Sweet George Bunny

Thursday, February 4, 2021

I’m deeply saddened to share that we said goodbye to our dear George bunny this morning. He was the light of our house, and a huge part of our family. We’re completely heartbroken, and also grateful he isn’t in pain anymore after struggling the last few months. We’ll love him forever, our sweet boo boo. Thanks for loving him along with us over the years.

January Monthly Report

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Happy February! It's time for the January monthly report. See past reports here.

My sewing this month wasn't anything super exciting, but I did finish some projects that I know will get a lot of use. First up I made more placemats. As I mentioned last month, we've been eating dinner at our dining room table most days since the pandemic started. I have a great stash of vintage tablecloths, but only had one style of placemats. Over the last two months I've made a few sets of placemats from my stash of home dec fabrics. It feels good to use up these types of fabrics, and I'll get to enjoy them on our table instead of tucked away in the fabric cabinet. They're super simple, just two pieces of fabric right sides together and sew around the sides. Turn, press and topstitch. They get the job done, and have been a great stash buster. I cut my rectangles 15"x17" and used 1/2" seam allowances for 14"x16" finished placemats.

My other big project this month was sewing up a set of four new pillowcases. I cut and washed the fabrics for these sometime in 2019 (I think, could have been 2018.). I've pulled them out and ironed them a few times and then put them away without cutting them. Finally in January I cut the pieces and stitched them up. I used some of my voile prints from Geometric Bliss, so they're super soft and silky feeling. I'm glad to have these to add into our rotation of cases. I use the burrito method for making mine, outlined here. Using the serger when doing the French seams really speeds these up.

I made a new cover for one of our long heating pads. This one is a little older and it runs pretty hot, so it needed a more substantial cover. I used some fat quarters of Nani Iro brushed cotton (flannel). I added a layer of fusible fleece to give it some extra padding. I'm happy to report it's back in use already and much improved by the new cover. It closes with a single snap.

My last sewing finish for the month was a pincushion from my scraps. I just barely squeezed this project in before the month ended, so I kept it simple. I decided to use all Minny Muu scraps, which are perfect for small projects since the scale of the prints is so tiny. I followed my own Scrappy Nine-Patch Pincushion Tutorial to make it. I did a pretty dense crosshatch quilting on the top, I like the resulting texture.

To keep myself accountable for my stash goals, I track my yardage for fabric and yarn each month. Read more about how I track here. Here is how I did in January:

January Fabric
Used up: 7.625 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -7.625 yards
Year to date: -7.625 yards

January Yarn
Used up: 393 yards
Brought in: 0 yards
Net: -393 yards
Year to date: -393 yards

I feel good about my stash results for this month. I wasn't tempted to buy any fabric or yarn, and I finished a decent amount! I'll take it.

I knit more this month than I did in the entirety of 2020! Michael has been working hard on writing and submitting a grant, so I've been spending time keeping him company while he works on the computer. It was the perfect excuse to get back into the swing of knitting. I knit two hats, plus a cowl. You can see the details for all three on my Ravelry page. I'm loving the small projects, and the finishes are keeping me motivated to continue on. Hoping it sticks, I haven't knit regularly in quite a while and it is relaxing. Hats are definitely my favorite!

My baking adventure in January was making chocolate chip bagels! When we lived in Madison, I loved the chocolate chip bagels from Bagels Forever. Getting one toasted with butter was one of my favorite treats after running errands. I've been pining for one ever since we moved away, so I finally took the plunge and tried making them. I was afraid the chocolate would disturb the rise, but it didn't at all. If anything, the dough rose more! I used my go-to bagel recipe (Water Bagels by King Arthur Baking) and I added mini chocolate chips to the dough during the knead. They turned out awesome! Next time I plan to add the chips directly to the flour.

Sleepy George Bunny.

Have a Great Month!

2021 Crafty Goals

Sunday, January 31, 2021

I'm back to share my 2021 Crafty Goals. I'm not making nearly as many this year, in order to focus my efforts. As I mentioned in my 2020 Yearly Review, I wanted my goals for this year to be less project specific and more broad. I followed that with one exception. I really want to finally sew a jacket! I bought the Kelly Anorak Pattern (by Closet Core Patterns), fabric and hardware in 2016 and I've put it on my goals list pretty much every year since then. I feel like I really need to either make it this year or let the pattern and hardware go. One or the other!

The overall mindset for approaching my creative endeavors this year is to listen to my gut and make what feels best. Sometimes I let my goals keep me from working on what I really want to. Sometimes that's good, but I think with everything else going on in the world right now, I need my crafty time to be really satisfying and not stressful. That probably means more quick, one or two afternoon type projects. A little more instant gratification to keep myself motivated to tackle the next project.

I've decided not to make any general crafting goals this year. There are things I want to craft, but I want that to be totally free from restrictions, deadlines or objectives. My crafting will simply be opportunities for play.

Sewing & Quilting Goals:
- Use up more yardage than I bring in. I'll track my yardage each month to help me stay on target.
- Complete one long-term quilt project (kaleidoscope, double wedding ring, HST book quilt tops, etc.).
- Sew four new-to-me patterns, ideally one per quarter.
- Complete one small scrap project per month.
- Finally sew the Kelly Anorak Jacket (ideally in time for Fall).
- Practice techniques that are unfamiliar or new to me.

Knitting Goals:
- Use up more yardage than I bring in. I'll track my yardage each month to help me stay on target.
- Knit a matching hat and mitten set.
- Start a new weaving project.
- Finish or frog one long term knitting project (Briochealicious, Daybreak, Sundial, or Hitchhiker shawls or machine knit socks).

2020 in Review

Friday, January 29, 2021

I thought we better look back at 2020 before we get too far into 2021. To be honest I have been tempted to skip this post altogether. But I know I'll regret it if I don't mark the year changing at all.

I met almost none of my crafty goals for the year. Never could I have imagined the things that would happen in 2020, and my sewing goals definitely took a back seat. I spent a lot more time in 2020 just trying to stay afloat. Taking care of our household, trying to stay connected to friends and family, and focusing my sewing on more practical projects like masks and things for the house. I also spent much more time this year in the garden; any excuse to be outside and not in the house for a bit.

I think the biggest reason that I did not meet many of my crafty goals in 2020 (other than the pandemic) is that they were really project specific. It didn't allow me much room to be flexible. With that in mind I'm making more broad goals for 2021. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, but I will admit I'm dissapointed. I know it's an ebb and flow though. Some years are more productive than others, and this is an incredibly trying peroid of time that we've been living through.

So, in order to feel a little better about what I was able to accomplish last year, I'm going to mix up the yearly review a bit. You can see past yearly reviews here.

First up, my proudest crafty accomplishment of 2020. For the fifth year in a row, I tracked my fabric and yarn yardage. (See how I do that in this post.) As in other years, my goal was simply to use up more fabric than I bring in. I'm happy to report that I acheived this for both fabric and yarn! I also wanted to bring in less fabric than last year (which was 48 yards), so I met that extra bit too!

2020 Fabric Stash:
Brought in: 40.25 yards
Sewed up/destashed: 65.5 yards
Net: -25.25 yards

2020 Yarn Stash:
Brought in: 0 yards
Knit up/destashed: 334 yards
Net: -334 yards

My favorite quilt finish:

Photo used with permission from Quilts & More magazine. ©2020 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
Keep On Turning Quilt

My favorite lined drawstring bag finish:

Tiny Drawstring Bag Advent Calendar

My favorite tote bag finish:

Scrappy Canvas Workshop Tote Bag

My favorite (and only) knitting finish:

Sweet Nectar Mitts

I actually managed to share 13 tutorial or informational posts this year, which is cool! I wrote a number of them for the lined drawstring bag sew along, plus a few based around sewing space organization. I hope to add to that series this Spring. See all the tutorials/informational posts I shared in 2020 below:

Long Scrappy Pincushion Tutorial
Scrappy Nine-Patch Pincushion Tutorial
DIY Quilt Ladder
DIY Fabric Grow Bags
Tips for Keeping Your Sewing Table Organized and Clutter Free
Tips for Storing Projects in Progress (WIPs)
Tips for Organizing and Storing Fabric Scraps
Vote Mini Quilt Tutorial
How to Add Pom Pom Trim to a Pillow
Tips for Choosing Fabrics for Drawstring Bags
Lined Drawstring Bag Video Tutorial
Wine Bottle Drawstring Gift Bag Tutorial
How to Add an Exterior Pocket to a Drawstring Bag

I released one new pattern in 2020, the Bear Paw Pillows Pattern. It's currently available as a PDF only, but the Paper version and a little shop refresh are both coming in February.

Find the pattern here: Bear Paw Pillows Pattern

One of the biggest changes I made to my shop in 2020 was I started selling Cotton Twill Tape and Cotton Webbing. I'm excited to add more new products like these this year, first up wooden beads! Hopefully also in February.

Find those products here: Cotton Twill Tape and Cotton Webbing

I want to wrap up this review by sharing a few of my favorite snapshots from my 2020 garden. There wasn't as much to look forward to in 2020 as plans kept needing to be canceled and we hunkered down here in CT. Being able to grow food and flowers really helped me get through it. Every morning during the Summer I'd start the day by going out and walking through the garden to see the progress. Oftentimes I'd do the same again a few times during the day, whenever I needed some fresh air or a pick me up. Usually the growing season seems so slow, but I really was able to savor and appreciate it last year.

I'll be back to share my 2021 Crafty Goals soon!