Looking for answers to life's questions

Procrastination is an art form born of fear. I tend to put things off knowing that somehow everything will be harder than it appears in the directions. Every report card I had in grade school had a small notation at the side saying “Marlene does not follow directions well.” I just never read them through properly resulting in my own unique version of the completed assignment. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does. Most of us are not direction junkies or follow written directions as a last resort. And I can tell you from a great deal of experience, most directions are not well written to start with so why bother with them only to be totally confused.

christmas braid done 2016

Christmas braid bought 7 years ago. Finally, finally finished. Not perfect but done.

christmas braid back

Happened to have the perfect match to back it and bind it. Lucky me.

Sewing is about following directions. It never goes well for me. Especially if the directions “ASSUME” I understand what they want me to do. I had a friend bring a “pattern for dummies” to me on making a shopping cart cover for her grandchild. We read the directions a dozen times each and I finally just said, “screw the directions” and showed her how to put it together. I think I’ve spent more time taking apart things than putting them together or had one square going one way and the next one a different direction.

MG done

After a year and a half, it’s completed with borders, binding and quilting

MG done Back

I even learned how to put a sleeve at the top for hanging. Had to do it twice to get it right.

But in the end, something winds up completed. There is always a learning curve for me as most things I tackle are brand new to my scope of experience. I’ve made many shirts. Every pattern puts them together in a different way. Quilts are like that too. Getting one to completion is a big deal. Machine embroidery is probably easier for me. I enjoy it because there are fewer directions to follow. I have a very simple brain and pleads with me not to keep pushing so hard but I’m relentless in my pursuit of knowledge. Who needs a crossword or box puzzle when I have quilts and sewing patterns? There is also a deep seated desire to be creative and make pretty things. It drives me beyond my limits daily.

MG tshirt

My quilt group is called Material Girls so I made this to wear to the retreat and to meetings.

MG shirt center

Some thread color choices worked better than others. It’s a learning process

The very best part is that I have something tangible when I’m done. I can see it, touch it, wear it, cover up under it or gift it which is my favorite part. Even putting up a post on my  blog gives me that sense of accomplishment. I can see where my hours and hours went. I can listen to a book while I do some of these creative activities or even with handwork, watch something on television and not feel like I’ve totally wasted my hours.

The quilt I started on retreat is going to be ready to go in the mail before I leave to visit the friend in Phoenix who started me on the long road of quilting. I have not hugged this sweet lady in almost 6 years. I think the art of quilting has saved the sanity of us both.

 

almost done sams

Just finishing the binding then mail for Sam’s 75th birthday. Son’s former father-in-law and good friend

back of sams

Fleece backing for the man who loves wolves.

With the built in friendships we make of any quilter either real or virtual, we can get through anything life hands us. Many bloggers fall into this same category. They reach out a hand to one another across the internet and lift each other with encouraging words, even sometimes a bit more as is the case here. I received this book yesterday from my friend, at Living in Denim.

farmers wife book big

There is a CD inside to help create new and interesting quilts. A thoughtful gift from Lois whose friendship I cherish.

 

The perfect ending to a perfect day spent with blogging friend Sabine who lives close by. It just doesn’t get any better. Life is just all good.

What gives you that sense of accomplishment or is it even important to you?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "That sense of Accomplishment" (61)

  1. I love your quilts. Especially with wolves! 🙂 Lois is a good egg as we used to say way back when. Friends are friends whether we have met them in real life or not. Big hugs my friend!

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    • Thanks, Jackie. Sam loves wolves but he may be saturated by now. This project was 8 years waiting to be made. He doesn’t know about it. At least I’ll get it to him while he’s still alive. 🙂 Yes, Lois is a good egg. And a good friend as are you. 😉 Hugs to you too. 🙂

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful quilts and embroidery with us. I too get impatient with instructions and recipes – we must be twin souls! But you have finishedall this work, so you are definitely doing something right!

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    • Thanks. Viv. It feels so good to have all those projects in the complete pile. I’m saying no to other outside projects that are not for charity. I’ll do those and then work on finishing what I have here before undertaking anything else. I don’t like unfinished things. Most directions are poorly written so it’s them, not us that is the problem. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

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      • As a rule I don’t believe i UFOs (unfinished objects) but my current quilt is stalled until Jock goes to England at the end of March. I can’t get basting glue here and the quilt is such a strange shape that I can’t stretch it taut in the ordinary way. So I may start something else in the meantime.

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      • I don’t like things unfinished either. Sometimes it’s the matter of getting out to find the proper backing and binding or even the batting for the quilt. One was small enough to take to group or one was enough of a challenge to take to retreat where I was certain to have help and enough time to get a good start. The last one has been completed start to finish in less than a month!!!! I’m in shock. I still have one completed top pinned and ready to quilt and bind when I get back from my trip. I want to make so many things that sometimes my mind starts jumping around like a jumping bean. 😉 I can get anything where we are here but because I don’t drive much or far, I order a lot online. Kate, you know the Kate from Chiconia, put me onto some tiny scissors that I can get onto the airplane for needlework. I just ordered them from Etsy and they arrived in plenty of time. 🙂 I love the internet. 🙂 I love lots of projects but I love getting them done more. 🙂 Hope you have a lovely weekend, Viv.

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      • And you. We just got back from a combined visit to a quilt shop and tea with a friend via a new patisserie which will get me fat(ter). I bought 3 gorgeous long quarters of fabricand now – like you – the ideas are coming thick and fast.

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  3. For someone who doesn’t follow instructions well, you’ve knocked it out of the park, Marlene. These quilts are amazing! Are you taking orders? 🙂

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    • Oh goodness, no! There are so many better quilters out there that will make you anything you want and do a great job of it. :)) I am trying to get the projects done that I bought before I wasn’t able to sew at all and see how many I can get done before I can’t sew again. It’s still hard but I enjoy it too much to give up yet. I do appreciate the kind words though. You saw how long those other quilts took me. 🙂 I’m glad no one can see all the problems in them from a distance. Fortunately, the friend I’m sending one too will never recognize the mistakes or show the quilt to anyone that would notice. They will be hidden in plain sight. 🙂

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  4. Marlene, I’m with you, not great at following directions. Usually, I can figure stuff out and when I can’t, it’s a good learning curve.

    Your quilts are fun and creative…thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always thought it was that I was just dumb. Then I realized whoever wrote the directions failed to put in vital parts. Thanks for stopping by. I’ve been pretty busy lately. 🙂

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  5. Great post, Marlene. Funny, but I started my day with my “procrastination list”. For me it was a bunch of boring things that just had to get done: gas for the van, a run through the automated car wash, a trip to the dry cleaners and groceries. I came home feeling accomplished and relieved to have things done. My reward was time in the garden. I’ve also been procrastinating there, too, but once I got started, as is often the case, I didn’t want to stop.

    All this is to say that I can appreciate how wonderful it must feel to be getting all these projects completed, projects that took hours of work, time and precision to finish. All the recipients will be delighted, too. It also feels good to see the piles disappear, doesn’t it?

    As for directions, like many of your readers above, I too struggle with most of them, especially sewing patterns. And I’ve sew for years. I often feel that they’ve left out an important step, or that they are written by someone that doesn’t actually sew.

    I hope this flurry of activity, included your clever t-shirt, means that you are feeling more rested. Is that true?

    Have a terrific time away with your friend. You’ll have much to catch up on and I suspect you’ll enjoy every minute of it. Hugs

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    • Yes! That’s what I’m talking about, Alys. At the end of each day, can I write something in my journal that I have accomplished? Even the most mundane chores are important to get done. Yesterday, I spent 3 hours weeding out front after I posted my blog and only stopped because it started to rain again. Then I was rewarded by 2 hours spent with neighbor ladies over a glass of wine. Trying to get my neighbors acquainted with each other. We old ladies need to stick together. TS offered taxi service as it was raining pretty hard even though it was only a couple of blocks. My neighbor across the street has macular degeneration so walking in dark rainy times with a little wine is not a good thing. 😉 Sewing directions are the worst! If sewing for dummies can make you feel like one, something is very wrong. And yes, I am feeling better. Much more energy! And one more project tub empty. I have another quilt sandwiched and pinned ready to quilt and the binding ready to cut. Getting things finished feels go good! But then my mind says “oooh, you can make this and you can make that” and I’m off and running again like a crazy lady. 🙂

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      • Marlene, you’ve really been connecting with your new community. I love that you are looking out for each other. That’s so important, and gratifying too. It’s nice to be able to call on someone in times of need as well.

        So TS doubles as a cab driver. You’ve got a sweet deal there (though so does he).

        I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project, even if it is just laundry folded and put away. It’s more fun though when it’s a Halloween costume, a planting bed or a card to send in the mail.

        Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Alys, your comment hits home over and over. Sewing patterns give me fits. So very often I end up just getting the gist of what’s supposed to happen from the “directions” and then I turn to the fabric and figure it out myself. And you are so right about getting rid of the pile, when a project is done. Relief! I need To Do lists to get all my grown up work done: taxes, go through the mail, pay bills online, schedule a doctor’s appointment, but I never need to remind myself to work in the garden, because I, too, use it as a reward for when I’ve done other things.

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      • Crystal, how true that is. Time in the garden is a joy, a reward, a treat and a gift. It can be a challenge this time of year buckling down to the mundane indoor tasks when there is so much to do outdoors. I’m happy to read that we are kindred spirits in this regard.

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  6. Here I am, the Queen of Procrastination!! One thing I am really good at is reading instructions and still getting it wrong because when I say ‘reading’ I really mean skimming the words …….. Your quilts are lovely and that little ‘Material Girl’ applique is very clever! Is it machined and did you do it as a sew on or directly applied to the tee shirt fabric? I would have no idea where to start creating such a figure! I’m pretty sure those quilts will be valued by the lucky recipients and used and treasured for many years to come – each one is such a wonderful gift Marlene! I’m not sure if I have mentioned this to you before but in Eastern cultures everything hand made has a deliberate mistake placed into the design, for only God is perfect in creation. Our little snafu’s are just part and parcel of being human and making by hand 🙂 xoxo

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    • Thank you, Pauline. I appreciate your generous words and they are encouraging. 🙂 I think that’s why I make so many mistakes. I too skim the directions. :0 One of those quilts is a memory quilt with each square being made by one member of our group. I put their names above their square with machine embroidery and I put all the squares together with sashing, borders, batting, backing, quilting and then binding. The other Christmas quilt was a pre-cut kit. Directions, minimal. 😦 My friends were a big help, The last one for my son’s former father-in-law was a pattern and fabric purchased 7 or 8 years ago. There are PLENTY of mistakes in it so there is no chance I’ll ever get a big head over it but it’s soft flannel on one side and fleece on the other. They get some very cold winters where he lives so I’m sure he’ll enjoy it, mistakes and all. We have religious groups here that make quilts with planned mistakes in them too for the same reason. I don’t have to plan mine. They show up on their own and I just have a laugh knowing I’ll never, ever be perfect. 🙂 But like you with your art and danglers, it’s the process that’s so much fun.

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    • I forgot to mention, as I am quite verbose here this morning, that the t-shirt was machine stitched with my embroidery machine. I buy the pattern that is digital and put it into the machine and hoop the t-shirt with a stabilizer under it. Then all I have to do is keep changing threads as it calls for them. It takes a few of hours to do small designs. Playing with thread colors is the fun part. I want to do more but there are never, ever enough hours in the day for all the things on my list. :(( I know you know what I mean. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You sound so happy and contented–you’re obviously doing something right, with or without reading directions! I agree 100% about the feeling of joy when we hold something that we made with our own hands!

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    • Thanks, Kerry. Yes, contentment is a word I use most of the time now. Every project is a learning experience but when I’m done, there is tangible proof of time not entirely wasted.:) I knew you would understand that. Have a great weekend. 😉

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  8. Wow that looks wonderful! I admire your ability with crafts.

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    • Thanks for reading, Maja. It’s more of a learning experience than an ability. I’d love to buy quilts but the work involved makes them too expensive so I try to learn to do it myself. I have more time than money since I’m too old to work. :)) I’ve been sewing clothes for my kids since they were little out of necessity to this seemed the next step on the learning ladder. I like to challenge myself!

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  9. This was a very thoughtful post, Marlene. It gave me pause for thought. I’ve had so much trouble completing patterns over the last few years and kept wondering… why? I used to sew in my youth. Had things changed that much? Why couldn’t I follow these simple directions including the so called ‘easy to sew’ patterns? Thinking back I realized I always had my friends, my sister, or my mother to talk me through the hard parts and now I was relying on myself. I am seldom able to follow directions but hadn’t really thought about it in this way. Since my husband is so good at puzzles and the complex, he puts things together in our house and tells me I just don’t have patience. Like you, I usually just figure it out a different way or find a workaround. I am so impressed with your quilts! 7 years in the making and you have a marvelous Christmas quilt to show for it… Talk about patience! this is precisely why I have not been successful in taking up quilting but you have given me the thought that I could if I really wanted to… sigh… I guess I really don’t want to.😆 the quilt you did for Sam is also marvelous. Also loved the Material Girl project. I too send a great deal of time putting together my blog posts which is why I could never post every day or couple of days!! Big hugs, dear friend. I do appreciate you.

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    • I have never seen a well written pattern or instructions for much of anything. Everything I do is hard and my son feels the same way about things he works on. I wound up not being able to sew at all for a couple of years after I got Bells. Nor did I drive at all. Now, I must do things in little bits when I’m fresh, especially driving the short distance to the grocery or fabric store. 🙂 Nothing is easy but I just can’t sit and not do anything. I’m not sure if it’s patience I have or just tenacity. I don’t give up no matter how long something takes and only work when I’m enjoying the process. The material girl t-shirt was done on my embroidery machine. Easy for the most part. I’m with you on the blog post. I’m only posting if I have something to share. Maybe twice a month if I’m lucky. Everyone’s time is precious so I won’t waste it. And it takes a lot of time and work. I’m always glad to see you though. Thanks for stopping by, Jan.

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  10. Hi Marlene! Beautiful post! But I have to say that the quilts look even better up close and personal! I admire the way you can stick with these projects. I gave both of my sewing machines away years ago. The recipients were very happy to get them, as they loved sewing but didn’t have machines.
    I loved our day out from the beginning to the end! I haven’t had a friend who can get lost browsing in a bookstore in a long while!
    We’ll do it again! Have a fun and save trip! Hugs, Sabine 🙂

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  11. My go to thing lately is fused glass. Fairly quick results, fairly forgiving. Your quilts are inspirational. I don’t know how you have the patience to do it.

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    • I love fused glass. I’d do it but I’m a klutz. It’s an expensive hobby as well but then so is quilting. 🙂 Trying to get my daughter into it. I can still sew by the braille method for now so I’ll keep at it till I can’t. After that???

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  12. Carol Ferenc said:

    Lovely, lovely work, Marlene. So talented! I love the Material Girl shirt you made, too.
    You are so right about procrastination being based in fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by Carol. Yes, if we look at the reasons we put off anything, we will find some form of fear involved. I’m glad you liked the shirt. I’ll try making another soon. Spring is almost here so outside work will start to take priority. Have a wonderful week.

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  13. It makes me happy that I’ve come to know so many quilters through blogging. While I’ve never worked on a quilt, my mother is a life long quilter (she’s still at it) and I think of her when I see all the work my blogger friends accomplish.
    The contentment in this post is lovely, Marlene

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by Laurie. I love the word “contentment” even more than the word happiness. It’s easier to get a feel for. There are so many art forms in the world but I’ve noticed that quilters are quicker to share everything. Fabric knowledge, time and friendship. I may never be a show stopping quilter nor do I care to be but I love the circle of people it brings into my life. That’s why I do it. 🙂

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  14. I think I too have been looking for that ‘something’ which keep nagging at me…now that I’m old it nags at me worse and worse…time is running out, it says. So when I read your comment to Miss C and saw the title of your blog I had to head over here and sign up…maybe you’ve found the answer I’m looking for!

    Linda

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  15. Living In Denim said:

    You may not follow directions but your quilts are so beautiful your secret is safe as no one will be able to tell. I burst out laughing at the Material Girl shirt. I bet your quilting friends did as well. 🙂

    I have way too many projects started yet waiting to be finished but when I do finish one that sense of accomplishment spurs me on enough that i usually tackle other in-progress pieces rather than starting a new one, at least for a while 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved the Material Girl pattern. Bought it a long time ago and finally got around to using it.I didn’t go to quilt group last month as the retreat exhausted me. I’ll wear it this month. So many projects, so little energy. I can’t say time because I have plenty. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words. On to the next project.

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      • Living In Denim said:

        We all have the same number of hours but I think you get more done than most. 🙂 What’s your next project?

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      • I have a Red/white&blue quilt pinned and ready to quilt when I get home unless the weather is good. Then it’s garden and house painting time.

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  16. Marlene this is such a fabulous post.. Just love those Quilts and that machine embroidery is fantastic.. And believe me I was in the sewing trade for 28 yrs 🙂 so I know.. And it is not always about following instruction but adapting what you know with what you have available.. And that is the art in the skill of sewing..
    I worked my way up from sewing machinist on the factory floor working piecework in textiles in ladies Lingerie 🙂 And then became sample Machinist working with designers, I would make complete garments from scratch.. From Basks to suspender belts lol .. Then went into the training side of things..
    I would make my daughter her dresses when she was small, knit cardigans and always have the sewing machine out..
    Now a-days its my paint brushes LOL..
    The last big project I did was to recover some dinning chairs .. https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/now-for-something-completely-different/
    It was fun to do..
    So I appreciate the time and effort it takes to create these beautiful Quilts Marlene..
    hope you have a wonderful rest of the week
    Hugs Sue xxx

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  17. Not only instructions; I struggle to discipline myself to do the preparation for things properly – I just want to get stuck into the ‘real stuff’ eg painting – doing all the prep work such as masking tape etc feels tedious to me and so I have to really force myself to do it properly :).

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    • I, on the other hand, love the mundane details. They are meditative for me. I’ve been trying to work my way to your blog again. Was just looking for it in the sea of stuff that comes in faster than I can read. You have made it easy now for me to find you quickly. Thank you for stopping by.

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  18. lol:-) I am with you on directions!!! I was the same way and I believe us creative souls are like that:-) Your work is amazing. I had a grandfather that did quilts but on his sewing machine. I have some of them still for he died when I was a year old. He worked in a sewing machine factory so it was one of his many hobbies. I love your work:-) I am not a quilter but I would say your stuff is just beautiful and if that is what you do without directions,well, who needs them!

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  19. Oh Marlene, your quilts are just so beautiful. And I love your ‘Material Girl’! Who needs directions? You sure don’t! What a beautiful book and how great to meet a blogging friend. Life is good, you bring me great joy in your posts. Big hugs to you from me, lovely blogging friend 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for spending a few minutes here with me . The book came from a blogging friend in Pennsylvania . She is a woman who never gives in to adversity . Just getting to the store to buy the book is a big deal . The blogging friend I had lunch with was in my writing group at the senior center , though she is not a senior . 😀

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  20. Love your quilts and shirt. But, I sold my embroidery machine. :-0

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  21. Your Material Girl shirt is wonderful! It must be too much fun to wear it, especially since you made it.

    I love your post, my friend. You’ve found much joy in quilts, in the communities of quilters and bloggers, and you are right that these things are what keep us going. That book from Lois looks like it must be brilliant.

    What also gives a boost is getting things DONE! Wow, you have finished so many projects. It’s simply amazing. All those quilts. I agree the backing on the top Christmas quilt is perfect. My mother used to obsess about the perfect back. I didn’t understand every time, what made one perfect and another less than perfect, but it doesn’t matter because quilts are personal, and options are endless. It’s the best kind of puzzle.

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    • Quilts are my puzzles and they keep my mind active like other puzzles do for other people. At the end of my puzzle, I have something to use. 🙂 The book Lois sent was envied by my quilt friends. She is such a dear heart and I wish she were closer. It’s funny how few noticed the MG t-shirt. Most of us are in our own little world and notice very little. I love to get things DONE!!! But there is always a list of MORE to do. 😦 I was looking for backs that have blending color. And not too expensive. 🙂

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  22. I’m really amazed at the intricate embroidery your machine makes. How does all that thread fit into one machine? Is there several bobbin holders?
    You’re getting a ton of projects finished, that’s really a happy thing. I bet you have a mass of material to store in the sewing room, how do you go about that.
    I’m constantly re-organizing paper in the boom-room. I’ve tried several different things. My go to now are these 12 x 12 plastic trays from the Dollar store. One holds patterned, one cardstock, one colouring pages, etc. They seem to stack easily. Next week might be a different story, LOL. I’ve managed a number of projects for Urban in March and they take up a lot of my time. Writing a Blog Post there once a week keeps me on track.
    It’s nice to have a few days off this weekend. I don’t work again until Tuesday so I’ll be hopefully making up for lost time on WP. I’m happy to spend this time with you Marlene, you’re projects are inspiring and company delightful. xo ❤ k

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    • The machine is a regular sewing machine with one bobbin that I change often as I run out of thread. Depending on the number of stitches I can go through two or three bobbins for one project. The top thread my have to be changed as many as 40 or more times if there are many different colors and how often a color is used in different places. It can take 4 or 5 hours of sitting time to get one done. I love a one color project. I can do something else close by while keeping an eye on it. As for the fabric stash, well, it’s embarrassing. It’s under my bed in my closet, I don’t have many clothes, 🙂 and the sewing room had shelves for the tubs to stack up. There are many different kinds of fabric because I don’t just quilt. I sew and craft too. My sister says I’m a hoarder. Not hardly and my stuff is well organized in clear plastic so I can find what I need. I do stockpile a bit. And I have let go of a lot over these last few years and passed stuff on to others. I’m glad you are getting some down time. We all need it to recharge. I have a stack of books waiting to read and a dozen sewing projects. You know the drill. Thanks for the visit. I’ve missed you. Stopped by Urban this morning. 🙂

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