be more miles apart, but he is a quilting legend, an icon, if you will, and listening to him talk about what inspires him to create his quilts gave me some inspiration of my own.

So if you're looking for a podcast that will inspire you, entertain you, and motivate you, I suggest you start with Craftcast. Then call me up, and we'll sing the theme song together!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a Catalog?

Today the Spring 2009 edition of the Keepsake Quilting catalog arrived in the mail, 128 pages of quilty fun and inspiration. I have been working all day, but about every 20 minutes I take a break and look through a few pages. I have to force myself not to look ahead or go too fast, because while I want to savor each page, I'm also very anxious to see what's beyond the next page turn.

I enjoy all kinds of catalogs, Sears, Ikea, seeds, even hardware, but, of course, the pinacle of the catalog world for me is a good quilting catalog. I like the Connecting Threads catalogs, but they are pretty small. It only takes me a few minutes to get through one, and then I'm wishing for more, but the Keepsake Quilting catalog, now that's a catalog feast. They have breathtaking kits, scrumptious fabric medleys, and unique patterns, every page jam-packed with beautful colored photography and oh-that's-cute goodness.

I have to get back to typing now, but in about 15 minutes I'm going to look through another ten pages as my reward. It's the only thing keeping me going through this beast of a trial I'm currently working on. Keepsake Quilting, you're the best!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Sewing for Africa

I went to the church last night with my serger and helped sew more dresses for Africa. We had a lot of sisters who donated fabric and t-shirts but did not want to sew, and we had some dresses that were made incorrectly that we had to redo. Our ward has already sent in about 150 dresses, and I'm sure last night there were at least 50 more there, if not more. It was so fun to sew with a group and chat as we worked. Plus, it's very rewarding to know that when you make these cute little dresses, you are literally changing someone's life. These dresses make it possible for little girls in Africa who don't have money for clothes to go to school. It's hard to imagine, living in our prosperous world, that children in some countries are kept from obtaining an education because of something so simple.

Whenever we completed an entire dress, someone would hold it up, and everyone would say, Oh, isn't that cute? We never, ever thought any of them were ugly, and, honestly, none of them are. People have tried hard to get the cutest t-shirts and match them with the perfect fabric. I think they have been as careful with these dresses as they would with something they were making for their own children or grandchildren.

I like to think maybe one day Scott and Gayle will be somewhere in Africa on their mission, and they will see a little girl in a darling t-shirt dress, and maybe it will be one of ours. They'll never know, and neither will we, but I have so thoroughly enjoyed giving this service. It has made me feel a part of the church's huge global humanitarian efforts, and made me realize, once again, that the scriptures are true, for I have felt the Savior near as we sewed and known that "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

So Many Quilting Blogs!

While downloading court audio this morning I have been spending some time looking at quilting blogs. Oh, my goodness, there are so many amazingly talented people out there who are so prolific in their quilting and so creative in their use of fabric and applique and piecing that it just makes me blush to think that I call what I do "good". Here are a few I especially enjoyed today.

Will Work for Fabric has a fabulous scrappy red and white quilt that would look amazing done in any color, depending on the scraps in your stash.

Beth Ferrier is starting a block of the month pattern on February 14th. She will have the supply list posted sooner. For those of you looking for a continuing project in 2009, this could be a great choice.

Or, if you don't like Beth's project, how about checking out the BOM from BunnyHill Designs, which, appropriately enough, involves bunnies, at least in the first month's block. The common theme for all twelve blocks is actually baskets. It's very cute, and her blog already has pictures of versions of block number one done by other quilters.

If you want something adorable to knit, check out the blog from Quilting with the Past where she shows off her teeny tiny teddy bear. Who wouldn't want to make a bear that loveable?

And, finally, feast your eyes on this beautiful quilt created by Bonnie K. Hunter and pictured on her Quiltville blog. I love, love, love the colors in this quilt!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Staying Organized

Why is it so hard to stay organized? Why do things tend to fall into chaos so quickly? I like things organized and put away and filed and neat and tidy, yet it only takes about two days for my quilting supplies to become a raggedy mess. Right now I'm looking around and I have a stack of fabric here and another stack of fabric there. I have rulers strewn about with abandon and thread on nearly every flat surface.

Since the problem certainly can't be me, here are a few reasons I've come up with to explain my disorder.

1. New fabric is hard to put away. I must hold it and look at it and put it where I can see it and stroke it for quite some time until I'm ready to stash it in a drawer. I have bought quite a bit of new fabric lately for the grandbaby quilt and because I got a gift certificate for Christmas, and I can't bring myself yet to put it away. It's way too pretty.

2. Old projects must be left out. If I put away the curtains I'm still trying to finish, they will disappear into the black hole of UFO's and might never get done. If I leave them out on the sewing table, I may be inspired to work on them. May. Might. Possibly. If the stars align.

3. A creative mind is a cluttered mind. I heard this from someone once, that creative people are not very organized. In fact, if they become tidy they are in danger of losing their creativity, because it is the plethora of things around them that inspires them. Yes, that's it. I must not lose my creativity. I clutter, therefore I create, or is it the other way around?

4. If I put things away I won't know where anything is. There is some truth to this. I know the mess looks disorganized, but I know right where everything is. Sometimes when things get put away I forget I even have them. Case in point, yesterday I found a whole package of donuts I had hidden away in a cupboard approximately mid-November so nobody would eat them. Well, nobody ate them. Mission accomplished.

5. I will put things away when I come up with the perfect system. Has the perfect system been invented yet? I do not think so, but until it has been I must not put things in any lesser kind of a system. If perfection is the goal, then perfection it will be, even if that means living in semi-chaos or possibly total chaos for the next 30 years. A goal is a goal.

Sadly, I fear, dear Brutus, the fault lies not in any of the above reasons, but in myself. Sometimes I just get lazy and I don't put things away. Our moms have been trying to teach us this skill since we could walk. Some of us are still working on it.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Heart Fat Quarters

Have I written about my love of fat quarters here before? If not, how could I have been so remiss? There is no fabric size and shape that I love as much as a fat quarter, particularly if said fat quarter comes tied in a bundle with other fat quarter friends. So, of course, when Gary gave me a gift certificate to The Fabric Addict for Christmas, I bought, you guessed it, fat quarters.

The bundle I bought is 20 fat quarters from the fabric collection called Paisley Party by Terry Atkinson and Liz Lois for Red Rooster Fabrics. It's got such delicious colours of orange, yellow, turquoise, and green, very tropical and fresh and perfect for these blah January days. I am posting a picture of the collection. I know I should untie the bundle and spread it out for you to see it better, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Part of the fun of the fat quarter bundle is seeing it all tied up so pretty.

Now I need to decide what I'm making with it. I'm thinking of a wall-hanging for the kitchen because the colors would brighten up my fairly dark house and make the winter seem a little bit more fun, at least in my kitchen. I want something that really shows off the fabric, so probably something with large blocks. Hopefully a picture will be posted here soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Year of Kaye

Taking a page from the book of George Costanza, I am calling 2009 The Year of Kaye. Last year was the Year of Eric, doing all the million little things required to get him on a mission. 2006 was the Year of Brent. He was getting married that year, which also involved a million little things. I would be willing to share 2009 with Denise should things take a turn in that direction, but so far, at least, I'm dedicating it to me.

Lest I come across as a selfish whiner, let me say that a year devoted to me is not a year devoted to buying expensive gifts for myself (although others may wish to celebrate The Year of Kaye that way). Nor is it a year dedicated to simply doing what I want when I want and letting chips fall willy-nilly. It is not a year of even finding myself. I know exactly who I am and what I should be and want to be and need to be doing.

The Year of Kaye means that this year I will be more focussed. I will make goals and keep them. I will do things I have been wanting to do for years and just kept procrastinating out of fear or inertia or lack of planning. The first step for me will be forcing myself to write things down, a huge step in my life. I'm not a person who likes lists, daily planners, taking notes, highlighting textbooks, writing on calendars. I have relied in the past on my pretty decent memory and serendipity. I'm sure I've missed out on some things in the past by being somewhat cavalier about my time, but for the most part I've gotten things done and felt like the journey was as fun as the destination.

As I age -- oh, how I hate that word -- I am finding the memory is not what it once was. My level of concentration is also somewhat diminished. While I have more free time, ostensibly, because I am an empty-nester, I get less and less done with that time. I am somewhat perplexed as to why that is, but I believe the solution lies in planning and organization, hence the goal of writing things down.

Since I spend my working hours on a computer, I have decided the best way to begin my life as a list-maker is to do it on the computer, so I am using a new program that came with Microsoft Office 2007 called One Note. It's a good tool for organizing notes, schedules, snippets of information. I think it's designed primarily for students, but it will work for me. My first goal is to learn how to effectively use the program and to actually use it. I am going to set aside time to make my lists every day, probably in the mornings, as that seems to be my best thinking time. I am not a late-night person in anybody's book.

And speaking of late nights, I stayed up last night, New Year's Eve, until approximately 12:02, at which time I gratefully went to bed. I feel obligated to stay up to see in the New Year, but it's not fun or exciting or magical or pleasurable or important. I do it out of a sense of duty, out of a sense that if I go to bed before midnight, I am turning into a lame old woman, and I refuse to do that, so I stay up just long enough to say Happy New Year, and then happily say Good Night.

One of my goals that I am writing down and even setting an alarm for on my Outlook Calendar is to write in this blog at least once a week. I hope to be able to share some of my creativity, primarily in quilting but other ways as well. So, with that said, here is the first post of 2009, and now let the Year of Kaye begin!