Thursday, January 22, 2015

Focus and Determination

I have been digging deep to find focus to practice and it came in the form of my determination to pass my hearing and graduate.  I am so ready to be done, so I decided that the best thing for me to do is create a new routine that would set me up for success.  This involves actually getting out of bed when my alarm goes off (instead of pressing snooze) because I am way more productive practicing in the mornings.  Then I have the afternoons and evenings for extra practice, taking care of stuff around the apartment and sewing.  It worked great for two days.  Then I got a migraine and spent 12 hours I need to get back into the flow.  At least it happened before classes started, right?  I was able to finish 3 long languishing projects yesterday before the headache hit: I now have 2 pretty holiday placemats and one holiday coaster.  The second coaster is almost done and I hope to finish it today :)  So, hopefully I'm back on track tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New year, new projects, old music

Oh. My. Goodness.  I am in a funk universe.  Why???  This is possibly the worst possible time to be in a funk!!!  There are deadlines and important events coming up that need preparation and all I want to do is sleep in, read a book, maybe take a walk...not accomplish anything productive.  No.  That would be crazy...  I think part of my problem is I've been playing the same music for over a year.  I am ready to move on, but I can't change my rep so I'm stuck trying to figure out a way to get motivated.

So I made some lists.  Lists help me focus and give me something to work towards.  I LOVE crossing things off lists.  I feel productive.  (Sometimes I have to stop myself from putting silly things on the list that I do everyday like eat breakfast just to cross something off...)  I made a school list, a recital list, a January list, and a sewing list.  Yep.  4 lists.  Gross and satisfying all at the same time.  Here they are:

1. Finish the final draft of my recital proposal paper.  I have sent the rough draft out for editing and am waiting for it to come back for final edits before submission.
2. Pass my recital hearing.  
3. Play an awesome recital.
4. Take (and pass) the second half of the music history comprehensive exam.
5. Take (and pass) the music theory comprehensive exam.

1. schedule the time and room for my hearing
2. pay the fee to use the recital hall
3. write program notes
4. create the program and submit for printing
5. create posters, print, and cover the music building hallways with them!

1. Get an emissions test for my car and mail it back home so my car is legal...
2. Get #1 in the School list and #1 and 2 in the recital list done.
3. Pay tuition.  This one is painful and necessary...
4. Deep clean my apartment.  It's clean-ish now, but I'm pretty sure I won't have any time to clean this semester so I want to start with it sparkling!
5. As many sewing projects as possible.

Sewing (otherwise known as the fun list!)
1. Candy Corner, quilting and binding
2. Twitter, quilting and binding
3. Winter Stars, 2 more blocks, finish the top, quilt and bind
4. HP book case (check out the button on the right!) QAL running for 30 weeks
5. Blue diamonds, keep making blocks
6. Maple leaves, this is an idea with fabric in mind
7. Wave Length, this is a pattern with fabric in mind
8. Plus quilt, this is a pattern and specific fabric waiting to be started
9. Rose window, the applique is done and it needs to be quilted and finished
10. Christmas quilt, fabric is picked out but I don't have a pattern yet
11. Halloween quilt, top and back are done and binding is made, needs to be basted, quilted and bound
12. ABC Animals, applique is done, embroidery needs to be finished and the quilt finished
13. Double Wedding Ring, this is just an idea floating in my mind, but the more I think about it the more I love it!
14. 100 Blocks sampler, I have 4 or 5 of the 100 block magazines and I have so many favorite blocks that I want to make a sampler quilt.  Or 2.  Or 3...
15. Rock Candy mini quilt, ruler is on its way!
16. Mini Swoon, no immediate plans, but it will be amazing!
Other projects:
1. Lined Drawstring Bags for both of my cameras
2. New everyday purse, I'm thinking the smaller version of the Daytripper by Dog Under my Desk
3. Tunic top
4. Hexi pillow
5. Placemats for E & Z wedding gift
6. Peppermint holiday coasters
7. Holiday twister placemats and coasters
8. Apron
9. Velcro on the floor cushion covers
(That's 25 projects, but only 10 have been started, so it's really not that bad...right?)

I used a new quilt last night...loved being under a king sized quilt on my tiny coach :) it was extra cozy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quilty Adventures!

This past year I participated in my first online quilting bee.  There
were ups and downs, but I have no desire to do it again.  I was amazed by
some of the blocks that were sent to me, and completely
underwhelmed/dissapointed in others.  I was very excited to participate,
but I've been turned off of participating in these types of massive online
groups, I'll just stick to me, myself, and I.

I also bought a new sewing machine (which I absolutely love!!!) and taught
myself to free motion quilt!  So far I can do meandering loops and swirls
and I'm really good at tracing the edges of really fussy applique.  I have
one quilt top basted and another one waiting to get basted that I will attempt to
free motion quilt all over :)


Candy Corner

I have finished/almost finished most of the quilts on my list of things that
need to be completed!  All of the small ones are done :) and the bigger
ones are almost there!  Three of the four left on the list have completed tops, one of those is basted, one has a back pieced and the last one's back is almost finished.  That leaves only 1, yes 1, that is still not a top!

I want to quilt Candy Corner and Twitter this spring, it will be nice to have a warm quilt on my lap while it's super cold in WI... and I'm am really hoping to finish the Halloween quilt before I leave.  Lofty goal, but since I only want to do straight line quilting in the ditch and it's a pretty small couch quilt, I'm not overly concerned about that :)  The last WIP, while really beautiful, is one I have lost interest in making.  Don't get me wrong, I still love the pattern, but it is very intense to make just one block and I just don't have that kind of sewing time coming up for a while.  So I think I'll put its fabric back in the mix with everything else and just make the test block into a pillow cover or something.  

Two years after I decided to spend the year
finishing up projects I have almost gotten there.  It has definitely been
a learning process: I find that once I'm no longer working on a project it is
hard to get the motivation up to keep going on it, but if I let it sit, when I
come back I see all of these things I want to change and make better. 
Lesson: start and finish something quickly so I don't keep wanting to start
over!  I also discovered that I don't particularly like having several
projects going at once.  I may have slight quilters ADD, but I tend not to
finish things if I keep having to change the feet on my machine when switching
between projects or need to pause for a lot of extra "prep" work
(cutting, pulling more fabric, ironing know).  Lesson: prep
EVERYTHING for the project before I sew even one stitch.  I have also
discovered that the fabric I picked out 3-4 years ago may not be fabric I'm in
love with any more.  Lesson: don't just buy fabric to buy fabric. 
Buy it for a project and then use it for the project.

This being said, I have yet another list of quilts I want to make that is
ever growing!  I am really looking for patterns I love and fabric I
already own that I really want to use.  One of my bee mates requested modern maple blocks this year and I loved that block so much that I decided to make a quilt of it just for myself :) I have a box of red, pink, orange yellow fabrics that are just begging to be included!  I also picked up the perfect background fabric for it, a French text print in tan/cream.  I can see it in my head already and I love it!!!  Another quilt I am dying to make is a plus quilt with my gorgeous bundle of Dreamin' Vintage fabrics. 

As soon as I got them I knew I wanted a pattern that would showcase the prints and a plus quilt was the perfect solution :)  This one may be a bit difficult for me to piece (not because they are all squares) because I don't have a design wall in my apartment.  I'm not quite sure how to deal with that yet.  

Another long term project I want to work on is a Harry Potter bookcase.  My mom made one this summer and it is fantastic! 

This one is not hers, I can't seem to find the picture, but it is the one from the FandomInStitches Flickr page

I love the idea of a bookcase quilt since I am such a bookworm and making it HP themed is even better :D  I am planning to join along with FandomInStitches QAL using the Project of Doom paper piecing patterns.  It will by the first time I participate in a QAL and I'm looking forward to see how that goes.  I also have a bundle of fabrics that have been sitting around for 3 years... It is a set of 5 one yard cuts and 4 different patterns that use all of the fabric.  I need to sit down and pick a pattern and make it.  Before I decide I don't like the fabric anymore.  I also bought a pattern on a whim from Freshly Pieced, Wavelength.  I definitely have the rainbow colors in my stash, but I have no idea what I want to do with the background so for now it is still just an idea roaming around in the back of my head.  And lastly, I have the blocks my bee mates sent to me for my month in the Stash Bee.  Several of them will not be included.  I don't want to be the perfectionist, but several of them had cuts along the edges that are deeper than 1/4 inch or used selvedges or were not 12.5 inches square.  It was fun making the blocks for the most part, I really tried to push myself and make beautiful blocks for other people using their visions/ideas while learning some new techniques.  In the end though, I felt like some of the blocks I got back just weren't ones I want to use.  I haven't fully decided what I'm going to do with them yet, its up in the air.  Maybe I'll finally make a quilt and donate it!

It's not even a week into the new year and already I have a giant pile of WIP's :)

Linking to Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back and Moving Forward

It was a crazy year of ups and downs and feeling like I've been running a million miles an hour for months.  I'm sure many people can relate!  I'm home for the holidays now (and loving it!!!) and have started to catch my breath a bit :)

The year started cold.  REALLY, REALLY COLD.  Enough said.  I spent quality time panicking about my lack of definitive summer plans and practicing like a crazy person. 

I packed up my apartment and moved it into a storage unit (in the rain) and left on "The Great Adventure" which was a huge solo road trip from CO to Maine and then back to Milwaukee.  It was long, but I really enjoyed myself and I finished listening to all of the Harry Potter books on CD which was fun :) Spending the summer playing in Maine was amazing!!! I had an fantastic time, took lots of pictures, did lots of hiking and bike riding, and left a much better player than I arrived.  All in all, one of my favorite summers ever!

After arriving back in WI, I joined the world of social media and set up an Instagram account! Eeep! I've been having a lot of fun connecting with friends and generally enjoying myself :)

Then the crazy hit after Labor Day.  This past semester has by far been the busiest I've ever been in school and I don't think I've ever worked harder.  I knew it would be crazy, but I still wasn't fully prepared for the madness.  Oh well.  I survived, mostly in tact.  I have one more giant paper, my recital hearing, and one more comprehensive exam to successfully pass/complete and then just one class and orchestra rehearsals and then I will be done! Yay!!!  I'm so looking forward to graduation in May :)

2015 is shaping up to be just as busy as the second half of did that happen???  I'm home for another 10 days and then I'm back to school for my new job (YAY!!!!) and final work on my recital proposal and practicing for my hearing.  Then, once I successfully pass the hearing its time for the job search.  I'm so nervous that I won't find anything that is what I really want to do in a place I actually want to live.  Is this how everyone feels???  Plus, I am a planner so not knowing is already starting to drive me kind of crazy.  Sigh.

Then, in March, is what all of the hard work and practicing is for!  My graduate recital :)  I am really looking forward to it and ridiculously nervous all at the same time and it is still 2 months away...  My rep list is amazing: Bach E Major Partita, Beethoven Spring Sonata, Bolcom Graceful Ghost Rag and the Sonate Posthume by Ravel.  Fabulous :)

The other bit of crazy for the first part of the year is my parents are moving!  I'm so happy for them that they found a house they both like, and I hope they don't go crazy packing up this one.  

Best Wishes for 2015!