Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Minute Finishing Touches Getting Ready for 2012!

I don't know 'bout you, but I've been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!  Between putting the final touches on the revamp of my quilting/sewing studio, holiday dinners w/family (and another one tomorrow/New Year's Day!) and trying desperately to get caught up (again) w/Quiltville's Orca Bay Mystery Quilt, I feel like I've been chasin' my tail for the last couple of weeks.  I think I'll be the most grateful for 2012 to usher in so I can finally take a nap ;-)  But not until the second week of 2012, because I still need to finish up Quiltville's Mystery along with a baby quilt that must be created/cut/sewn/quilted all by January 6, 2012 while teaching the new grandmother how to quilt so she can take it with her when she goes to visit the new grandbaby - I'm sure we can pull this off as long as we only take small breaks/naps and eat leftovers...

In the meantime, still playing catch-up with Part VI of the Orca Bay Mystery quilt - here's my progress so far:

12 blocks and counting - 6 light and 6 dark.  Not where I wanted to be at this point, but I still have a few hours left of 2011 to make a good effort!

UPDATE:  as of Midnight (CST) December 31, 2011 I was able to complete an additional 18 blocks - 9 more light and 9 more dark for a total of 15 of each = 30 total blocks completed so far.  Getting there slowly but surely.  Hopefully, can squeeze out the last 26 blocks in between cooking and visiting today and finish up on Monday, time will tell ;-)

And trying to play catch-up with Part V:

I have most of one side sewn, just need to do a few more and sew/press/trim, sew the other side and I'm finished!

When I saw Clue VII yesterday (with the additional announcement that the final clue will be released on New Year's Day), I almost froze like a deer in headlights.  But finally got hold of myself and decided to keep plugging with a goal of having the entire top pieced by January 31, 2012 - which I really believe is doable at this point, since I've gotten soooo many of my other 2011 tasks that have been plaguing me for the past 5 years completed recently.  

For those who may not know, both my parents and my husband's parents have all suddenly passed away over a 4-year period and we've spent 2011 still trying to deal with the loss of all our parents and settle up their estates.  To say it's been a nightmare would be a huge understatement!  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.  I won't bore you with all the gory details, but let's just say, it hasn't been pleasant and I've barely dealt with it on what one would call a consistent basis. That's where my quilting comes in - helps keep me balanced and maintain what little sanity I have left.  

Oh, I forgot to mention, I also went back to school and got my psychology degree and have been doing internships and volunteer work through the CASA program during all of this (what a blessing the CASA program has been for me as well) - all while restoring my husband's parents' 1970s home and moving into it and trying to fit all my quilting/sewing/embroidery paraphernalia into a two bedroom ranch what used to fit into a 5 bedroom home w/attic loft (our youngest son of four children now resides there, since it's near our irrigated farm ground and he is now in charge of all the irrigation equipment that has to be kept running 24 hours per day in season).

Soooo, 2011 was the year I finally got everything finalized (or so I thought, we still have a master bathroom that will be completely replaced over the next 3 months due to deterioration - thank goodness for my quilting studio/refuge, once again!)  The one thing I had kept putting off was the final organization of my quilting/sewing studio, especially since we kept discussing the possibility of putting up a separate building that would double as a quilting studio on the second floor and storage for gardening/yard work on the lower level (our ranch home is located on 3 acres with lots of landscaping and mowing/weed eating to do which requires lots of maintenance tools to accomplish the tasks).  

Since we've struggled to get anyone nailed down on time/price for the outside building (everyone is booked up for months here in our MidWest farming community), I finally gave in and converted our unused 2-car garage into my quilting/sewing studio and just had to figure out how to organize it all, since much of it has been in storage for five years.  

Two weeks ago, I just decided to dig in and start doing the things I knew how I wanted to be done and hope the rest would fall into place after I had accomplished the 'must haves'.  I wish I could tell you it was that easy, but of course it wasn't.  We had torrential rains which led to flooding of the studio right off the bat, several things got changed because even I had forgotten just how much fabric and thread and yarn and stencils and, and, and.... that I had, so of course I had to rethink some of my original storage/organizational ideas and plans.  

There are two ideas that did work that I particularly love.  The first is what was originally housing jelly rolls and quilt projects and extra fabric, now stores ALL my sewing/quilting/serger/embroidery thread and my knitting machine yarn - my ceiling-to-floor wire basket unit:

And YES, it's completely full of thread in every single drawer from top to bottom - at least now I know how much I have, where it's at, and that I probably do NOT need to purchase any more - at least not for a long while ;-)

Next, to be able to accomplish the entire re-organization, Betty had to be moved to a better place in the studio that was far more level and wasn't threatened by flooding waters:

I pray I NEVER have to move her again - she's not an easy move, especially with her six 4 x 4 wooden legs!  But now, she's as level as she can be - my machine/carriage won't move unless I move it - awesome!  

If you look waaaay in the back behind Betty, you can see ALL my quilting/sewing books and stencils also got completely categorized and organized:

 including all my rulers, complete w/new ruler organizers:

Along with all my UFOs, some are more than 10 years old, have been nicely organized w/quilt tops neatly folded and hung on hangers and projects placed in project bags and hung on an extra garage organizer I almost threw out, but it works nicely and I love being able to see all my projects now, up close & personal:

There are more than 20 UFOs that must be completed in 2012, along w/charity and family/friend quilts as yet to be created.  Looks like I'll keep busy in the New Year ;-)  Oh, and of course, the Orca Bay Mystery Quilt must be finished by January 31, 2012 if I'm to stay on my new schedule, and I'm also involved with two other BOMs - the Generals' Wives and just finishing up the Civil War Chronicles!

But NO worries - I just purchased a new-ish HQ16 (according to the ad, may have only been used once or twice in like-new condition), should arrive sometime next week!  I was actually looking for some new Handi Handles for my stretched Singer (which has not been cooperating one little bit lately) when I came across this beauty:

Even though she was somewhat of an impulse purchase, I've been looking at the HQ Avante for some time (the bigger sister to the HQ16), but the price was so right for this one, I couldn't resist.  With the savings, I was able to purchase all of the upgrades, including the latest HQ rail system w/carriage.  Hopefully, she will integrate with my Betty - we'll keep our fingers crossed.  I'm soooo excited I can hardly sleep just thinking of all those UFOs I'll be able to finally quilt in style!  Oh, I think 2012 is going to be a very good year, Yes indeed!

Well for now, need to stop dreaming about my new machine and get back to work if I'm ever to be ready for her arrival so as I always say, time to get back to it...

Happy New Year EVERYONE!

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