Tag Archives: plenty

March Review

My goodness, time flies! Here we are with a quarter of the year done. But that means there’s still a lot of time left to work on projects of all kinds. Besides quilting projects, what I work hardest on is being a kinder, more patient person, who listens more carefully, pays attention more completely, and responds more thoughtfully. I believe I’m making progress but certainly have plenty of work to do.

March saw progress in other areas, even though I was gone from home almost half the month. Jim and I took a road trip to South Carolina early in the month. We saw family and a friend, hiked, and visited the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. We ate a lot of wonderful food, enjoyed some good laughs, and experienced a wide range of weather. And I took another trip last week.

Here’s a little run-down of what I did get done.

1) Finished my Garden Party (Tree of Life) quilt, which I started in February. Tuesday I finished quilting it and got the binding done by machine. I don’t have fresh pictures of the finished project, but here is the top before quilting. This quilt has an owner (who will receive it as a gift,) but Jim and I are going to enjoy it for a while before sending it away.

Garden Party, aka Tree of Life. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics

Garden Party, aka Tree of Life. Top prior to quilting. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics

2) Finished my bonus quilt called “Stained Glass Too.” It is a bonus because I started it using 12 hourglass blocks left over from anther project. I started this in February, too. I finished the binding by hand last night.

Stained Glass Too. Top prior to quilting. 66" x 70"

Stained Glass Too. Top prior to quilting. 66″ x 70″

3) I attended the Chicago International Quilt Festival on March 26-27, with my sister Cathie. We enjoyed seeing all the exhibit quilts. Some didn’t capture our imagination, but many were inspiring. We also shopped in the vendor area and I picked up some loot! Fun for the future!

Readin’ and Writin’
1) I wrote and published 16 posts in Catbird Quilt Studios and 2 posts in Our View From Iowa. And I worked on several things for upcoming posts.
2) I read all the time but mostly online. However I did enjoy a book while on vacation, John Grisham’s The Summons.
3) I heard from the publisher about my book proposal. They are not interested. I haven’t decided what to do next, and am not in a hurry to decide.

I can’t think of experiments other than how I did the binding on the Garden Party. I use double-fold straight-grain binding. I tip I saw on a video said to press the strip into fourths, I guess quadruple-fold. When machine finishing, it gives the fold for turning the binding to the other side, making the machine stitching simpler. You don’t need to fight the strip while trying to get a straight line of stitching. There were things I liked about the process and things I didn’t like. Not sure if I will use it again.

1) I was the featured speaker for a local organization’s monthly meeting. My topic was the Underground Railroad Quilt Code.
2) I worked on prepping for my Medallion Improv class, which starts tomorrow. It’s a fun, five-session class that teaches my Design As You Go method for creating medallions. Many quilters never work without a pattern, or at least a traditional block and setting. Medallions are a great way to expand your skills and your vision.
3) Jim and I visited the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. On our way there we stopped to see Superman in Metropolis, IL. And once we reached South Carolina, we hiked with our friend Ben.

Between travel and my projects at home, my life is full and I am very blessed.

February Review

Two months down, 83.33% of the year to go! (That means there is A LOT LEFT! Don’t give up on your year yet. It’s not too late!)

We haven’t been able to get out much with temps just much too cold. Or maybe we could have, but we were big wimps and just stayed in regardless. Either way, I’m looking forward to a taste of spring and more outdoors time.

But while I’ve been stuck inside, I’ve been busy. Here is a little review of February.

1) Started and completed a 9-patch quilt for donation to our local VA Hospital.
2) Finished a large (75″ square) quilt including binding. No pix of the completed quilt yet.
3) Finished a small quilt (40″ square). This is the secret project I mentioned last month with no photos allowed.
4) Made a quilted sleeve for my laptop.
5) Started my Tree of Life quilt. Today I finished the top. I’m not tall enough to get the whole thing in the frame.

Garden Party, aka Tree of Life. 62" x 68". Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics

Garden Party, aka Tree of Life. 62″ x 68″. Center panel by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics

6) Started a bonus quilt tentatively called Stained Glass Too. It is a bonus because I started it using 12 hourglass blocks left over from the secret project. The top is about a third done. Colors don’t show well here…


Readin’ and Writin’
1) I continued reading Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson, but I ran out of time and it returned to the library.
2) I had trouble with my Adobe Digital Editions application, so didn’t get other things downloaded from the library.
3) I wrote and published 21 posts in Catbird Quilt Studios, and I worked on several things for upcoming posts.
4) I submitted a book proposal to a publisher. I haven’t heard anything from them yet.

1) I started the Power Builders series, providing small collections of inspiring links.
2) I played with freezer paper templates to make the Garden Maze crossover blocks. As you can see in the photo above, I used that method to make my lattice border for the Garden Party/Tree of Life quilt top.

1) It was a short month but incredibly, wonderfully busy. No time to feel sorry for myself for the frigid weather.

My life is full and I am very blessed.

January Review

Well, folks, it’s over. We managed to get through January. As we usher in February, I am looking out my kitchen windows to heavy snow and wind, with several more inches to come. It’s a good day to stay in. As always, I have plenty to do!


Like most other people, in January I consider the year past, its successes and disappointments. And I look into the coming year for possible pleasures and challenges. But my vision is limited and my imagination for the future is weak. I can’t see much farther than a few days out, and like for meteorologists, even that level of prediction is poor.

Partly because of that, I never set many firm goals. Besides my intention to continue experimenting/exploring in many parts of my life, I only set two goals for 2015: 1) read more books; 2) create at least four donation quilts, or about one per quarter.

One thing I can do is review the past. That helps keep me on track in rewarding activities. So here is a little review of January.

1) Started and completed a Garden Maze quilt for donation.
2) Completed through quilting a large (75″ square) quilt. Binding made but needs to be attached. Photos once it is finished.
3) Completed the top of a special project (no photos allowed). Backing made. I intend to quilt it today. Binding will be hand-finished.
4) Center made for a VA Hospital donation quilt. Backing chosen and ripped to size. Still need borders, backing sewn, qulting, binding.

Garden Maze

Garden Maze

Readin’ and Writin’
1) Read The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.
2) Read The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt.
3) Reading Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson. I’m about a third through it.
4) Wrote and published nine posts here, as well as one at Our View in Iowa.

1) Changed my studio layout to take advantage of better lighting in one of my two rooms. Now my cutting table is in a tight circle with sewing and pressing space. There are things I don’t love about it, but it is efficient and the light for cutting is much better.
2) I tried beading at my small group meeting.
3) I played with painting on fabric with stencils.
4) I made Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake, using this recipe forwarded by my son. It was pretty good but I wasn’t crazy about the mozzarella wads in it. They’re not flavorful, just white and stringy. If I made it again I might use feta, and probably less pasta and more of other veggies like cauliflower or broccoli.

1) I’ve scheduled to teach my Medallion Improv! class again in April and early May.
2) We’ve kept up with physical activity, despite seasonal temperatures. We walk often, though less often in the winter, as sidewalks can be tricky. Besides walking, we both make sure we do stretching/toning and strength training.
3) I’m working on another project that is still a secret.
4) I had more RPT (Real People Time) than I often have this time of year. We hosted neighbors for dinner, had Son’s good friend David and David’s wife Bethany over, and we’ve been out to meet with others several times. RPT is good for me!

All in all it was a busy and fulfilling month. My life is plentiful and I am very blessed.


Traffic merged to one lane before me, polite Iowa drivers taking their turns to cross the overpass, single file. As we crossed, I noted the license plate of the car in front of me.

I solve puzzles, sometimes hard ones, but this one was easy. “Use your gift.”

It got me thinking about gifts generally, and how we use them. Everyone knows anecdotes about a mother, aunt, or grandma who would receive presents — table linens, bath towels, cologne — and put them away. The gift was “too nice” to use. Maybe you’ve done it yourself. Did you get china as a wedding present? Do you use it?

Why do we keep our best gifts hidden away? There could be a lot of different reasons. Fear might be the big one. Fear that we don’t deserve such a gift, fear that someone might think we’re showing off, fear that we don’t know how to use it or display it, or that it doesn’t fit in with our other “stuff,” fear that we might ruin it…
To read more, click here.

Marking Things Off…

Always plenty to do

This is my short list from last Sunday:
1) Sew binding on traditional class medallion. (As you know, there are several steps to this, too…)
2) Cut and make binding for bright class medallion, and then attach and finish it.
3) Make back for XOXO quilt.
4) Piece batting for XOXO quilt.
5) Load and quilt XOXO quilt.
6) Choose fabric, cut and make binding, attach and finish it for XOXO quilt.
7) Trim hemmed edges off big tablecloth, which I’ve decided to quilt.
8) Make back for tablecloth, and so on and so on…
9) Check donation quilt for readiness to quilt.
10) Get donation quilt ready, as it won’t actually be “ready to quilt” as marked.
11) Load and quilt donation quilt.
12) Square round robin mini medallion.
13) Choose and cut mini medallion backing fabric and cut flannel or batting for it.
14) Quilt mini medallion.
15) …

No wonder it seemed like a busy week! Truth is, I am ready to start some new things. I’d like to experiment with simple shapes like triangles and bars. But I like clearing the decks before immersing myself in new projects. There still are a handful of “old” projects in waiting. I’ll weave them into the mix, too, and I’ll show you progress as I make it.

The guild donation quilt, loaded and ready to go.

What’s on your list?

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