March 30, 2010

Stash Reduction & Organization

I've been quite busy not sewing.  Instead I've been analyzing my fabric stash, feeling overwhelmed by it---and reducing a lot of stuff in the Itsy-Bitsy sewing room. Relentlessly with no compassion for what may have been a favorite at one time, but which at this time I can't quite remember why! I've been throwing "stuff" into bags and into the car and donating it to a worthy cause. Gone---

It all started quite innocently when I wanted a certain piece of fabric on the lower cubby shelf and which was sandwiched ( I should say more like compressed onto the lower cubby shelf)---between some other fabrics. I managed to get my fingertips onto the fabric but when I pulled on it, the whole shelf of fabric came out and tumbled onto the floor in a jumbled mess!  This is not the first time. In recent months this has been going on quite a lot.  In fact I have been avoiding digging around in my fabric just for this reason, and when I do manage to pull a fabric piece out to use, I don't even attempt to put it back into the cubby shelf because I know it's going to be struggle to squeeze it back in place, so I toss it into this overflowing basket under the cutting table, and another piece joins it, and on and on it goes until the basket under the cutting table was overflowing.

It was time to do something about this hoarding state of fabric affairs that has to do with a passion that was taking over space in the sewing room, and in away, compressing my creativity too.

After days of sorting, analyzing what to keep, what to toss, questioning my sanity as to why I gotten myself into this predicament---and I was not sympathetic as to why I was doing this,  everything is finally-sort of --- back in order in the sewing room. I feel some control over my fabric hoarding tendency, at least for now. I refuse to even consider the purchase of anything to do with fabric or quilt patterns.  Thread? that's another story!

I know some quilters reduce their fabric stash by actually cutting, sewing and quilting with their stash---and I do to a certain degree as well.  But, I was to a point where I couldn't find certain fabrics, couldn't remember why I even had purchased certain fabrics, couldn't squeeze just one more thing onto a shelf---and was feeling generally overwhelmed with a lot of stuff I wasn't using---and would never use! The saying: "if I live to be 100, I will never use all this" certainly applied to what is going on!

Here is a picture of the back of the car stuffed with fabric, trim, leftover binding pieces. odd amounts of batting pieces, patterns and magazines.  You are seeing just the first row of bags and boxes. Actually there are three rows  of assorted bags of "stuff".

There still is a lot of fabric to work with in the sewing room. And I could probably fill the car one, two more times,  and not even make a dent in the stash.  But, it's looking better now. More manageable, which is the point of spending time doing this. Here are some cotton plaid shirts I bought at Goodwill that I need to cut up into usable fabric pieces. The fabric in the plastic bin beside the shirts needs to be cut into 2-1/2" strips. 

Batting that I sorted through, and some fat quarters in the box I'm going to give to friend. 

I saved the really usable larger pieces of batting and labeled them. The other batting scraps are gone!

Larger pieces of flannel and muslin sorted and stored up off the floor on a top shelf of the closet.

The "red stash" of  fabrics that I kept are now folded and stored on fabric organizers.

Things are certainly easier to find now.  I still feel that I couldn't possibly use all this fabric if I tried!  But at least I can see it and find it.  Next thing to tackle is my shelves of quilt books and magazines, this may be harder to part with than the other stuff. (sigh)

March 25, 2010

I'm Caught in a Swirl!

I taped the Circle Lord Swirls template boards to my frame a few weeks ago, and I just keep using it to quilt whatever comes along. Here are two more "Swirled" quilts.

This is a beautifully pieced "One Block Wonder" which belongs to my friend, Cora.

And this is one of my unfinished quilt top projects. I bought these hand dyed flannel squares on eBay years ago. I used some pretty turquoise flannel by Moda on the back and for the borders.  Legacy 80/20 batting.  It's bright! ---but, so cozy soft! I love how it "swirled".  Like soft velvet!

March 22, 2010


One of the outdoor cameras by our garage captured this picture.  Our garage is about 30 yds from our house. We live up a steep driveway that curves into a parking area near the front of the house.  We have a bell that rings up at the house if someone passes through a beam of light type alarm further down the driveway so we know someone is here, and we also have a monitor that is attached to a camera at the front of the garage so we can see who has entered the parking area.  Last year a mountain lion came up the driveway about dusk, and we could see it on the indoor monitor. It walked out of the sight of vision of the monitor camera, however since then my husband has installed two of the  motion detector cameras that take pictures. Day or night. We have never captured the mountain lion again on the camera, (much to his disappointment)--- but the cameras did go off and take a picture of this Bobcat.  We also have some fairly large Fox, Raccoons, Deer, Wild Turkeys, Possum, Coyote, Skunk and stray domestic cats captured on the  camera disc.  
It's interesting to get the digital cards out of the cameras and see what went through the yard that we never notice, or see.

We take Boots on a leash out for her evening walk, and it's up here close to the house where we walk.  She is too small to be out by herself, especially at night.  We also have eagle, hawks and owls. They like little dog snacks too!

Some general information about Bobcats.Bobcat Lynx rufus

The Bobcat is a wild cat native to North America. They are found mostly in the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. The bobcat is an adaptable animal that inhabits wooded areas as well as semi-desert, urban, and swampland environments. They live in a set home range which shifts in size with the season.
In appearance the bobcat is quite similar to the Canada Lynx but is usually significantly smaller. In color they are mostly tan to grayish brown, but can vary. They also have numerous black streaks in their coat, with dark bars on their forelegs and tails. Their spotted coat allows them to blend into their environment. The ears are black-tipped and pointed with short black tufts. There is generally an off-white color on their lips, chin, and underparts. Kittens are born well-furred and already have their spots.

Adult male bobcats are 28 to 47 inches long, and height to their shoulders is about 14 or 15 inches. Included in their length is a stubby 6-inch tail, which has a "bobbed" apearance, which gives this species its name. They weigh about twice that of a house cat, with adult males usually ranging from 16 to 30 pounds while the females, which are smaller, average about 20 pounds. They are muscular, and have hind legs that are longer than their front legs, giving the animal a bobbing run. They weigh 0.6 to 0.75 pounds and are about 10 inches in length at birth. By their first year they will reach about 10 pounds. 

They keep on the move from three hours before sunset until midnight, then again from before dawn until three hours after sunrise. Each night they will move from two to seven miles along their habitual routes.

As a predator, the bobcat is able to go for long periods without food, but will eat heavily when prey is abundant. During the lean periods, they will often predate larger animals which they can cache and come back to later. The bobcat hunts by stalking or ambushing their prey and then pouncing or giving chase for short distances. Their preference is for mammals about 1.5 to 12.5 pounds in weight. ( Our maltese/poodle mix," Boots", weighs approx. 10 lbs.)
 Their main prey varies by region. In the eastern United States it is the cottontail rabbit, but in the north it is the snowshoe hare. When these prey exist together, as in New England, they make up the primary sustenance of the bobcat. In the far south, the rabbit or hare is sometimes replaced by the cotton rat as the primary food source. The bobcat is an opportunistic predator that, unlike its Canadian cousin the Lynx, can readily replace its primary prey with a variety of options.
The bobcat hunts animals of three different sizes, and will adjust its hunting techniques accordingly. On small animals they will hunt in areas known to be abundant in prey, and will lie, crouch, or stand still in wait for an animal to wander close. It will then pounce, grabbing its prey with its sharp, retractable claws. These are usually small rodents like mice and squirrels or birds, but also fish and insects. For slightly larger animals such as rabbits and hares, they will stalk from a covering and wait until they come within 20 to 35 feet before rushing in to attack. Less commonly they will feed on larger animals such as foxes, minks, skunks, and house cats. They have been known to kill deer as well, especially in winter when smaller prey is scarce, or when deer populations become more abundant. They will do so by stalking the deer, often when it is lying down, then rushing in and grabbing it by the neck and biting through the base of the skull or chest. While they rarely kill deer, when they do, they eat their fill and then bury it with snow or leaves, often returning to it several times to feed.
The bobcat has no major predators other than man. The coyote has been known to be a direct predator of the bobcat, but has an unknown effect on their populations. Cougars and wolves may also occasionally kill bobcats when they get the chance. Death is due to a variety of causes, such as diseases, accidents, hunters, automobiles, and starvation.  Many bobcats will live to six or eight years of age, with a few reaching beyond ten. The longest they have been known to live in the wild is 16 years, but in captivity have been known to live up to 32.2 years. bobcat450.jpg

March 19, 2010

Walk in the Woods

I took some garden clippings down to the brush pile we have down in the woods.  On the way down through the trail I saw -----

an old log that is decomposing filled with Forget Me Knot spreading across the ground.

A lovely shade of blue in the late afternoon sun. I guess deer don't care for the taste of Forget Me Knot.  


On they way back up to the house I spotted this colorful fellow sunbathing. Pictures reveal  so much the eye does not see.  The pattern of his lizard skin, and the beautiful turquoise along the ridge of his back.  

The fresh Rosemary outside the back door is in full bloom.  Spring has arrived on Timber Hill.

(click on pics. to see details)

March 15, 2010

Swirled QOV!

Hey, I've been trying out the Circle Lord Swirls template board, and I have it taped in place.  I thought I would make good use use of it before I take it off and try some other quilting designs---the Circle Lord really is loads of fun!

Here is a wonderful string Quilts of Valor top I finished on the long arm yesterday.

The top was made by a women's group in Fair Oaks, CA

March 13, 2010

Fleece Quilt Swirled

I completed this fleece quilt today using the Circle Lord Swirls template boards. Fleece was on sale last week at JoAnns. I like this soft green. Boots does too!

I used So-Fine thread bobbin and top. This is the front. A soft green paisley print.

March 09, 2010

Whats on the Design Wall Today!

I missed posting what was on the design wall last week. Not that much had changed.

I've been playing around at the long arm more than sewing lately.

I did finish piecing a quilt top from the kit I received from the Quilts for Kids organization. I plan to quilt it this week. If you have not heard of this charitable organization, and if you would like to get involved, there is more information over on the right side of my blog. The Downey Fabric Softener Co. is involved in this wonderful effort to provide comfort quilts for children that are ill and hospitalized.

Quilts for Kids is very organized. The kit you will receive has excellent instructions. Beautiful co-ordinated precut fabric from the best fabric manufacturers and a lovely woven label and a precut quilt backing. All you need to provide is some time, thread and batting. Complete the quilt top and the quilting and send it back to the designated return address. Here are the cute fabrics I received, and the quilt top I completed.

It is also suggested if you have the time and fabrics you can use the provided pattern and make a few more quilts with your fabrics and enclose them in the package. They will sew on the labels to your quilts when they arrive.  Here are two more tops I cut from my stash that I plan to send along.

For those of you who are following the progress on the diamond log cabin I am doing the final round of half-log diamonds. If I remember last count ---I have about 17 more to piece and then I will start sewing the diamond segments together.  Some of you have asked about the little picture of the girls face that shows up in some of the design wall pictures.  It's a cute page I tore out of one of my Mary Engelbriet calenders last year. She has this priceless surprised expression on her face that makes me smile every time I see it!---just some inspiration!

What's on your design wall? I hope whatever it is ---it's fun, and your making progess.

March 05, 2010

Shape Up

Here's my new way of exercising! (you do know I will try anything to get out of exercising!) These are truly the ultimate proof of that!

Sketchers new shoes. "Shape Ups"!  Supposedly they are designed to promote weight loss, strengthen the back, firm calf and buttock muscles, reduce cellulite and tone the thighs, increase cardiovascular health, improve posture and reduce stress to knees and ankle joints. Now they invent these!

Where have they been all my life? When I really needed them? To think I spent all that money at the gym! Not to mention the spa, the chiropractors, the cellulite lotions and the blood pressure pills I could have avoided if I had these shoes!-----aaarrgh!

Huh!---Sure sounds almost too good to be true.

Oh-well---Actually I didn't buy them for all those reasons, but hey! I will take the perks that go along with the comfort. And they are very comfortable! Now days, I'm more into comfort than those other things they claim to do anyway.

They are especially cushy-cushy while standing and moving along the front of the long arm. That's a plus! or just walking---period. They sort of feel like your walking on marshmallows! 

 I did notice after wearing them around the house and walking outside yesterday my legs were a little sore this a.m. So, they must do some of the things they claim. (or I'm in really worse shape than I thought!)  They are  however strictly flat surface walking shoes. No rough terrain, walking on rocks,  or hiking on the hill with these. The "rocker" soles are just not suited for that.  You could tip over! 

There is a subtle feeling that your body is attempting to maintain a level of balance as you  walk around in the Shape Ups due to the way the sole is made on them. 

They are not inexpensive, but I scored a 30% off coupon at Kohl's yesterday and couldn't pass them up. I've been seeing ads for these shoes and had to satisfy my curiosity. Now to see if I they really help lose that last 5 lbs. that refuses to budge from the old bod. 

I really doubt these shoes will replace my exercycle,  but every little bit helps---right!