Saturday, January 31, 2015

Snowy Day of Quilting

Last weekend, I spent a little bit of time in my sewing room.  My husband had traveled the week before and was exhausted after arriving home late on Friday.  He slept most of Saturday, which meant I had time to play.  :c)

I was perfectly happy to be inside was we had snow showers on and off all day.  It was just before the "blizzard" hit New England last week.  This was the view out my sewing room window.  It is a little hard to see the snow, but it is coming down lightly.


This next picture shows what it looked like with one of the snow squalls coming through.  Lots of white stuff in the air.


As you can see, I was making progress on the Mariner's Compass.  It has definitely been slow-going and I'm sure the few people who read my blog will be bored of this quilt very soon.  Quilting small little pebbles all over a center portion of quilt just takes time and I haven't been able to devote as much time as I would like to it.

After doing pebbles for a few hours...yes, a few hours... I decided I needed a change of pace.  Last spring I purchased a quilt kit that was similar to a Block-of-the-Month (BOM).  In the fall, I was able to get the first block done and all the appliques fused in place, but I never actually got around to doing the stitches to actually applique them in place.  I decided that since I needed something different besides quilting pebbles, I would do the appliques on this piece.  It took about 2 hours with the thread color changes, but its done now and back up on my design wall.


I've also been doing a lot of needlepoint lately.  Its nice to be able to do it and sit by the fire at night.  I don't have any pictures yet, but will share when I remember to take one.  LOL!

So the "blizzard" from last week didn't really impact us here in upstate NY.  On Monday night the weather folks were forecasting 8-14" of snow overnight.  We woke up Monday morning...without even a dusting of new snow.  There were a lot of disappointed kids that day!  However, we did end up getting snow during the day on Tuesday...about 6-8" worth of it.  It was just enough that we had to clear our driveway and the commute home was a little exciting for some folks.

With the AWD Subaru, I just don't worry about snow anymore.  It performs fantastically in the snow.  I've driven through 6" of snow on the roads without any issues whatsoever.  Its a standard shift car and it didn't even have any issues starting up on a hill (as anyone who has driven a standard shift car, that's usually the nemesis of driving a standard).  I absolutely love the car (and the heated seats are REALLY nice this time of year)!

I'm also trying to re-design the closet in my sewing room.  Right now its pretty much a standard bedroom closet that we added some free-standing bookshelves to such that I could store my fabric and patterns and thread.  However, its really not the best setup.  I want to have pull-out draws for my thread so I can more easily see the colors and to also keep dust off it.  I'd also like to have better shelving for the books/fabric as right now its not really enough and the shelves are bowed from years of having books on them.

I'll probably try to post some sketches on here for ideas/suggestions, but any thoughts on good storage options are definitely welcome!

I hope everyone is enjoying the winter and getting lots of quilting/crafting done!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quilty Update

I finally got back into my sewing room this weekend.  It is the first time in about two or three months that I've spent any real time in there.  It felt good to be sewing again.  :c)

I made some progress on the Mariner's Compass quilt that I've been working on.  The quilting is slow-going as it is lots of little tiny pebbles.  However, so far it has been worth the effort.  I used wool batting on this quilt from Quilter's Dream, which gives a nice puffiness to the minimally quilted areas.  I'm also using Superior Threads' So Fine in the top and BottomLine in to the bobbin.  The denseness of the quilted portions really allows the points of the compass to pop-up

I'm really loving the texture that the pebble quilting is giving on this quilt.  The little circles really offset the straight lines of the rest of the quilt.

Can't help myself... another close-up picture.  :c)

So aside from stressing about work the past few months and not getting into my sewing room.... I have actually been exercising a bit more.  I realize during the summer that I just wasn't happy with where I was in terms of body size, weight, etc.  I finally decided to do something about it.  It may sound weird, but I went out and purchased a FitBit.  I got the Flex version as I wanted something that was easy to carry around with me.  I always had trouble with pedometers that either clipped on the waist or went in a pocket as I don't typically have pockets on my clothing for work and the waist option was just annoying.

The first week or so I simply wanted to track how much I was actually walking without changing any of my existing habits.  I was surprised to find that I wasn't walking nearly as much as I thought I was.  All my "running" around at work was really just going from meeting to meeting and then sitting for an hour or more.  Since then I've paid attention to how many steps I was getting in each day and forced myself to get up more frequently.  Instead of picking up the phone, I would walk to someone's desk.  Instead of parking close to the building, I parked further away.

I'm happy to say that with tracking my walking and a few small changes to my diet, I've been able to lose almost 20 pounds since September.  I'm routinely walking about 7,000 - 8,000 steps a day and when I go to the gym (2-3 times a week), I'm close to about 12,000 steps those days.  In the fall when the weather was nice, I was really walking a lot and most weekends had close to 20,000 steps on both Saturday and Sunday.  I'm looking forward to the spring weather in another few months and I hope I can increase my amount of walking again.

I saw that Karen posted about recently getting a FitBit.  I've had success with it and really like the features that the Apps have.  You can challenge friends during the week and on weekends to meet step goals for a day or for an entire week or just a weekend.  Sometimes its surprising how much a little thing like an easy way to track steps can help, but for me, it helped a lot.  It made me aware of the fact that I didn't walk nearly as much as I thought I did, which made me want to walk more.  I look forward to each day when I get that little buzz towards the end of the day signaling that I met my step goal.

So while you are sewing...don't forget to get up and walk every now and then!  :c)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Friday, January 16, 2015

It's Been A While....

Do you ever wonder where time goes on you?  That's how I feel about all of last fall and through Christmas!

The last three months of the year were busy beyond comprehension, which is why I realized today that its been 3-4 MONTHS since I last posted anything.  To be absolutely honest, I really do have no idea where the time went.  I think I was so busy with work-related things that it was all I could do to get through each week.  With the nice weather on the weekends, that time always went by quickly, too.

I had some high-stress things going on and my method of dealing with them through the Fall was to simply work it out with hard, manual labor on the weekends (and sometimes during the week).  I picked up splitting hand.  It is great exercise and really worked my upper body.  It was also very stress relieving to be able to beat on something!  :c)

The holidays went by too quickly as well.  There was a fair amount of travel involved for us and just a lot of time spent visiting family.

Despite having two weeks off for the holidays, I did not get a lot of sewing or quilting done.  The last time that I was actually in my sewing room to do sewing as before Thanksgiving.  I'm hopeful that now that we're into the new year that things might settle (at least a little) and that I'll be able to get back to sewing again.

I feel like I've lost a bit of my sewing mojo, but hopefully it will be back soon.

I've been keeping up with a lot of blogs and I'm glad to see that lots of folks had good holidays and have already started their new projects for 2015.  Even if I can't manage to get some sewing done, at least I can enjoy looking at everyone else's great progress.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations