Happy Easter Sunday!

With the sun being absent, snow still on the ground, and rain coming down, it just doesn’t seem right that Easter was moved from April to March this year. Who does that?? Not a wise decision in my opinion. No one can have an outdoor egg hunt!

But anyway, I’ve been super busy the past few weeks. I’m an admitted pack-rat and have had oodles of stuff in storage for YEARS. I’m beginning to understand how extremely pointless it is and one day a wonderful idea occurred to me.

My brother, who purchased a new town house last summer, has one, ground floor room with a separate outside entrance. He was hoping to have a renter but with his 13 year old daughter occasionally staying with him, it wasn’t possible. SO I thought, “Hey, I wonder if Brett would let me use that room?”.

For a few key reasons it would be ideal.

  1. He lives in town. I’m somewhat out of town and people don’t always want to drive “so far”.
  2. I have dogs and always had to meet people in my driveway; often awkward with larger pieces and/or crappy weather.
  3. My stuff, for the most part, has (had) to remain in various boxes, bins, cupboards, closets, etc. because I didn’t have one place to put it all. ONE room is perfect!!

I emailed him at work with this long spiel about how much he’d be helping me out, how he’s not using that room, yadda, yadda. He replied with a YES less than 10 minutes later! I was so thrilled and also surprised as I was expecting a no. I began hauling things in the very next day. That was almost 3 weeks ago.

I went from this. . . . . .

To this. . . . . in record time. Looks messy but I’m organizing it!

I suspected I had a lot of stuff, and I do, but gathering it all in one place. . . .wow. I’m the only sentimental one between my brother, sister and myself. Much of what I have belonged to our grandparents. I also have things left over from my days of being a step-mother (of sorts, my ex had 2 kids and they all lived with me for a while). Clothing, toys, my own collections (roosters, cows, old rolling pins, old flour sifters, key chains to name just some). I have things that belonged to my sister and our mom. I really DID latch on to whatever I could! And I still really love all the things I have but, again, it’s rather pointless when it’s mainly in storage.

That’s my agenda now. Sell it all before snow flies again in October. Sooner hopefully so I can be out of my brother’s way! He absolutely had no clue what I meant when I said I had tons of stuff to get rid of. It literally looks like a small thrift store. And I’m adoring it, lol. Probably because I love thrift stores on account of the whole ‘recycle, reduce, reuse’ lifestyle I try to lead.

But this isn’t even why I began writing today’s post. Since I’ve been placing ads on various online sources, I received an offer I wasn’t expecting. I’d also posted an ad for my finished Tigger quilt.

A woman was interested in it for a baby gift and she mentioned the nursery was done in Winnie the Pooh. I told her I could do a custom quilt IN Winnie the Pooh. AND she’s all over it! 🙂 And that’s not even the best part.

During our email exchanges, she also mentioned she has a children’s clothing and accessory store and I can put my quilts in there if I’d like. IF I’d like?!!! Of course I would!

My very immediate agenda is designing some baby/child size quilts. I’m staying home today, although it’s quite chilly in here right now (my wood stove has been out), and beginning the process. I have plenty of dormant ideas, I simply need to resurrect them. When my fingers aren’t cold and I don’t need to huddle under a pile of blankets that is.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to say, I still have stuff to haul to my brother’s!! It’s turning out to be a very good thing I finally decided to get rid of the clutter. My dream is to work from home and I’ll have room for all the different areas I’ll require. Because quilts are not the only passion of mine 🙂

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Thread! Again.

I wrote a post recently on thread, how one of my local sewing supply stores (Fabricland) offers lower prices, if you’re a member, and my way of circumventing the need for a membership.

I very rarely buy material. Most of my creations are from salvaged items; mainly old jeans. I’m big into the 4 R’s! Reduce, reuse and recycle being the most commonly known. There’s variation on the 4th R; rethink, recover, rescue, repurpose. I even saw ‘rot’ once, which is composting and can be considered as recycling. Personally, I love revive! Yes, it means reuse but sounds so much better 🙂 It’s good to try and follow all of these.

Before I go permanently off topic though (the health of this planet is extremely important to me), let’s get back to material. I very rarely buy it. . . blah, blah, blah. And the printed fabrics I use were given to me. I don’t anticipate requiring more for years. A paid membership wasn’t feasible when thread was usually the solitary item on my shopping list.

I hate going into Fabricland to be bombarded with the constant onslaught of sale signs applying to members only.

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Although I’ve never seen thread for that great of a deal to consider buying a membership (renewable once a year), the dramatic sale signs annoyed me. It’s discrimination for not being a member. And that doesn’t sit well with me.

My sister says, “You have a Costco membership”. True. I did (it expired). But, I couldn’t get into the store without one. I can go into Fabricland either way . I just can’t reap the benefits unless I have a membership. So it is different, in my opinion. It’s a blatant ‘NO sale price for you! You need a membership! Na, na, na na, na!’.

If I didn’t have a Costco card, I simply wouldn’t shop there (like I don’t now, lol) and I wouldn’t be witness to all the great deals I wasn’t able to take advantage of. It wouldn’t bother me.

Presently, I go into Fabricland and I see ‘40% off regular prices’ and I think, “Yay!” and then I also see the ‘members only’ and that just irks me. FORCED membership.

I suppose I should’ve clarified I’ve never seen thread for that great of a deal because I’m hardly ever in there. And I don’t follow the flyers. However, my recent purchase led me back less than a week later. I had 7 days for refunds or exchanges and I’d decided the $5.89 – 500 m spool of thread wasn’t vital to my sewing needs. I’d swap it for 2 of the incredible $4 – 1500 m spools. Three to seven times the amount of thread for a fraction of the cost should’ve been a foregone conclusion, especially when penny pinching! $35.34 vs. $8?

I was clearly not doing the math prior to purchasing. I know, I know, I didn’t buy 6 – $5.89 spools but I’d need to in order to end up with 3000 m. And I would’ve. Eventually.

Well, guess what? Those amazing $4 spools are on sale for $1.50!! For members only of course! They fit fabulously on my old Singer sewing machine with a small touch of ingenuity.

020Plastic wrap (clean, saved and now used for something!) crammed in the spool and voila! No transferring thread to smaller spools as I’d originally planned.

So I have another decision to make. Thread is a staple for anyone who sews. It won’t go bad. 12 spools at $1.50 each would recover the $30 membership fee.

Yes, it’s a massive amount and it’s the equivalent of paying $4 each.

But then I’d be completely set for future savings. All else (on top of those 12 spools) selling for a fantastic price, or even just a good one, would be true savings. Surely I’ll be in Fabricland enough over a year’s time to make a membership worth it??

I’ll require needles for my sewing machine soon. I do buy Ultra Lite Heat & Bond on occasion. Perhaps I’d be persuaded to browse through the ‘fat quarter’ section as they do rather intrigue me. And I’ll forever use denim thread.

What would you do? Swallow your distaste of forced memberships and buy one? Or pass on it, purposely forget everything else, and keep in mind $4 is still phenomenal compared to the smaller, more expensive spools? I also spotted 5000 m spools of thread for $8!! I haven’t even begun to calculate the savings on those! I once never would’ve contemplated buying thread in bulk and now I’m hooked! It’s fab-U-lous! 🙂

The savings alone (ranging from $17-$25 for each $4) on that thread more than makes up for higher, non-membership costs elsewhere . . . . . . doesn’t it? Or are we so programmed that we can’t feel like we saved cold, hard cash unless we see an actual, bona fide SALE price on our receipts?

That’s where I am. Do I buy a membership so I have undeniable, in-my-face savings? Or do the math each time I purchase bulk thread to remind myself I REALLY am still saving plenty of money? I fear I’ve been brainwashed because I’m leaning toward a membership. I need that tangible, here’s my Club card, give me the lower price shopping experience.

And isn’t that ridiculous?

 

Hooray for prototypes

Prototypes (aka “guinea pigs”) are often a necessary step in the design process. Personally, I find them to be extremely beneficial. Since I’m stubborn in wanting my denim pieces to be “all mine”, I avoid Googling for help or for patterns. I ponder matters, like edging a quilt or lining a reusable shopping bag, until I think I have a good idea. And then I go from there.

Sometimes I have success from start to finish, sometimes I get stuck and stay that way for ages. But I always learn what to do, or not to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not delusional. I’m well aware I’m not inventing something amazingly new and unique. Quilts, shopping bags, place mats, etc., already exist. I just like knowing I didn’t follow another designer’s steps.

Late last year, I began what was supposed to be a tote bag/purse of sorts, to be worn over one shoulder and rested on the opposite hip. My current purse is like that and I prefer such a style because it feels safer when I’m in the grocery store or walking through the mall. It would be more difficult for a thief to grab!

However, the design I had didn’t work out so well. My sewing machine wasn’t strong enough to go through the multiple layers of denim, batting and cotton. Until recently, the half completed bag sat on the sidelines. But now it’s done! And it’s a reusable shopping bag instead. With short handles. And wonky stitching up each side 🙂

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Looks can be deceiving! This bag holds plenty of books, so it will do fine for groceries. I wouldn’t have chosen white lining though, for a shopping bag. It will be dirty in no time!

The value in what I learned will aid me in future projects. So even though this bag has it’s flaws, it served a great purpose as a prototype. Handles – check. Lining – check. Band around the top – check. Inside seams – do them differently next time!

I’m in need of a new purse, the zipper on mine is broken. With my constantly growing aversion to buying brand new items, I’m designing a purse in my mind. I can make one! Over the shoulder, snaps or flap? Pocket on the outside? Or inside. Plain denim? Or fabric sporting Winnie the Pooh?

SO many ideas. . . . . and only 2 hands and 24 hours in each day!

Another quilt completed

For me (a life long procrastinator), it’s odd to finish things! I’ve been trying very hard to turn over a new leaf (like every year) and complete my projects from beginning to end. Of course, I have a mountain of work to tackle. My sewing room (and my mind!) is cluttered with half accomplished items.

But if I’m ever going to make money at my craft, I need to get my act together. Passion for what I do isn’t enough. Organization and follow-through are also vital. Don’t misunderstand me, I have finished stuff in the past, it’s just more common not to. I get stuck on how to attach handles, or how to bind an edge, or I simply get bored and move on.

However, just this morning, I finished a second, experimental quilt. And when I was done, I had to stop and think, “Am I REALLY done? Or is there something I’m forgetting?”. It felt weird because I’m so accustomed to abandoning items mid-way in favor of newer, “more exciting” ideas.

This second, denim quilt began as another one for my dog, Charlotte. It quickly became too large so I changed it into a quilt for myself, with the intention of her being allowed to lay on it also. Normally she’s restricted to her own blanket(s). For those of you who have indoor dogs, you’re probably well aware of how many you can go through. I’ve always had blankets (or sheets) on my couch to keep the dogs off the actual upholstery. Certain fabrics and dog hair do NOT mix!

It’s one reason why I love denim. Dog hair can easily be shaken off of it. And it’s durable, also good for dogs.

I purposely designed this quilt to be long and narrow, for use on a couch. . . . it’s why I named my WordPress blog CouchQuilts. I don’t want my quilts to be stored away in a closet and most people have a couch. And most people lay on their couch from time to time. . . . do you see where I’m going with this? Simply put, I’d like for my quilts to be out and enjoyed.

Rather than posting pictures here, I’m going to do something insanely clever (ha ha! just kidding) and include a link to my Facebook page. It’s strictly for my denim, no other topics like I have on this blog. If you’re feeling adventurous, please go and have a look 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/delightfuldenimdesigns/timeline

If I’m not mistaken (and I very well may be!), you would go into ‘Photos’ and then ‘Albums’. Or my last post is ‘Dog Blanket Number 2’ and it will be right there at the top of my timeline? I haven’t had this FB page for long (hence the 9 likes :)) and I have plenty to learn!

 

 

I made a slipper!

I’ve never really been a fan of wearing slippers. My feet get too hot, no matter what kind. I’m generally sock-less and slipper-less, except of course when I go to town, to work or outside. And then I have no choice but to put shoes on. If I could have bare feet all the time, I would! Mud . . . . okay, I won’t go there.

A short while ago, I had the notion to make denim slippers. And like most new ideas, I get fixated on them, ditching all current projects to see if this next one will work! It’s a terrible, terrible habit and I’m probably never going to be able to shake it.

Instead, I’m learning to live with it 🙂 I am who I am.

So last night, I grabbed a piece of paper, traced my foot and got busy. I opted for doing a slipper completely from scratch, meaning I winged it as I went along. I’m very stubborn when it comes to making any of my denim items. I avoid Googling for patterns and take it all from inside my crowded head. Sometimes my ideas work, sometimes not so much.

My slipper, and I literally only made one, turned out fantastically! Far from perfect (I’ve given up the dream of achieving perfection, life is easier for it too) and I’ll do future slippers a bit differently but it was still a huge success.

I decided to make an open-toe style, so my feet, er, foot doesn’t get too warm and because it would be simpler for a first attempt. I’m digging on the fringe although it took me forEVER to do it! And I did it crookedly to boot, lol.

All in the learning process, right!? Right! And obviously I need to make an actual pair. This was my experimental slipper and now I know what to do! And not to do.

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My mom’s at the top of my list of those to make some for. She’s a dedicated slipper wearer. Personally, I don’t care if I ever have a pair! I just like making stuff from denim 🙂

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Save money on thread!

I love saving money (especially when I don’t have an abundance of it) and what I discovered yesterday is too good not to share. If you sew, pay attention! If you don’t already do this, you just might want to begin 🙂

Anyone who’s read my blog knows that I make denim quilts. A lot of my stitching is “behind the scenes”, meaning you’ll never see it. When I attach 2 pieces of denim together, I use whatever thread I have on hand, no matter the color. For top stitching, which you do see, I generally use a specific denim thread.

Since I was running low, I stopped at Fabricland on my way home from work yesterday. It’s close to where I live, so it’s convenient but I really don’t like shopping there. The store is often ablaze with cardboard, neon signs such as “Buy 1, get 1 (or even 2) FREE” or “Take 40% off the regular price!”. Sounds good? It is. Until you also see the “Members only” written in the corner.

And that irks me. I HATE feeling like I’m being forced into paying for a yearly membership just to get the odd sale price on thread. I very, very rarely buy material. I use old jeans for the most part. But NOW I’ve gotten around the whole membership issue and I’ve hugely reduced some of my thread expense. I had a brilliant, light bulb moment!

Here are the types of thread I usually purchase.

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The first is a 500 m spool, $5.89 regular price. That kind of hurts considering how quickly I go through it. The second and third spools are designed for use with denim and I like them because the stitching “disappears” if the denim is just the right shade. Their prices are $3.89 for 200 m and $2.00 for 114 m. Ouch and ouch as well, unless I snag them during a great sale. I have. Only once. I wish I’d loaded up!

And then there’s this next spool of thread.

012It’s for a specific type of sewing machine, a serger. I don’t have a serger so these extra large, uneven shaped spools had remained off my radar. But while I was looking at threads and bemoaning the prices, I saw these big spools and I began to think. It’s thread. Right? I could use it. Couldn’t I? OH YES.

Oh yes, I can!

Last night, I grabbed several empty spools (it does help to keep everything, lol) and as I watched Netflix, I transferred thread from the big spool to the smaller ones. My savings are phenomenal. If you have the stubborn determination I do, you can save money as well.

The serger thread, at 1500 metres, was only $4.00! Four dollars. Four smackers. Four bucks. Even without doing the math for you, you can easily see I saved plenty of money. And I’ll save more in the future because this is what I’ll do for all my hidden stitching and even some of my top stitching. I’m actually thankful for this financially strapped phase I’ve been experiencing. It’s making me look at money spending in all new ways.

I have 4 partial spools, I’ve learned I can put MORE thread on them, so I will from now on. I’m so happy. I am easy to please though!

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I think most of us can be frugal, we just don’t think about it unless we absolutely have no choice.

Okay, I have to show the math anyway. It’s so amazing!

  • 3 – 500 m spools x $5.89 = $17.67
  • 1 – 1500 m spool x $4.00; savings of $13.67, yay me!

If I use basic blue thread over denim thread (in some cases), I can save there as well.

  • 7½ – 200 m spools x $3.89 = $29.18
  • 1 – 1500 m spool x $4.00; savings of $25.18!!

If that’s not incentive to ditch the denim thread, I don’t know what is. I believe I just convinced myself. I’d need 13, THIRTEEN, of the smallest spools to equal 1500 m.

  • 13 – 114 m spools x $2.00 = $26.00
  • 1 – 1500 m spool x $4.00; savings of $22.00, another wowzer!

Sew there you have it! Switch to spooling your own thread and save money! Big money, not mere pennies, although those do add up too. My $5.89 brand new spool of thread is going back to Fabricland tomorrow. The only downside to using serger thread is it’s not available in the wide array of colors normal spools are. However, I’ll be pretty satisfied with blue, black and white.

*** Vitally important update: (ha ha) Because I have the kind of mind that likes to figure out how to do something without necessarily spending more money, I put my thinking cap on after publishing this post earlier today. Transferring the thread from big spool to small spool was what I thought was a good plan (Plan A) until I had more time to ponder the situation.

Plan B is so much better! I had old plastic wrap that had been used as packaging (I do save everything!) and crammed a piece of it into the center of the spool and voila! Now it sits nice and tight on my machine, no wiggling, no budging, perfect 🙂 And it was 100% free.

I have proof.

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And now I need to sew something!

Pictures are important

Having at least decent pictures of a product is very important. Of course, awesome would be the aim but I’ll never reach that level with an old, cheap camera. And that’s okay. I can STILL take pictures!

My other biggest challenge is WHERE to take my pictures. A quilt can be a difficult item to show. Fortunately for me, my brother bought a new home last year and I’ve discovered how wonderful a king size bed and huge, comfy couch are. For picture taking 🙂

Recently, I folded up some of my quilts and hauled them into town for a photo shoot. I can’t say I’m fond of his stark white, BORING walls. Oh, how I wish he’d let me paint. I have an eye for that. As for photography though, I definitely need to learn about daylight, shadows and all the stuff that can interfere with a positive end result.

One day, way down the road, I’ll invest in a better camera. For now, I’m satisfied with a place I can take “better” pictures. And rather than updating the various pages I have on here, I’ll just include new photos in this post. Easier for you and me!

It seems fitting I begin with the Montreal Canadiens quilt I’m making for my brother. I presented it to him for Christmas, UNFINISHED. He’s tall and I needed to know how much larger to make it. It’s on my very soon, to-do list!

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It’s meant to be long and narrow, to fit well on a couch, because I’d like for it to be out and used, not folded away in a closet. My brother is 43 and a dedicated lifetime fan of the Montreal Canadiens. It wasn’t easy finding Montreal Canadiens t-shirts and this quilt will always be one-of-a-kind.

This next quilt was started with my ex-mother-in-law in mind. It has an old pajama top of her granddaughter’s incorporated into it. The butterflies glow in the dark and the saying “Dream a Little Dream” couldn’t be more perfect!

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Quilt number three was one I began for my mom. Only, it got too big and I had nowhere to lay it out flat! So I abandoned it. I have plans for building a custom sewing table this year and will finally be able to finish it. I was happy at least to lay it over a king size bed for pictures, the quilt itself is only meant to be queen size.

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Fourth in line is my Polar Bear quilt, named so for obvious reasons. It’s on the small side and might just stay there. I’d like to make child size items as well.

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And here we have what I call my Placemat Quilt. The four, small rectangles in the center were once headed toward being the backs of reversible placemats. And then I decided I didn’t like them. Not wanting to waste (I HATE waste!) the denim however, I opted for making a quilt. I can’t say I’m crazy about the pattern but it’s growing on me AND it’s an actual completed quilt! I’m going to use it and launder it (repeatedly) to see how it holds up.

One of my largest concerns is a quilt falling apart after it’s left my home. I don’t want that to happen, ever. I double stitch when I can 🙂

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I also made a small, dog quilt recently. It was purely experimental and was always intended for Charlotte, my Boston Terrier mix who simply must be under a blanket when she’s snoozing. I needed to remind myself why I dislike stretch denim. I wanted to try a different edge. AND I finished it! I really can get things done!

Keep in mind, this was experimental and for a dog, so it’s nothing special. I did learn the size would also be appropriate for a baby or as a lap quilt for someone in a wheelchair. It was a win, win, win situation.

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I have other quilts (Tigger, Frog, Cow, Cat) I won’t show again until they’re done and I can take decent pictures.

Today’s task is to complete the second, experimental dog quilt I began after doing the first one.

The tiggeriffic Tigger!

My Tigger quilt is currently 38″ x 45 1/2″. 018I don’t really want to make it much bigger. Sometimes, when I get an idea stuck in my head, there’s no dismissing it! And I envision this quilt on the smaller side.

So, I Googled the dimensions for various, smaller quilts and learned something. There’s no defined size, only general guidelines. For instance, a baby quilt can be anywhere from 36″ square to 52″ square. Honestly, the square aspect is lost on me. In my opinion, a quilt should be longer than it is wide. But that’s just me 🙂

This Tigger quilt, if I finish it off now, can be categorized 4 different ways; baby, crib, toddler and lap. This is according to the information I found online.

I have the perfect material to back it with.011

If I’m lucky, I can manage a second quilt because I do have another Tigger pillowcase 007to use again as the center. Although I am rather fond of the black and grey, I’d do the next one with blue denim, just to compare the two, and maybe keep some of the blue border from the pillowcase, which is double-sided. I have FOUR Tiggers!

** Okay, I drafted the first half of this post last night. And then I got to thinking. . . . . I may have seen another Winnie-the-Pooh sheet while I was rummaging around. . . . .and I was right!006 004

This one might be more appropriate although I’m leaning toward the other one. And both sheets are only twin size, so I will not be able to get 2 quilts from each (unless I make sure they’re small, baby quilts). . . . . shoot.

Now I must do more pondering and probably alter my plans.

Of course, I could always make the first quilt mine 🙂 and sell the second one! And the third. And the fourth.

There’s a definite dilemma with making one-of-a-kind anything. It’s easy to become attached.

But I REALLY don’t need anymore blankets. . . . . . . or do I?

I was able to plug my sewing machine in the other day after all.

Leroy moved from the floor004 to the top of the old, wooden chest he was laying by. I could finally reach the outlet without waking him from his beauty sleep.

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The chest is under one of the windows in my living room turned sewing room. It’s there for the dogs actually! They like to look out the window, especially when I’m deserting (that’s what they’d say if they could talk) them on a hot day and leaving them safely at home.

This Tigger quilt is the first one I’ve done with denim that isn’t blue and I like it.

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The quandary I’m in now is how big? I’m toying with the idea of a baby/toddler size quilt. Or do I go with a couch size quilt? Black and grey could be difficult to coordinate with a baby’s nursery and is definitely more geared toward a boy. A couch quilt doesn’t necessarily need to match a living room’s decor. It’s just something you cover up with when it’s chilly.

Decisions, decisions.

I did place my sewing table in a different position.

028Leroy being in the way shouldn’t be a problem again. I’m also trying to get better natural daylight which may sound odd being summer and all but my trees create an awful lot of shade. Despite shorter days, winter is the best time for sewing without lamps.

Who really rules the house?

I’m in the mood to sew. It’s been a long while since I’ve done anything with my denim quilting!

I dusted my machines, formed a plan in my head and cleaned off the table where it all happens. It (the table) currently resides in my living room, along with 3 racks and various bins of denim and assorted materials. I live alone and have a wood stove room with a couch, so converting my living room into a sewing space was logical.

My winter project (for the 3rd year in a row) is renovating my master bedroom, which has been a glorified, storage facility for forever, and then using it for my craft/sewing room. I have a lot of ideas. Too many! I want to learn to knit, or crochet. I’m not picky. I’d like to get back into my woodworking and also give stepping stones a try! Being a gardener with an overactive imagination sent me down that path. If only I had 8 arms and 40 hours in a day!

And didn’t hold a degree in procrastinating!

But anyway, back to the quilt I’m thinking about. I’ve had a Tigger pillowcase designated as the centre of a quilt for a long time. And that’s as far as it’s gotten. Until today. Or perhaps tomorrow because I’ve put it on hold. Again.

Why?

Leroy is in my way 🙂 I’d have to step over him to plug my sewing machine in. No can do.

00490% of the time, I’m loathe to disturb either of my dogs. He looks so peaceful and he is 6 1/2, maybe he needs more sleep.

Any excuse, eh?

Charlotte is fine right now, she’s watching me and wide awake.007

I did get a tiny bit accomplished. I chose the first denim, cut the first 2 strips and even pinned one in place! I’m going with black, and eventually grey, for a change.

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I suppose I’ll go make that pot of soup I started yesterday. . . . . . Leroy won’t sleep too long.