Category Archives: Goals

Looking Forward to 2016!

Happy New Year everyone!!! We enjoyed a very quiet New Year’s Eve with just the three of us at home, a big pot of French Onion Soup and some lazy movie time. The perfect way to end 2015. Between my mom’s heart surgery and my sister defeating breast cancer, our family looks forward to a year of peace and good health.

Last year I wrote a post to set some goals for myself in 2015. I want to take a quick look at those and then set up a few for 2016. Here is what I had hoped to accomplish in 2015:

  1. Finish my three UFO’s
  2. Sew only from my stash
  3. Improve my piecing by slowing myself down while sewing
  4. Improve my photography skills
  5. Study up on quilt restoration

Here is what actually happened.

I did finish all three UFO’s, check! Sewing from my stash was a miserable fail. I was only kidding myself with that one. I think I lasted about ten days before I purchased fabric!  I believe I made huge improvements on my piecing – partially through slowing down, which made the process much more enjoyable. But even more than that, through joining up with Mari’s BOM, Classic Stitches. She chose blocks that had lots of pieces which forced me to really practice a lot. I used a lot of chain piecing with her tutorials and overall, my corners and points are improved. Thank you Mari!! I worked on photography by using a light box at times (mostly for product photos for my Etsy shop), taking a class with a friend who is a photographer and buying a 50mm lens which I absolutely love. The last goal, quilt restoration? Nope, never happened. Not once did I work on this, read about it or even look at the two quilts I want to restore.

The year seemed to fly by.  Here we are again with a fresh new year just ahead. I have a few simple goals, several of which build on last year’s goals.

  1.  UFOs – I have three quilts that are nearly done.  My Kaffe Fassett strip quilt top is finished. I need to sandwich, quilt and bind it.  The baby quilt that I made from the thrifted blocks needs the same; sandwich, quilt and bind it and then send it off to Project Linus. Finally, my Classic Stitches row quilt. The quilt top is not yet done but I have it nearly sashed. Then it needs to be finished as well.  So these three projects are at the top of the list.
  2. Improving my quilting skills. This will be done via a great group that I just subscribed to. It is called The Mighty Lucky Quilting Club. So named because the subscription is sold through Lucky Spool. This is a one year subscription where I will receive a new lesson and project, based on a certain skill, with support and inspiration from a different quilter each month. Some of the twelve awesome teachers are Amanda Jean Nyberg (Crazy Mom Quilts), Allison Glass (fabric designer/pattern writer), Angela Walters (Quilting is My Therapy), and Jacqui Gehring (Tall Grass Prairie Studio). These teachers and the rest of the group are sure to provide some really great instruction and should help me to really advance in my quilting. The cost is very reasonable at $5.00 per lesson or $50 for the whole year.
  3. Write some tutorials. I have only written two and would like to practice this skill. It is also a way of giving back to this community. I have learned so much from other’s and want to contribute.
  4. I will carry over the quilt restoration goal and hope that I will take the time to learn about this so I can work on the two quilts of mine that need restoration.

These goals seem reasonable, thus attainable.  I am especially looking forward to the monthly lesson from the Quilting Club. I have a feeling this is going to be a great way to learn and have fun in this community of ours!  What are you looking forward to in the new year? Whether you are one to set goals or not, I wish you all the best in 2016.

A Vintage Finish

Looks like I made it, and with a few days to spare! My ALYOF goal for August was to quilt and bind my vintage double nine patch quilt. Yahoo for setting goals.

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I had asked readers to suggest ideas for quilting the vintage quilt and was happy to receive tons of suggestions. Thanks so much for the ideas. I decided to quilt a basic cross-hatch over the main nine-patch blocks. Then I wanted to do something different with each of the three borders. My original thought was to do different cable patterns so I bought a couple of cable stencils.

Alas, it wasn’t entirely successful. I started by doing a basic, single cable on the middle (narrowest) border. I had great help with tracing the stencil. Ian was home for the weekend and kindly traced for me.

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Try as I might, I couldn’t relax and just stitch. I wanted to use my walking foot, maybe that was the mistake? The stitching isn’t fluid and I am less than pleased with it. Hoping that a run through the wash (in my NEW washing machine) will make the jitters a bit less obvious.

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Because of the issues with the single cable, I lost interest in doing a more complex cable pattern so I put the stencils away in the deepest recesses of my desk drawer. I don’t plan on looking at them for quite some time. Instead, I played with some motifs that Lori Kennedy has posted over at The Inbox Jaunt. I chose her Modern Leaf pattern (which I posted about earlier this week.) Because I am susceptible to this sort of nonsense, I wondered if I should use a motif with the word “Modern” in it when I was really trying to go for a vintage look. Jeez… I need to get over myself already. It worked out fine and was very fun to quilt. Because I did the quilting with cream colored Mettler thread, it is hard to see in the pictures. But I am much happier with it than the single cable. (I love the fabric with those little pins. Really cute.)

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For the final, outside border I did basic straight-line quilting which I just eyeballed using the side of the walking foot. Simple and clean. I backed it with a blue print and as you can see, I used one of the cream background fabrics as the binding.

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One small concern that came to mind is that I have a six inch gap between stitching lines on the cross-hatch. The batting said I could space the quilting with as much as an eight inch gap. However this is likely the widest I have gone and it seems sketchy to me.  Any input on that? I could still add lines to the body of the quilt if need be. If I split the difference between the existing lines, I would have a three inch gap. Thanks for any ideas you might have.

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Overall, I am happy with the finish. This is a more traditional quilt than I normally make but I enjoyed it. My next project is more modern and uses Kaffe Fassett yardage and jelly roll. I am chomping at the bit to get started on it so stay tuned.

Linking to my favorites:  Let’s Bee Social, Finish it up Friday, and Sew Bittersweet Designs.  Take a peek at these sites – there is a lot of great work out there!

August, really?

August is here. That’s crazy. Summer is buzzing by and we are trying to cram as much as possible into these last few weeks.

With the new month, I am looking at what I want to create and complete for August. The list is long, maybe too long?

The main goal is to finish the vintage nine patch quilt. I have the quilt top and backing ready to go. I ordered batting on-line because I don’t feel like the 75 miles (round trip) to Jo-Anns. I won’t buy batting at the local store, it’s too expensive. Anyway, it should be here this week and then I can get the quilt pin basted and start quilting it. That is the goal I am submitting for August for ALYOF.

I also have a project that came my way via the New Quilt Bloggers Bloghop. Fabri-Quilt has sponsored an activity for the group. We are each to work with a set of solids and create a block that is of our own design.

IMG_20150803_3649These are the fat eighths that I received this week. I have been cutting and sewing mock ups and so far don’t have exactly what I want. It needs to be original. What exactly does that mean? I can’t really think of a block that hasn’t been used in some way by someone else. Truly, there are only so many ways I can visualize HST’s, squares, triangles and rectangles. So, I am trying to take a regular block and put my own spin on it. That is about as original as my brain gets.  At any rate, this is certainly forcing me to work beyond my comfort zone. In addition to making the block, we will all be writing tutorials for the blocks. That part will be fun and I am really curious to see everyone’s block tutorials. Could be a fun project to make a selection of the blocks and come up with a sampler quilt or wall hanging. Stay tuned for more on this.

IMG_20150803_3646Next on the list, as always, is my RSC15 row quilt.  Last month I veered from the Classic Stitches block but this month I plan to go back to Mari’s monthly block. She wrote up an easy block for this month and the color is indigo, black or gray. I need to look at the quilt so far and choose either indigo or gray, either of which I have plenty of scraps to choose from.

Lastly, if I get around to it, I am going to start making two twin quilts for the beds up at Downieville.  Ray saw me looking at comforters on-line and raised those eyebrows of his – like, really? You are always looking for a reason to sew and you want to buy two comforters?  I shook my head and came back to reality. I painted the room a pale sage green. There are cute curtains (that I thrifted) with a floral pattern of green and violet on a tan background. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture for some reason.) I was at the store last week and they had  a deal where if you bought the end of the bolt, it was 40% off. The tan bolt (I think it was a Bella Solid) was perfect so I bought the remaining six yards. Then I bought a piece of violet and a print.

IMG_20150804_3653It is a good starting point. I don’t know exactly the design yet, but I do know I want it to be big, oversized blocks. I started a board on Pinterest for inspiration. I think with big chunky blocks, both quilts will come together reasonably fast. My hope for this month is to settle on a design and get the pieces cut.

The bedroom will look much better with normal bedding. Right now there is a hodge-podge of linens that I had stashed away. Not exactly pretty. I really love this little hummingbird print. It is called “Windsor Woods”.

IMG_20150804_3654Somewhere in all of this, I need to start working on Etsy items. The holiday season will be here soon. I hope to have plenty of items posted by fall. Last year I was new to the game (actually, I still am!)  I didn’t have enough items listed and sold out quickly. Hope to boost the quantity this year.

Lots of the list. I better get to work!

Linking to Sew Cute Tuesday, Freemotion by the River and Let’s Bee Social. Links to all of these sites are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

 

 

The Plan for May

OK, May is going to be busy. We have my daughter’s 14th birthday (yikes!). I have a family trip planned that lasts nearly one week and we have my daughter-in-law’s graduation from medical school (double yikes!!)  Lots of activity going on so I am trying to be reasonable.

My main goal for the month  (which will by my ALYOF goal for May) has to be the completion of my Allison Glass Mini Quilt. The swap has to be mailed out in the first part of June so this needs to be at the top of the list. It shouldn’t be a problem as the top of the mini is done. I need to make the back and quilt it up. I want to make the quilting shine and as I still consider myself a newbie, I need to spend some time with this. I also want to make an “extra” giftie to include with the mini using some of the Allison Glass scrap.  Here is what I have left to make the backing with as well as an extra. I should have plenty of fabric.

IMG_20150504_3260 Second to the Allison Glass Mini is a custom order I am doing for a friend. She frequently has her granddaughters for the night and they sleep in bunkbeds. She asked me to make two hanging bags so they can have books and stuffies up on the bunk with them. The bags will hang from the rails of the beds. These are already cut and 1/2 way done so I shouldn’t have any trouble finishing them up. Hoping to do that this week. I am using a polka dot twill by Riley Blake and lining the bags with the lovely “Wander Woods” print from Wee Wander.

Third on the list is to make this month’s row for my Classic Stitches Row Quilt that I am doing with Mari over at Academic Quilter as my RSC15 project.  Tomorrow she will post the block that is to be made for this month. Luckily May’s color is green – I love green and have a bundle of scraps for it.

That is it for goals. Anything that is accomplished beyond that is a bonus.

This weekend was our local quilt show. It was great fun and so inspiring. I want to share the quilt that won Best of Show. This local artist, Sandra Bruce, is amazing. I posted about a class that I took with her last spring to learn her process called “Material Matrix”. It is a great process that takes a photo and divides it into patchwork squares by overlaying a grid on it. Sandra is an excellent teacher and a brilliant artist. Her portrait of Clair is approximately 4′ x 5′. Really striking, it is a perfect portrait of this sweet girl. When I was oohing and ahhing over the portrait, Sandra pointed out Clair to me. I asked her to pose for a picture and, while she probably thinks I am some sort of stalker, she did it for me.

IMG_20150503_3257Below is a closer look at the quilt. Sandra’s ability to create the human expression with bits of fabric never ceases to amaze me. If I remember correctly, she used 2 1/2″ squares to create this. Click on the link above if you want to check out her gallery. She does travel and teach so you never know, maybe she’ll be in your area some time. If she is, it’s totally worth your time to work with her for a day or two!

IMG_20150503_3258Finally, have you seen the list for some of the instructors at 2016 Quilt Con??? This was in today’s issue of the Modern Quilt Guild  Newsletter. Absolutely. Amazing. I am so excited and am considering whether this might be my first time attending. It is in Southern CA in February of 2016 so it would be fairly easy for me to attend.

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Big question is, how would a person even choose which one(s) to take a class with??? Most of my quilty heros are in this line up. It’s too good to be true!!  Are you going?  C’mon, you have a nearly a year to figure it out!

Linking to Sew Cute Tuesday, FreeMotion by the River and ALYOF at Sew Bittersweet Designs.

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday

I mentioned in my last post that Julia and I were going to attend a “Hearts” party (so named by my three year old great-niece) on Valentine’s Day. It was a blast! The cousins loved having some time together as did all of the adults. On the drive down to the Bay Area I made a stop at Intrepid Thread in Milpitas, CA. I have looked at their on-line store and wanted to check out the brick and mortar version. I wasn’t disappointed. It was smaller than I expected (based on the selection they have on-line) but the fabrics they carry are lovely. My goal was to get some Alison Glass prints for the miniswap I joined over on Instagram. They had loads to choose from and I ended up several prints from the Sunprints collection. I ended up with a nice selection and look forward to cutting into them.

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Before doing that though, I need to finish quilting my donation quilt. It is due to be turned in by the end of February and it is my goal for this month on ALOYF.  It’s going well. I am about 1/2 way done. Right now I am trying to decide on a pattern to quilt in the sashing between the blocks.

IMG_20150218_2895I am using a variegated thread by YLI that has shades of purple, blue and gray in it. It looks great. I love the texture that YLI provides when I quilt with it. Hoping to get the quilting done this week and then next week all I have to do is bind it.

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We got back from the Hearts party on Sunday, late in the afternoon. That night my son spent  the night. While he was here he helped me cut a bundle of 3 1/2″ squares. I want to do a simple patchwork quilt using only neutral fabrics. I mentioned my neck issues in my last post and cutting for any length of time is a big stress on those muscles. He was great and probably cut over half of these 500 squares for me. What a nice guy!

IMG_20150216_2892Somehow that doesn’t look like 500 squares, but it is.  I am really excited to get started on this. I’ve wanted to do a neutrals quilt for quite a while – I have many of them pinned on a board on Pinterest for inspiration but decided to keep it simple and do a patchwork quilt.

Finally – while at Intrepid Thread I was browsing their scrap packs. I know, I know. I have no control.  I formally rescind item number two on my list of 2015 goals. I will not speak of it again. Don’t judge me. The scrap packs were so tempting and I did buy one. At $10.00 each these packs are a good deal. This one includes two pieces that I just love (the two prints in front on the right). They are from Kate and Birdie’s Bluebird Park line. One of the pieces is a 1/2 yard and the other is 1/3 yard. There are four coordinating pieces that each measure about 1/8 yard. I have a great project in mind for this so stay tuned….

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Better get busy and quilt the rest of the donation quilt. Enjoy your day!

Linking to Sew Fresh Quilts and Molli Sparkles today!

Didn’t Take Long!

Ahhhh, personal weakness! Remember the post I wrote at the end of the year where I laid out a few quilting goals for the upcoming year? My second goal on the list was to sew from my stash and avoid buying any new fabric for a while. Hmmm…. how does one really define “a while”?  For me, I am thinking that means a week. That is exactly how long my “fabric fast” lasted. Ugh!! Where is my will power? Ok, it isn’t that bad. Totally explainable and I hardly spent any money.

There is a local shop called Humble Fabric and Crafts located in Grass Valley. A very sweet woman owns it and she specializes in “pre-owned” fabric. She scours estate sales and sometimes people will bring in pieces they no longer want and receive credit for their fabric to be spent on others’ fabric. Another example of recycling that makes total sense. Really it is a great idea and helps contain the cost of sewing. I usually go to this shop for smaller pieces or just to look for unusual fabric. You won’t find a collection or a new release here. But, it is a mecca for the bargain hunting seamstress (which would be me). Roxy sells the smaller pieces (less than a yard) by the ounce. The price ranges from 30 to 60 cents per ounce. Weighing one yard of quilting cotton I usually end up with 4 or 5 ounces. Do the math and you’ll see this is a steal. I am on her email list and she sent out a note saying that she is moving the shop to a bigger location and was going to have a sale. What? A sale on fabric that is already a total bargain? All of the ‘pre-owned’ fabric was 1/2 off. Crazy. How could I resist? I didn’t even try to talk myself out of it. I did think to myself, be reasonable, you don’t even need anything, etc.  I was pretty restrained, if I do say so myself!  Here are some of the pieces I picked up.

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Some were tiny and others were multiple yards.

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The fabric on the far left features a tropical floral, including Birds of Paradise. It is a home dec cotton and I will use it for the Chemex Warmers that I sell in my Etsy shop.

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This is a Marimekko print that I think will end up as the back of a child’s quilt. I love the bold colors. The large scale print will be fun to use as a backing. It will need to be framed with another fabric as this piece isn’t quite large enough. I think I will use a green polka dot that I already have. The dots are really big so it should work well with this.

Finally I also grabbed a large piece of cotton batting that was 36″ by 108″. Perfect for the Etsy projects that I make.

OK, so I didn’t last but a week. That doesn’t mean that I am going to drop the goal that I had set. Kind of like when you start a diet and then have dessert the next day? I wouldn’t know, but you hear of that sort of thing happening….  Just have to re-focus and start over. So, I haven’t bought any fabric since January 8th.  Now how long can I last?  Hoping for more than a week!

Linking to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles as well as Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

 

Interrupted Plans

It’s all about flexibility, right? After setting my goals for this year I started thinking about the best way to achieve them. I want to make some progress with my quilting skills and also need to spend time on my Etsy shop to keep it growing. I decided to make a schedule of sorts. My nature is to hop from one thing to another and that is usually inefficient. I start something, sew and then move to something else. No real plan. So, I decided I would earmark some time twice a week to sew on my products for the Etsy shop. Any other sewing time that was available would be used for quilting projects.

Ahh…. the best laid plans. The week just didn’t allow for a schedule!  If you are a local reader you probably remember we had some pretty crazy winds last week.  Which led to this:

IMG_0263I wasn’t home when this tree fell over but my kids were and they texted me this picture. Yikes! So, with a tree that size on the ground, we had to call the tree guy to come deal with it. One thing led to another, as so often happens, and we ended up with this:

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No point having the tree guy come out and only clean up the fallen tree.  He took out another tree, cleaned this pine you see above and topped two more trees. Might as well get it all done. So this created activity around here and I was distracted from sewing the first day or so.

Woke up with a migraine on late Monday night. I get lots of migraines…. not very fun. I have learned over the years that the day after a migraine my brain is frighteningly similar to a plate of scrambled eggs. I cannot focus or think straight and driving is not even an option. Cutting fabric is such a waste – might as well just throw it away because it won’t be straight, accurate or even close to the right size. If I sew it is highly likely that I will stitch something wrong sides together or upside down. Don’t ask me how I know, but trust me, I do. So instead of sewing that day I sorted scraps.  I had been tossing my scraps into a paper grocery sack under my sewing table for the past 8 or 9 months and it was full.

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It was fun to look through all of it. Remembering all the projects that I had made over the past year or so. Didn’t take me long to get it sorted into little piles by color.

IMG_3020Apparently red, green, blue and brown were mycolors for last year. Very little pink and only one tiny scrap of yellow. Kind of funny to see it all sorted out. I found some jars that I had in the basement which held about 1/2 of this and the other 1/2 is sitting in Ziploc bags until I figure something out. Anyone want to make me some of those cute fabric boxes that other quilters use for scraps in their adorable, organized sewing rooms? That would be great, thank you very much.

IMG_3060I left the blue and white scraps out as that is the January color for RSC15. I took a quick peek at the first row for Mari’s Classic Stitches BOM at Academic Quilter and plan to get started on that fairly soon. The block is a Broken Dishes pattern using lots of HST’s. It will be fun to get started on those. She has several options for block size with each row so I need to figure out a plan before I start cutting.

I do have a couple of finishes for this week. Sunday I got the RSC14 quilt top assembled. It is so pretty. I sashed it with a light gray polka dot fabric.

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I’m very happy with the way this one turned out. I wanted to add some width so the border on each side is 4 inches rather than two like the top and bottom strips.  At this point I am making good progress on this one and should have it sandwiched, quilted and bound by end of the month. (I hope, I hope!)

20150106_2684I also managed to finish up a couple of Chemex Coffee Pot cozies for my Etsy shop. This one is my favorite for the week. The fabric is from an Alexander Henry line (Dia De Los Muertos). Most of the line was a little weird for me but this piece is so fun. I wish I had bought more of it.

20150107_2713So the week was kind of crazy. I wasn’t really able to work to the schedule that I had planned on. It’s ok. There’s always next week. Hope all of you are working on something fun!

Linking up with sweet Lorna at Let’s Bee Social, Connie over at Freemotion by the RIver and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. What a talented trio. Pop over and check out all the work that is linked up with these blogs. The links are posted at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward

Happy New Year!! I have been away from the computer for the past week and a half or so spending time with my children. All four kids plus my daughter-in-law were here for a week over the Christmas Holiday. What a treat. I love having them all at home. The last of them left this afternoon. We had a great time together – lots of time for visiting, playing cards, seeing relatives and eating, eating, eating. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season as well.

Business first! In my last post I was celebrating my 51st post and 51st follower with a little giveaway. Mari, who writes at the Academic Quilter, won the giveaway. Today I packed up a box of treats and will get that shipped of to her tomorrow. Congrats Mari!  If you haven’t ever popped over to her blog, you might want to do that. She is a clever writer and a talented quilter – which makes for good reading!

As with many of you, I have been considering what goals I want to set for the coming year. Quilty resolutions, you might say. I have decided upon just a few. Being a list-maker and goal setter, this works well for me. Rather than list off 20 goals and only accomplishing a few of them, I am trying to be realistic. Here are five goals that I feel are attainable.

  1. Finish my three unfinished quilts before starting a new one. Once I get a quilt top done, I am so excited to start the next one. But then I have unusable quilt tops staring at me in my sewing room. Considering the work that went into those almost-quilts, I want to finish and enjoy them. Right now I have a nine-patch batik quilt top, my Aurifil BOM quilt, and my RSC14 patchwork blocks to sash and assemble. So, first things first, I will finish these before beginning a new quilt. (This will NOT be easy for me but should be really gratifying.)
  2. I am often inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg who writes at Crazy Mom Quilts. She is both an amazing quilter and teacher. Over the past few months she has mentioned that she is on a “fabric fast”. She, like many quilters lately, is trying to sew strictly from her stash. She hasn’t bought fabric for several months! I bought a ton of fabric over the past year. I intend to sew from the stash in my sewing room and use many of the beautiful pieces that I have. My plan is to “shop” my stash and sort it into a few projects. Of course I won’t begin those until I complete number one. See above! 🙂 I will have to purchase batting and I am not sure I have yardage large enough for quilt backs but I absolutely have enough to piece a number of quilts. It will be interesting to see how long I can avoid buying new fabric. As you know, this is one expensive hobby. Not buying fabric for a while will be good for the budget!
  3. Take more time to enjoy the process of piecing. When I am piecing a quilt top I become so anxious to see the finished result. It seems like this anticipation causes me to hurry, which isn’t a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, it makes for sloppy piecing and second, it takes away from the enjoyment of the process. I love the whole bit – selecting the fabric I want to use, the pattern for the quilt, then cutting the pieces and making the blocks. I want to focus on slowing down. I am confident that just by slowing down, my blocks will be more precise and my points more accurate.
  4. Improve my photography skills. The pictures that I use on my blog aren’t as nice as I would like so I intend to learn more about photography. I take millions of pictures but usually just candids of my kids. I would like to focus on learning how to better use my camera and set up my pictures. For Christmas I received a photo light box from one of my boys. This will really help with the pictures I take for my Etsy listings. I have only just started to play with this. I also asked a friend of mine that is talented with her camera to give me some pointers. Making progress on this goal already!
  5. Finally, I plan to learn a bit about quilt restoration. I have two quilts that need to be restored. One is a log cabin quilt and was the first quilt I ever made. You can read the story of that quilt here. The other is a pretty, antique quilt that I was given. If you look at the picture below you will see that the center of the star is shot. There are quite a few diamonds that are threadbare and in need of repair. It would be great to learn how to replace these pieces. (I assume by applique?)

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I have been working on goal number one this morning. I am trying to finish the quilting on my Aurifil BOM quilt so I can get the binding sewn on. I made a scrappy binding, which is a first for me. (Check out that pile of Clover binding clips. My Christmas gift from me to me!) This should be my last finish for 2014 – if I can get that binding on today!

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So it boils down to these five goals; finish my UFO’s, sew from my stash, improve my piecing by slowing down, focus on my photography skills (hah, no pun intended!), and study up on quilt restoration. If I can accomplish these I will be satisfied. It seems like a reasonable list. We shall see! Who else is setting goals? Let me know so I can go over and read your list. All the best in the new year!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Linky Tuesday. Please take a look at these wonderful blogs. Their link is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.