Of Cats and Quilts

CQ Doll Quilt-2
I finished this small doll quilt back in 2020 but never shared it.  Since the video for it is now up, I wanted to write a blog post to go with it.  

Photographing anything is more challenging with Mushu around!  He always has to ham it up for the camera!  I think this is my favorite photo of him as it aptly shows his personality!  

CQ Doll Quilt-3
So here's what the quilt looks like.  The blocks are 6" when finished, making the quilt 20-21" square.  Perfect for a doll!  Originally, I had wanted to make a lap quilt with these blocks, but I ran out of the bird fabric that was used as the focal fabric.  And since it was from fabric my mom had, it was long out of date with little chance of finding more.  

CQ Doll Quilt-1
For the back, I had hoped to use the yellow and pink floral fabric and do a self binding with it, but I didn't have enough.  Instead I cut the required binding and used what I had left to add a strip down the center. The green and cream fabric is the same as used on the alternating blocks on the front.  

CQ Doll Quilt-8
Knowing that I wanted this to be a functional quilt suitable for my grandchildren to cuddle with, I opted to use simple seam embroidery with no additional embellishments.  All the blocks use the same basic assortment of stitches, but with a few variations.  

CQ Doll Quilt-9
It's amazing what just a handful of stitches can do!  

CQ Doll Quilt-5
It's always a challenge when stitching on brightly patterned prints to find the right contrast of color to help the stitches stand out.  

CQ Doll Quilt-7
This is the block that I made for the "Basic Crazy Quilt Piecing by Hand" and "Basic Seam Stitching" videos for my YouTube channel.  These continue to be the most popular videos on my channel!  

CQ Doll Quilt-6
I think Chickadees are my favorite birds, so this little one got an extra flourish with the detached chain seam that looks a little like flowers! 

CQ Doll Quilt-4
Mushu hamming it up for the camera.  "You didn't want a photo of that doll!"  

CQ Doll Quilt-10
"Oh, come on, aren't I sweet?  Wouldn't you rather pay attention to me?"  I must admit that though he is incredibly exasperating when he's being bad; he has the best personality and is a lovable kitty!  Thankfully, as he gets older, the mishaps get fewer (though seemingly bigger!) and further apart.  

You can find the YouTube video here:
CQ Doll Quilt


2021 Update!

Not only am I blogging more regularly, I'm trying to get back to posting more often on my YouTube Channel!  This latest video gives a quick update on what kept me from working on all those 2020 projects.

2020.06.15RMNP waterfall 01
Of course there were other things that kept me from stitching as well.  Such as a pandemic.  And the fact that I spent a lot of time oil painting!  

I also spent every Monday from early June to early October in the mountains.  What a blessing it was to have that weekly outing to Rocky Mountain National Park!  It was rejuvenating and it also allowed me to spend some extra time with my daughter and youngest grandson as they went with me every other week!    

2020.06.15BierstadtLakeHike wm 18
Me in my happy place!  I had hiked from Bear Lake up to Bierstadt Lake and then back down.  3 ½ miles - not a terribly long hike, but with my difficult hip and knee, it was a real accomplishment!  So happy to be spending time in nature and in the mountains, even on a cloudy day!

2020.07.20RMNPPainting - 8
Painting in the Kawuneche Valley.  Sadly, the fires in October 2020 burned almost up to where I'm standing.  The view will be very different.  I'm so glad I took the time to stop and paint here and record it for posterity! 

2020.07.06RMNP - 86
I painted just north of that area along the Colorado River.  Thankfully, this area did not burn.  

2020.04.03OilPainting - 9
It was a good year for my painting skills!  I felt like I grew leaps and bounds!  Loved being able to take the time to expand my skills.  In all, I think I did around 20 paintings from March through early autumn.  Then I got side tracked by The Great Photo Project.  


The Great Photo Project

Nope.  I haven't done ANY stitching.  Not for a long time.  Nearly all my time and attention have been devoted to The Great Photo Project.  This actually started shortly after my Mom passed away in 2012.  I even blogged about it here: The Great Scanning Project. It picked back up again this past summer when I decided to start organizing a box of unlabeled and undated photos.  

I did some of this kind of sorting back when I started working on my Dad's memoir.  It's really hard figuring out dates on photos when they are unlabeled.  I at least attempted to sort my Dad's childhood photos into chronologic order.  I covered the dining room table with sheets of paper with the years written on them.  It helped.  I used this same process when trying to figure out the order of more recent photos.  It works fairly well, especially if you can find a dated one here or there. 

I've been working on my Mom and Dad's memoirs for some time.  My Dad's is nearly finished, except for photos. Most of those photos were in albums or on slides in the family archive stored in my temperature controlled storage locker.  I knew it was going to be a huge job.  So in October, my sister came to help for a week.  

Here is the 10'x10' storage locker before we got started.  It was at least ⅓ - ½ full of photo albums and genealogy research.  All the boxes you see in this photo except the plastic tub are filled with the family archives.  

I brought home as many of the boxes of photo albums as I could before my sister arrived.  There were 2 very full car loads.  This was all just photo albums.  

Before my sister came, I sorted and labeled several boxes of loose photos and made a plan. I had also scanned the better part of a box of really old family albums dating to the 1920s-50s.   

Once my sister arrived, we moved into high gear!  Here I am a day or two into the downsizing effort.  As you can see, there are still lots and lots of boxes, plus a few that were out of sight in the living room.  In all, we had 18 moving boxes and large plastic tubs filled with photo albums that covered 120 years.  

My sister and I!  Wow, this really was a project!  Truly overwhelming at times!  We took photos out of albums.  We labeled photos.  We organized by year.  We threw out photos (lots and lots) of landscapes, scenery, flowers, clouds, people we didn't know. We made envelopes full of photos for family and friends that we did know and eventually, I'll get those sent off.  We discarded 2 ½ large wheelie trash bins with now empty albums and pages, and all those unwanted photos.  I started a family calendar to help us date photos and keep track of events.  We wore out 2 pens and purchased more.  We kept filling up photo boxes and bought more.  

Whew!  Even the cat was tired!  

We were a little over halfway through when this photo was taken.  

In the end, we narrowed all those moving boxes of photo albums down to this.  I continued to find more photos after my sister left, so now there are 20 boxes of photos, 6 boxes of negatives, and two larger boxes of oversized photos.  

The genealogy archive now fits a little more loosely on the storage locker shelves and there is room in the middle for other things.  There are at least as many boxes of genealogy research as there were photos, plus I have a few more boxes at the house.  Once my parents memoirs are completed, I hope to scan what the immediate family is interested in and make a family history book.  

After my sister left, I put the negatives in order and started scanning a number of them that had survived my house fire in 1999.  A lot of the photos had not survived, so it was great fun to see some of those photos we hadn't seen in over 20 years again!  

Of course, there were mishaps along the way - Thanks Mushu Kitty.  Sigh.  

Once the negatives were scanned, I got to scanning slides.  I had done approximately half of the slides in 2013, but there are still 14 boxes to go.  

Now, most of the photo archive is neatly organized on this shelving unit in my new study.  The shelves just to the left contain the negatives, more undated/unlabled photos, more slides to be scanned and some scrapbooks.  Always more work! 

And after taking the month of January off to change rooms around, I'm finally back to scanning slides.  I'm up to 1988.  Only 11 more boxes of slide carousels and 3 enormous notebooks of slides to go.  Then I can start looking at photos and deciding which of those need scanned and then maybe, at long last, I can finish my folks memoirs!  Then I need to tackle the genealogy archive and a family history book.  And once that happens, I might actually have time to stitch once again!  One can hope!  

I'm considering writing another post in the near future on some of the tips and tricks I've figured out when dealing with a large photo archive like this.  Let me know in the comment section below if you would find this helpful and let me know if you have any specific questions!  


February Journal Set-up


A new month calls for a new layout in my Journal!  Using the January set-up as my guide made this one easy and quick!  I had more practice watercolors to cut up for the header, so I think I'll continue this theme throughout the year.  This month, the watercolors are in shades of blue and green - one of my favorite color combinations!  Using dot-grid paper, I created a little calendar for the month and listed out the important days.  I choose a new focus verse for the month, one that came up in my devotions during January that spoke to me.  


Overall, the layout is exactly the same as for January.  I have the intro page with focus tasks listed and a page of items I want to track.  With just these two pages to set up, it was quick!  


Many of the focus tasks are the same or are extensions from the January tasks.  Debt payments are ongoing as is downsizing.  Work on the magazine, doing blog posts and hopefully getting back to YouTube videos are also ongoing.  From my yearly task list, I added a few things, such as dealing with more of the stuff in the storage locker, and house/yard stuff that needs done.  I can't do much outside at this time of year, but I can get approvals now so that I'm not delayed once the weather improves.  


The tracker worked really well in January and so I decided to continue with it, unchanged.  There are a few items, such as not snacking on carbs and getting more exercise in that I'd like to improve upon.  I found that tracking how much I was spending on food and other items helped to curb my spending, so I'll continue to track that.  


So here's a look at how the January pages looked like at the end of the month.  As usual, I've covered or blurred things that I'd rather not be public knowledge.  


I continued to journal every day for the entire month!  Some entries are fairly short, while others take up a page or two.  I started adding a gratitude or two at the beginning of every entry.  Thinking about what you are grateful for is a lovely way to end each day.