Fireside Retreat - Day Three

I'm surprised, but then I'm not surprised. I love to sew and I love having the opportunity to sew totally uninterrupted. And that's what we do when we go to the retreat. However, I think I'm the ONLY one sewing! But that's OK.

Our current situation of self-isolation is one where we need to learn to take ourselves somewhere else. We can't travel, so why not pretend that we are traveling. And that's what I did. I make it to the "retreat" by 9 AM after I walk the girls and then I'm at the retreat for the day. I can go back to my routine when Monday rolls around, but I'd go mad if I did the same old thing. That's totally boring!

 I think this is one of the things that we should be teaching our kids during this time. You can transport yourself anywhere and do anything. You just need an imagination! I REFUSE to watch or pay attention to the copious amounts of news about the virus. I stay informed as much as I need to be, but I'm NOT dwelling on it. I can't change a single thing so why dwell on something that I have ZERO control over.

Today, I'll start by sharing a couple of pictures from our daily walks. Might as well - I spend a good part of my day (OK - so two hours) walking and there are loads to see in the neighborhood.

The first is the mall. I think the deconstruction is pretty much complete. They did remove over half of the existing building. I saw them putting up some new steel beams the other day - those darker ones in the middle of the picture and the next day a couple of cement trucks were there. The rubble is mostly cleared up and well, we just have to wait and see what's going to happen next. It's great to walk around the mall as there are NO cars and no people. 

Construction at the mall
The wall past the mall (to see what changed from the previous day) is the highlight of the daily walk - at least for me. The girls are so totally not impressed. 

Since most people are home during the day, you get to observe their cars. I want to live in this house! Notice the color of their vehicles? Not ONE of them is white, grey or black. They go for color!

Colorful cars
Let's see what the others accomplished yesterday.

Ronda is becoming very accomplished at quilting her projects with her embroidery machine! And she's loving the fact that she is making projects totally by herself - from beginning to end! I love it! Hey - I don't care how anyone finishes something  (especially the quilting), the thing is to learn how to make it work for you and go for it!!

Ronda's baby quilt is now quilted

She may even have the binding on by now - I didn't see a picture of that though. Susan got one more block finished from the Vintage Christmas book. This is the Dolly block.

Vintage Christmas Dolly block
 Katheleen got two quilts quilted. They are ready to be quilted and bound. I think she quilted feathers on the blue table runner as I see the spines marked in chalk!!! Way to go Katheleen. Her quilting is amazing. Guess how she got amazing? She practiced! Shows that practice pays off.

Katheleen's two quilted projects

That's it for show and tell. Who knows what the others were doing? I may have to think about who I take on my next retreat! Some of these people are total slackers!!! I'm kidding of course.

This is one of the yummy desserts we could have been eating.

Custom cookies were on the menu for dessert

And this is what I got to have for dessert. OK - so that's not really a hardship! But the Nanaimo bars are gone!  And there will be no more. 

My Nanaimo bars that I had for dessert

So what did I get done? I decided to work on one of my UFO projects on the 2017 Dirty Dozen (UFO) list. After this project is completed, there are only TWO projects left on that list. I'm GOING TO GET THEM BOTH FINISHED by the end of this year. This project is the Night Sky quilt by Jaybird Quilts. I started it a while ago, then it got shelved and ended up on that list for 2017. There it has sat. I made a bit of progress from time to time, but now it's time to get that thing done!!! It's also my UFO homework for this month so I have to get it done or I cough up $10 and we're not letting that happen.

The blocks were together (it's sewn together in half blocks) and all the half blocks needed sashing which I had cut before I left for the retreat. Let's just say that it took forever to get the sashing on all those blocks. I laid it out on the design wall as I got the sashing on.

The blocks as they get the sashing sewn on

At last, the sashings were sewn on all the blocks. I might as well forge ahead and get this top together. And shortly after dinner, the top was together. I was ecstatic. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you spend a bit of time focusing!!

Night Sky lap-sized quilt top is done!!!

Yep - I did a happy dance at that point. My UFO homework for this month is DONE!!!  But I wasn't going to stop there. When I was cutting for this quilt top, I ended up cutting more blocks. Seventeen more to be exact. Don't even ask why I do these dumb things. To make a lap quilt, I need 20 blocks. So as part of my retreat prep, I cut the remaining three blocks. Guess what? Those three blocks are now together as well.

Three blocks for the second Night Sky quilt
Oh yes - I was doing some serious happy dancing at this point. My back was getting tired - it's not used to sewing that much in one day. However, I was thrilled with my accomplishments. I seriously think I'm going to host a two-day virtual retreat for myself once a month. I've accomplished so much and we still have two days left. 

Here are the rest of the blocks for the second quilt. When I get home, I'll need to cut the sashing for those. It's going to take one day to get that second quilt top together. But I going to try and get this one done for our next UFO meeting as well.

The blocks for the second Night Sky quilt

Did I mention that all the seams are pressed open? I hate doing that, but it's really the only option with this quilt to reduce bulk.
All the seams are pressed open

I was a bit worried as the retreat started. I didn't know if I could keep myself motivated. But I'm good at pretending and I found a good audiobook and away I went. I've had ZERO desire to wander off and do anything else. Except to go for my afternoon walk.

So I have to tell you something about needles. When I started sewing the other day, I had put in a new needle. I could hear it punching. I had a better look and the point of the needle was BLUNT. Even in this photo, you can see the difference. That makes a HUGE difference when you are sewing. If you hear that - STOP and change the needle.

The needle on the right is blunt

 The only thing I can think is that the needle was in the incorrect package? It seriously looks like a ballpoint needle. Definitely not suited for cotton.

I emptied a spool of thread yesterday! And GASP - I even fixed a pair of pants!!! I didn't think my sewing machine could do that, but it did!

One more spool of thread bites the dust

 I have to say that I'm super impressed with my retreat packing. So far, I haven't missed anything. I've got the sewing machine feet, I've got the thread colors I need, I've got needles. With two days left in the sewing retreat, I still have projects that I haven't touched. OK - so Tish was right - I CAN survive with just one laundry basket of projects. Thanks, Tish -- I think I finally got it!!

Before I went to bed last night, I got the next project all laid out and ready to sew this morning. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait to get there!!!!  Does anyone know what quilt this is??

The sewing project for today

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm madly prepping the homework for our Celebration quilt that I hope to get sent out tomorrow. For those of you who didn't sign up, you're missing some good stuff. That's all I'm going to say for the moment. Although it's not hard for me to get excited about working on a new project, this one takes our on-going classes in a totally new direction and I can't wait to share with the others!!!  I'm liking the online learning thing. I may end up doing more!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


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