allie-oops sweet happy life

What a sweet happy life it is!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Busy Season


It's a very busy time right now in Allie-land, the animals are frantically storing up for the coming winter, bucks are fighting and doing what they do, [these two actually got their horns locked together for awhile], all of creation is busy with a purpose...and then...there's me.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm really busy, just not accomplishing anything.  How can that be???  I remember reading, when my boys were small and I was homeschooling, that we need to stop sacrificing the important at the altar of the urgent....I need to take those words to heart again.  

When I first started homeschooling, I could not begin my day until the house was sparkling.  Back then, it seemed important, lol.  But no homeschooling was getting done.  Having two active and creative little boys was keeping things messy.  So, I stopped with needing perfection, and got right to school in the morning - and made cleaning a team effort.  Our house was not sparkling anymore, but the boys were learning!  I made the important stuff the priority.

But now that they're grown, I'm doing it again.  With three grown men on three different shifts, I could spend all my time just cleaning the kitchen.  That gets filed under "urgent", as I love a clean kitchen.  But honestly?  How "important" is it?  Is it ok to clean it just once a day?

YES.

What other important things have I been neglecting?  My sewing.  Christmas is coming, and I'd like to have a few extra dollars in my pocket, so designing patterns is important.  But it hasn't been "urgent".  I haven't got very far with my balcony window design...


There are several blocks to go.  I did get my Sweet Country bound and on the wall.


But you know what?  I was in a hurry, and I'm not happy with it.  The love block is crooked, I have pleats in my quilting, and the binding is too narrow.  It became "urgent" when I decided to enter it into a quilt show, and I was sloppy and it didn't get entered.

Time to take a breath, and figure this out, time to make deliberate choices instead of rushing around urgently, putting out fires and reacting instead of thinking.

I have a limited amount of energy, that's a fact.  Between arthritis, fibro, and some connective tissue disease, I need to make thoughtful choices.  Monday is Mom day, that's the day I take her grocery shopping and running around, nothing else gets done - then I need Tuesday to recuperate.  Stitching rejuvenates me, designing gives me energy, so Tuesday is sewing day.  Wednesday I'll clean the whole house, then the rest of the week I can recuperate and sew.  Deliberate choices, designed to make the most of what I can accomplish.

I'm designing my days as I design my patterns, with much thought and prayer.  I'm not sure how I got back into this mess of unplanned days, but it's wearing me out and it's time to stop.  I've learned that I need big chunks of time to get things done, I'm not one of those who can just take 15 minutes to sew - I wish I was!!!  But I don't handle transitions easily, so taking a whole day to do nothing but clean makes sense to me.  Having whole days to just sew makes sense.  

I'd love to hear how you schedule your days - can you easily grab a few minutes here and there to stitch?  Or do you need big chunks of time as well?  Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Allie







Sunday, September 24, 2017

Losing the Plot and Thinking of Christmas

We're having a massive heat wave here in Michigan right now, temps in the 90's every day, it's made me quite listless.  Even though I'm staying in the air conditioning...I think it's going to start acting like fall later this week, though.  I can't wait!

I haven't been doing much, a little stitching here and there, matter of fact I finished up a new free design.


I'll be making a table topper with it for mum, she never has enough Christmas stuff...you can get the design in my shop, Allie-oops Designs.

Speaking of mum, I'm going to be throwing her a surprise birthday party in December, for her 80th!  I'm getting very excited about it...I can't think of anyone who loves a party more than my mum.  Especially if it's for her, lol.  

Another thing I've been working on - I purchased an ecopy of Tonya Ricucci's book, Word Play Quilts.  I've been wanting to make larger quilts with scripture on them, but didn't want a lot of fused letters - I'd like to be able to quilt over them.  I've only made two (easy) letters so far - 


the next letter is a Y, which is more challenging, as it has angles.  You know me and piecing, lol - I'm extremely challenged!  The first T I made, I added the top bar with the fabric to the wrong side.  

I had a most incredible surprise the other day.  A package from my sweet friend O'faigh - she knows me too well - 


Her LQS was having a sample sale, and she got this for me.  Isn't that gorgeous!!!!  I'm not sure why my phone camera made the top of the frame a little green, it's not really.  I just love her - her tail has the teeniest beads!  Thank you sweetie!!

In the wildlife report, the deer are reveling in all the fallen apples - 


and apparently we have a new flock of woodpeckers.  I caught three of them on the shed the other day.



Just perching any ol' where, knocking holes in everything.  It's also stink bug season in Michigan, they are everywhere!  I've never had one actually stink when I killed it though.  Their only redeeming quality is that they don't bite.

I think that's all the news, I haven't been commenting much on blogs lately although I've been visiting...just feeling quiet.  Take care my friends, see you soon....

Love,
Allie



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Have A Cup On Me

Good morning all - or good evening, depending on where you are in the world.  I invite you to join me in a pot of coffee.


A new free design in the shop - simple and fast.

I'm finding it hard to believe it's Wednesday.  We're heading into the time of year when I don't know what day it is  - too many holidays.  Today is Mom Day, when I run her all over creation to do errands, so extra coffee is required this morning.  She wears me out!

Keep Florida and all the islands in the Caribbean in your prayers....Irma is a beast.

Love,
Allie

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cup of Kindess

As I sit here scrolling through endless coverage of Hurricane Harvey devastation, I'm struck by how different the narrative is - the kindess of strangers, everyone coming together, from far and near.  While the loss is tremendous and uncounted, I look for the blessing in the storm, and have found it.  We're not at war with each other, no matter what you've seen on the news, we're family, coming together when it counts.

I've been drawing up a couple of holiday patterns.  This one, Cup of Kindness, I've stitched while watching Houston news.


It started with the words from Auld Lang Syne, and transitioned into what I'm seeing on facebook.  One man from Kentucky, who was helping with the rescues, said he was struck by the kindness he saw everywhere, from everyone.

The pattern is free in my shop - here's a link - 

I would encourage you to support the rescue and recovery efforts in Houston and elsewhere along the coast.  I have two family members who lost everything - one has no flood insurance, because their area has never flooded.  Fox 7 in Austin has a webpage where you can look for places to donate, here's the link - How To Help.  

And please, even after the news coverage has moved on to the new story of the day, continue to keep these folks in your prayers.  They will need them for years to come.

Love,
Allie




Thursday, August 24, 2017

Holy Wow!

Boy did it get cold - seems like just yesterday it was 90+, and today it struggled to get to 67F!  I'm sitting here freezing in my hoodie....somebody send some sun!  This is more like autumn than late summer!

I've been keeping busy.  I downloaded the Overdrive app for my phone, so I can borrow library books and read them on my kindle app.  Wow do I love that!  Unfortunately, the book I'm "reading" at the moment was only available as an audio book....so it's taking forever to get through.  I can read a book in a day, but they sure don't talk as fast as I read.

So while I've been listening [Amelia Peabody series if you're interested], I've been stitching.  After finishing the Sweet Country series, I needed some quick applique.  I've uploaded 5 new applique blocks to my craftsy shop, they're just blocks, so you can use them anywhere - kitchen towels, pillows, baby blankets, children's clothing.  I'm calling them Dollar Deals, because each one is only one dollar!  The first one is the Sunflower block - 

I haven't stitched it yet, because I want to do a bunch of them in batiks.  All different colors of batiks, then make them into a little wallhanging with a scrappy border.

The next ones are a group of cacti - I call them Cactus Garden.





Just simple stuff, but it pleases me.  I'm thinking of putting these on a set of towels for my aunt.

While I've been busy indoors, hubby has been busy outside.  He's cleared the forest in back of underbrush, we could set picnic tables back there now - and he's been working on the fire pit.  He's done an amazing job.  The other day he was out there working on it and the deer came by to munch some apples - they didn't seem bothered by him at all!  Especially this fellow - 



Sorry for the quality of the pics, it was getting dark.  Amazing how tame these deer are!

I've got a busy weekend coming up, tomorrow is my son's 23rd birthday!  My baby.  Hard to believe.  We're celebrating Saturday as he forgot to get off work tomorrow.  I can only hope he doesn't forget to get time off for our upcoming trip to Florida!!

Gotta run, must find my wool socks - see you soon!

Love,
Allie




Friday, August 18, 2017

Sweet Country Tutorial (so many pics)

Ok, here we go, putting together the small version of the Sweet Country stitcheries into a quilt top.  This same method will work for the large size, but you'll need much more fabric - also, I used non-directional fabrics, you'll need extra if you use a directional print.

You'll need 1/2 yard of the light fabric, and 3/4 yard of the dark.  I got 1/2 yard of the dark, and had this much left over...



The strips are for my binding.  That teeny piece in the middle is what was left.  If you're doing the large size stitcheries, I would get at least a yard of each.  Maybe 1 1/2 yards of the dark.  Pick a pretty one and you'll wish you'd bought ten yards....like me.

First thing to do is trim your blocks.  You're going to measure one inch from each side of the stitched frame, using your large ruler to help line things up.  



The stitched frames are not quite even, but they will line up.  Trim a long side first, then line that up on your mat and trim the other sides.  See how the lines on the ruler make a frame against the stitched lines?  Your block will be 10" x 7".



(For the large size blocks, you'll trim to 12" x 8 1/2".)

Take your yardage of the dark fabric, and fold in half, selvage to selvage, then in half again.



You're going to cut several strips of 2 1/4".  The first 3 or 4 [I used 4 - I like extra so I don't have a seam in any corner] will be for your binding.  The rest will be for sashing the blocks.



I cut a piece slightly larger than what I need, then stitch and trim before pressing.  When I cut exactly the length I need, I always seem to come up a bit short - don't ask me why.  I'm a terrible piecer.

Add the sashing to the top and bottom of each block.  Trim and press.  Then add a strip to each side.




  
Do that for all four blocks, trimming and pressing as you go.

Next you'll add the light fabric sashing.  Fold your light fabric the same way you did for the dark, and cut more 2 1/4" strips.


Lay out your blocks in the order you want them in your quilt.  You're going to add a strip between the top and bottom blocks.  Stitch your strip to the top of the bottom block.


Stitch, trim, and press.


Now you're going to add your top block to that strip.


Do the same for the other two blocks, making sure to keep your blocks going the right way.

Now you're going to add the center sashing.


Stitch it to the first set of blocks.


Trim and press.  Stitch the other blocks to the center sashing strip.


Almost done.  Now you're going to add the border strips, all around, top and bottom first.


Stitch, trim, press, and add the side borders.  They're all 2 1/4".

I like to keep things simple.


And there you have a finished quilt top.

I was going to quilt it and bind it, but horrors! I have no batting.  So I laid out the binding to see what it might look like finished....


I LOVE it.  The two fabrics go together much better than you'd guess from the pictures - I can't get a good picture today to save my life.  

I'll be adding this tutorial to the complete set of Sweet Country designs.  They're available individually as well, if you'd prefer to make just one or two.  The price is the same.  Each pattern has a link to my blog, and the tutorial will be available permanently on my "Tutorials" page at the top of the blog.  I'd love to see your finished version!!

Almost forgot - designs are available in my shop!

Love,
Allie

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