Oh, The Places I’ve Been!

Well.  I’m exaggerating a bit.

Saperstein

I went into Los Angeles to meet my sister, who was accompanying her husband for his treatments here, in the Saperstein Center, at Cedars Sinai Hospital.  I’m including this photo so my mother will know what it looks like.  It’s a comfortable room, with private bays all along the sides of the main room.  My sister and I curl up in the comfy chemo chairs (that aren’t being used, of course) and talk while we wait to visit with him.  But this time while he was in treatment and couldn’t be visited, we first went to lunch at a favorite place of mine:

Sycamore Kitchen Yummies

Sycamore Kitchen, which has very inventive and delicious food.

Then to The Grove, where we hit Barnes and Noble because I was looking for Quilty Magazine, because I’d just hit print:

Gingham Quilt

My gingham quilt was featured in “Girls on Film,” paired with Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ.

Gingham Quilt front

Here’s a better look at it, and here’s the blog post about it.  We didn’t find the magazine; my issue came a couple of days later in the mail.

HighHeeledShoes

And then Nordstrom’s where just seeing these makes my feet hurt.  The heels on the left remind me of my mother’s “spectator” pumps, worn for years and very stylish.

Tennies

Better.

Then back to the hospital.  We later had dinner at a lovely little Italian place, then it was home for me, as we were both tired and she had to drive to her hotel.

Students

Another place I’ve been is my local community college, where school started.  (The white blobs are where I whited out each student’s name.)  This ought to give you a representative sample of who is in my classroom. I finally have a great class! (Intro to Literature) and I’m more excited to teach this semester than I have been in a while.

Square-in-Square Blocks

I’ve also found a few minutes to spend in the sewing room.  No, I’m not playing in the Economy Block Sew-a-Long.  The pretty pink, yellow and chocolate square-in-a-square blocks are for a friend’s baby quilt, and I’ve already sent them to the quilter who is putting it all together.  We used Red Pepper Quilt’s tutorial *here.*

Into the Woods front

I’ve  already made a quilt out of the (officially known) Square-in-a-Square block, in my quilt “Into the Woods,” (number 103 on the 200 Quilts list, shown below), so I’m squared out. The block in my quilt above is 9″ square, larger than the baby blocks, and I drafted it in my quilt software, QuiltPro.

ABL Jan14 block

This is the block for January for the Always Bee Learning Bee.  Toni of Hoosier Toni wants to make Christmas quilts for her children’s bed, and I thought her choice of the SpiderWeb block was great.

ABL Block with extra Jan14

This is like the one we made a couple of months ago for another bee; the tutorial is found *here.*

MCM January14 Block

This is for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, for Linda of Buzzing and Bumbling.  Her house burned to the ground right before Thanksgiving last year, so we were happy to make her house blocks to help her re-create her life in a new fashion.  This is my own design.  I’ve got a PDF file of the templates here: *Hyde Park House*, but I have to warn you that since it’s a 12″ block finished, some of the templates “fall” off the page, and you’ll have to figure it out the measurements.  What I did was measure the templates, then write the measurements down on the paper.  Then I used that as a guide for cutting out the pieces.  Somehow I ended up short on the height and had to add another strip of green on the bottom.  Just don’t be too precious about this and you’ll get through.  Hey, it’s free and untested, so Buyer Beware.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 5.08.48 PM

Lastly, my mind has been in Budapest, Croatia and Slovenia, places I hope to go to this summer.  The challenge is when you are in lots of places, it’s sometimes hard to figure out where you need to be.  Today I needed to be here in my sewing room, finishing up the Amish With A Twist 2 quilt top (next post).

And often when you are too distracted with your head in many places, you fall into the procrastinating habit.  I had a student from my last class write to me, as she was worried about trying to overcome her habit of procrastination (although her habit is very slight, truthfully). I told her I sometimes ask myself “What do I want to have done before this day ends?” and sometimes that helps.  Other times it is just not wanting to face that dreaded task every day, so you finally find the resources to get it done.

Although you might think this doesn’t really apply to us quilters, I think it does.  Sometimes we put off tackling the really hard tasks and instead do our bee blocks (Ahem.)  Other times we have sketched out a terrific quilt, but are seduced by the latest trend on Instagram (Economy Blocks) and let that pull us away from doing the hard work of designing and figuring out the quilt in our head.

An article in the New Yorker noted that “The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it generally doesn’t make people happy.”

So I’m trying to figure out which place I should go next, which direction I should head in my quilting.  Shall I fall back on something easier to do than what I have to (“we often procrastinate not by doing fun tasks but by doing jobs whose only allure is that they aren’t what we should be doing”) , distract myself by buying more fabric (judging from the recent Instagram De-Stash, a lot of people have been doing this one!), or simply surf the web some more to get so many ideas, I can’t possibly make them all in my lifetime (“many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle”).

Ultimately, it comes down to Getting The Work Done: “Since open-ended tasks with distant deadlines are much easier to postpone than focussed, short-term projects, dividing projects into smaller, more defined sections helps.”  And aren’t most of our UFOs the result of procrastination?

So get yourself a notebook, break down the quilt you want to make into smaller steps, and check them off as you go.  It also helps to set a deadline–try the Finish-A-Long if you need a little help with that; because of that I finished several dead-in-the-water quilt tops, surprising even myself with twenty-four completed quilts in 2013.  Not all of these were begun and finished in that calendar year, but that’s when they came alive.    I’ll close with some lines from one of my son’s favorite books, “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss:

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.

parr

Happy Quilting!

12 thoughts on “Oh, The Places I’ve Been!

  1. Hi Elizabeth. I’ve asked myself that question many times, but then something interrupts my day and it doesn’t get done. Oh well. Tomorrow. What a lovely treatment facility. Enjoy your day. Your bee blocks are beautiful.

  2. So many ideas in this post. I hope your brother in law is mending and that you are enjoying the time with them. I often find I procrastinate when I am mulling over a problem and the small things that I need to get done are in the way of it but then they become many little problems. I just need more time each day, that would solve it all.

  3. You HAVE been a lot of places these last few weeks, both literally and figuratively speaking. Life is not dull, although sometimes “dull” sounds like a good break, right? That last picture cracks me up. Did you take it?

  4. Sending prayers for your brother-in-law. Your words on procrastination are welcome. I am going to get a notebook out in the next hr. and break down what I need to do for the day. Maybe I will even get the week into perspective! Congrats on your published quilt.

  5. Very interesting post, Elizabeth. I’m not much of a procrastinator because I find the discomfort it gives me to be intolerable. But being somewhat emotionally fragile is not a great balancing factor. Isn’t it a blessing to be a sister? Your support is priceless. And finally……congratulations on your published quilt. It’s a beauty.

  6. I really want to snatch the yam onion tart right off the of the screen! It looks so yummy. My husband says that it isn’t terrible to be a procrastinator because you are still a “doer”. If you don’t do things or finish them then you wouldn’t be called a procrastinator. I don’t procrastinate when it comes to sewing….but don’t look too closely at my floors or at the dishes in the sink. Ha!

  7. Great day for this post! It’s Monday and I’ve already changed my “to do list” several times. Loved the NY quote. That’s me to a T. Have a good day in whatever you choose to do.

  8. This is why I started reading your blog, because you always have things to think about. I am working on the procrastinating thing as a quilter/sewist. It is better than it used to be, as witnessed by my much smaller pile of WIPs! Sometimes it is hard to focus, as right now my son keeps asking for Jammie pants, when I want to finish my quilt top. On other things however, hmmm, procrastination is strong. I really need to get middle child into cello lessons, which I’ve been saying for a year now!

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