Monday, December 5, 2016

Motivational Monday - choosing the dirty dozen!

Good morning - today is the day!  We're all going to take a pledge that we WILL get our sewing areas under control, we WILL complete UFOs in 2017.  How much we're going to complete depends on our level of motivation.  I'm VERY motivated.  Hopefully you are too and together we're going to get a lot done this year.

Today, it's all about choosing that dirty dozen. Those 12 projects that you WILL get completed in 2017. Now, here's where you're allowed to bend the rules.  Perhaps you only have three projects, perhaps you have one massive one - whatever, the important thing is to flag something that you can work on. See the guidelines at the end of this post.

I'm going to help you get each one finished (NO - I'm not going to sew them for you - nice try though!), but today, I'm going to share with you the 12 projects that I choose. More importantly, I'm going to share the WHY as well. And so in no particular order, here they are:

1. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie pattern
 I choose this one because it's been hanging around for a long time. I like dogs. The pieces are all cut out (or they're supposed to be. I've carried this project to several quilt retreats and well - it's time to get it done!

Supposedly all cut out????

This is the "leftover" fabric in the box
 I can't begin to imagine how much "leftover" fabric there is in all the project boxes.

And the same pattern, but for cats. Why???  Who know!!!

2. Half Log Cabin
The Half Log Cabin Bok
 In total, I was going to (am going to) make THREE quilts with this fabric. Why?  Who knows.  But one is already done, quilted and donated years ago. One of the quilt tops  is complete (without borders) and in the project box, while the third (the most complex of the three) is still in pieces in the box.

Partial blocks

Below you can see the quilt top in the background. The idea was that I would finish this next set of blocks and then use the leftovers to make borders and binding for both of these quilts. 

"Leftover" fabric
 3. Flannel - Rose quilt

I choose this one, also because it's been around for a long time. All the components take up a lot of real estate in the studio.  All the components are in these boxes.
Rose Flannel quilt

Some of the strips are already cut
 And here's the leftovers!
Leftovers for the flannel rose quilt

4.  Construction quilts  - yes that is quilts with an S.  There are four quilt tops in this laundry basket. They each need TWO borders and they're ready to be quilted. I'm counting all four as ONE project because technically they are supposed to be a gift for four boys and can't you give one a gift without giving the others a gift as well.

Constructions quilts
 I chose this project because it was an "easy" way to empty a laundry basket and I'm going to need that basket for the next retreat!!!

One of the construction qilt tops
5. Lone Star Tree Skirt

OK - let's face it - each project got chosen because it's been hanging around for a long, long time. This was a class sample MANY years ago. Even though I'm not putting up a Christmas tree, every Christmas I dig this out and do a bit of work on it.  It's time to get it done and I may leave it as a table topper!  Depends on how nice the center is!

Pattern for Lone Star Tree Skirt
 The center is pretty much complete - just needs four triangles added and the borders

Almost complete!

And yet MORE leftovers
 6. One Block Wonder

I choose this one because its been on my design wall FOREVER and I want it off! Plus this is about the third attempt I've made to complete it!

One block wonder on the design wall

Not much leftovers - this will become the backing
 7. Night Sky

This isn't that old of a project (OK - two years), but it would be nice to complete it. And I had the project out recently as we worked on Gravity quilt by the same designer.

Night Sky pattern

Project box
 8. Christmas embroidery

When I wasn't working, I hosted an embroidery class on Wednesday mornings.  While that group still exists, sadly I can't go and I haven't done embroidery since. I came across the box and ALL the embroidery is complete - it just needs to be assembled.  It's now on the list!   It's Christmas and would be awesome to have this done for next Christmas and it's RED and WHITE!!!!   One more quilt to add to my red/white collection. I think for anything to be called a collection, you need at least three items. So far, I've only got two red and white quilts, so technically, I don't have a collection yet!

Christmas embroidery pattern

The box of blocks/fabric and embellishments!
 9. Amish with a Twist  (I and II)

Yes - I might as well put both of these quilts on the list.  BOTH are pretty much complete - they just need borders!!!   I believe this first one is missing the last three borders.  Since I rarely finish any of the Saturday Sampler quilts, it's time to get cracking and get some of them done!  One of these is from a Saturday Sampler class a couple of years ago. The other one was a block of the month at Cockadoodle.

Amish with a Twist - Series II

The quilt

Amish with a Twist
 And this one needs the applique stitched down - the applique pieces are prepped

Ready for stitching
 10. Safari quilts

BOTH of these quilts are done!!!   All that remains is blanket stitch the edges.

Reflections of the Serengeti - Elephants and Giraffe

The quilts!
 And besides - I want the cool basket these quilts are stored in!!!   That seems like a good excuse to finish a project!

11. Batik??? squares

For some reason, this one had the label "batik" squares.  NONE of the fabric is batik.  Who knows....  However all the blocks are together for this one - just need to sew the blocks together for a LARGE scrap quilt. That just sounds way too easy - let's get it done and I get a second cool orange basket to put a new project in!!

"Batik" squares
12. Fall scrap quilt

This one was carried to many retreats and is almost complete.  I believe I started off by making one big quilt and then I switched to making two lap quilts.  Not sure how much work is actually left to complete the quilts, but we're going to get that thing (s) complete.

Maple leaf scrappy

Blocks are made!!!
 13.  I couldn't help myself - this is a bonus project and now I have a project to work on in December.

I have NO IDEA when I started this one. No idea why I started it but I'm guessing this was around the time that Ronda was working on her log cabin????  and I had loads of red/white and remember how I want a collection of red/white quilts?   That's my guess.  

Red/white log cabins

Some blocks are made!

And there you have it - my Dirty Dozen (thanks to Maria for that name) or should I say my Baker's Dozen (which is 13).

So, what are you going to do???   Well, you've already been thinking about what projects you want to work on for 2017. Here are some guidelines.

1. The project SHOULD be a UFO. Something that has gotten shelved over the years and you would like to get it complete.  Now if you have NO UFOs or would prefer to put your current stuff on the list, that's OK. but if it's a project you're actively working on?  Well, I guess you could put that on the list as well.

2. The project SHOULD be cut out or partially together.  In other words, don't start a project specifically to add to the list. The idea of the list is to CLEAR up the old stuff.  However, it's your list - if you want all new stuff on the list, go for it!

3. Most of them were sitting on a shelf in the studio - I didn't have to dig too deep to find 13 projects.  If 12 is too many for your schedule, then pick 6 and every two months, you work on one!  But I would bet that most of you have MANY projects that you could easily finish up in a couple of HOURS.  Pick twelve of those!!!!  The idea is to get rid of those projects that have been in the back of your mind for years.  And wouldn't it be nice to have finished 12 projects (even if sewing on a label is ONE project), than just one big one????

4. Prioritize when choosing.  If you have a gift that you really really must get done (like a baby quilt) before the kid graduates from college - then pick that over something that you were working on just for fun!

5. Don't pick 12 HUGE projects.  Notice that all of mine are almost finished. The blocks are together, just needs borders or something like that.  If you have a bigger project that you want to work on, perhaps you pick ONE big project and then some small ones.  It's all about making lists and checking things off and I don't want you to miss out on completing items!  I dont' care if your project is as small as a pencil case that you cut out, but need to sew.  How long would it take to finish a pencil case?

6. No need to put all those projects in a separate pile. Nope - just know where they are.  No need at this time to search through the boxes to see if everything is there.  Nope - now is NOT the time.

7.  MAKE A LIST!  Don't make a mental list.  WRITE THOSE 12 projects on a piece of paper.  NOT in a book - not yet.  I just want a written list.  Trust me - if you don't write them down - you are NOT committed to completing them!

8, If you come across a project that you have NO INTENTION of ever finishing, perhaps it's time to get rid of it.  How about a project swap???   That might be something to think about.

9. It's OK to choose a project that you put away because you needed help on it.  We're here to help each other.  So if you have no idea how to proceed - pull it out.  With the aid of pictures/phone calls/texts - I'm sure we can help anyone out.

10. HAVE FUN!!!!!   While this effort is about clearing up our studios and our lives, it MUST be fun.  If you don't make it fun, you won't be successful.

I have created a Facebook page - Motivational Monday.  At the moment, it's pretty basic and I'm not sure that I have set it up correctly.  Here is the link.....    It is a closed group so you have to ask to join - hopefully I did that right as well.  I'll be prettying up the page.   Write down that list and we can all share the list and a picture of one or two of your projects - like I did above.

On that note, I''m out of here.  Next week, we're going to chat about the Task Master!!!   That is the notebook. There are many planning helpers out there, and I'm going to review them next week.  BUT - I just used a $2 notebook from the dollar store and I made a pretty cover for it.  If you want to make your own journal cover, check out this tutorial - there are oodles of different versions and here is a collage cover. Get creative and show me a pciture.   And if you don't want to make a journal cover - just go to the dollar store and get a $2 notebook or dig one out from your stash of notebooks at home.  But get a notebook!!!  BUT don't write anything in it yet!

Have a suepr day!!!!



  1. Ok, Elaine, you have me motivated. . . .and I know where a TON of UFO's are located.

    Due to some lifestyle changes I have to start rearranging my habits and practices. . . and that means that I need to get things finished!

    I have a notebook ready. . . .and am jotting down my list of projects so that I am ready for next week.

    Have a productive week. . . .

  2. I bought a ready made planner because after spending all that money, I know I will be motivated to finish things and keep track as I go along

  3. I want to get some projects done too! I'm going to work on my list this week. Thanks for motivating us to get things done!