Posted by Donette littlecottagequilts@gmail.com on

Hello loyal friends and Sewists,

I didn’t realize that my last newsletter/blog post was last August. Where does the time go?? It seems to be harder and harder for me to juggle everything. I think I may be suffering some level of burn out.

The holidays (Oct thru Dec) were a blur of activities and deadlines. Does it seem like time is speeding up to y’all ? or is it just me? WHEW !! Add to the time crunch, the stress of having my long arm machine give me fits. It’s older and I think I am it’s 3rd owner. So in desperation to keep from getting too far behind in the schedule, I/we decided to bite the bullet and bought a new machine. Great, no more worries, smooth sailing, right? Not to be, the new machine started to present issues after about a dozen quilts. Days of frantic problem solving, ripping out bad quilting and sleepless nights, finally came to a resolve and the issue was fixed. Another dozen quilts and a bigger problem reared it’s ugly head. Another white knuckle week and a half of trouble shooting and finding a fix. (Do you know how hard it is to lean over the long arm poles and pick out quilting? oh my aching back) Turned out to be a factory defective part that has now been replaced. Fingers and toes crossed that will be the end of problems with this brand new machine. So far so good. By now I am farther and farther behind and loosing sleep once again about getting caught up without killing myself. And now this horrible second Arctic Blast is not helping.

But, life goes on, like a run away train. I am doing my level best to stay balanced. The Holidays over and the first of the year came and I decided that to be more efficient in my sewing studio, it needed a complete overhaul. I procrastinated a couple of weeks because I had 2 projects in the works that needed to be finished up before I tore into the studio. The entire room had to be emptied, except for the fabric cabinets along one whole wall. The house suddenly was piled high with boxes, bins, baskets, sewing tables and machines and cabinets and piles of fabrics to be sorted and projects and supplies. It was a total disaster. I told myself it would be a good solid day of work. HA !!! When did I start lying to myself so much?!?! (ie:”oh I’ll remember that” or “that won’t take very long” or “piece of cake job”) A full week of long days later, it still wasn’t completed. But you know how it goes. It’s a domino effect. What I planned out, didn’t quite work the way I thought it would. More shelving was needed, sewing table modifications needed and a lot of sorting and editing needed. On the bright side, it now has a better flow and the space is more organized for easier function. It was worth it, but until the very end, I questioned my sanity repeatedly. It’s still a falling down structure, still the same size room, but it’s amazing what planned organization can do.

As y’all know, we are only open on Wednesdays. We have been ask repeatedly if we can be open on the weekends. We hear you. It’s hard for y’all who work during the week to get away to shop or drop off a quilt. So after some soul searching, we decided to try one Sunday a month in addition to Wednesdays. Mark your calendars, we will be open the “Second Sunday” of every month. I chose the “Second Sunday” because I thought it would be easy to remember, “Second Sunday”. Starting this month, February 12, will be the “Second Sunday”. Hours will be the same as Wednesdays, 10 am to 4 pm.

Shipments of fabric have been erratic the past 2 years. As the manufactures experience difficulty in getting the fabrics made and shipped, it trickles down to us. Orders we placed months ago arrive unexpectedly and bunched together. This past week we received 2 of those from 2 different manufactures. Beautiful fabrics, the quality seems to be on par, just the timing is all out of whack. The main thing is, they are arriving and it’s exciting every time a box lands on our door step. Always something new to check out. Beautiful Maison des Roses new from RJR.

And how fun are these cute little frogs and tad poles from QT. Get in the mood for spring planting with these yummy food prints, also from QT.

As always, work on our house and now my “Orangery” are on a daily "to do" list. Weather gets in the way and we can’t work outside when it’s raining or freezing cold like this week has been. But we work as much as we can on those projects, but it's still slow and steady. Of course, like anything else, change is inevitable. As we are building and the structure goes up, things don’t always go as drawn on paper. Such is the case with the placement of the new wood stove for the old farm house living room addition. We just couldn’t get it in a position that worked for all purposes. Work order change. We bumped out the north wall of the living room to make a space for the stove. That slows everything down. And the weather shut it down before we could get the roof is on. Another delay was the increasing need for a “garden house/orangery”. I won’t call it a green house because it’s totally different, but the same. It’s to house my 4 lemon trees, 2 pineapple plants, seed starting operation and all round gardening activities from start to finish. The foundation was poured last fall, the walls are all framed and most of the outside sheeting is up on the 10 ft high walls and the cable ends started. But again, the weather has shut it down as Chris refuses to work in freezing cold temps. Heavy sigh.

In the midst of all this chaos, I have managed to get some fun projects done. I made up this beautiful Dream Big panel into a Christmas quilt sample. Because this panel is hard to visualize how to use it. (it’s still waiting to be quilted) Relatively quick to do and really quite simple. It’s a free pattern.

Then as January rolled on and I realized that Valentines Day was just around the corner, I saw this cute table runner. Honestly, I made it in a day, cut, pieced, quilted and bound. It’s that easy to put together. And because I was having so much trouble with my long arm, I quilted it on my regular sewing machine. So to share the love, we made up a couple of kits for it. Of course you can arrange the blocks anyway you choose. (The two hearts in the center going the same direction was an OPPS on my part).

Hope y'all are staying warm and cozy in this last half of winter. We are so looking forward to spring and a bit more sunshine. Until it gets too hot and then we will complain about the heat. Never perfect is it?
Keep Sewing,

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