Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday Slow Down & Time to Think

My Favorite Quilt
 (At this Moment)

It's been 10 days or so since I've blogged. I finished that post, shut my computer down, and pretty much unplugged for the holidays. Why, you ask? Well, you know those people who think the holidays are the best time ever, and love to shop, wrap presents and bake cookies? Who wait for the first snowflake with hot chocolate in hand and furry hat on head? Yeah, I'm not one of them. I'm the Grinchy, bah humbug person who was told she was ruining Christmas for everyone else this year, and to please shape up. 

It's not that I hate Christmas or the holidays, but there is something about it that draws the pessimist out of me. There are so many expectations about making everything perfect for everyone, and a multitude of ways to screw it up. You forgot the canned whipped cream?! No way! It's not Christmas without it! (You all know what I mean. Don't lie.)

But we have taken a pared down approach to the whole thing as there are no Littles at the moment besides the fur babies. We had 7 dogs here for Christmas Eve this year.

Everyone took turns sitting in my lap.

And after all the dog loving, we played Mexican Train dominoes and ate pie.

Santa Arrived

I discovered this Santa Claus figurine in a box of old family mementos. It belonged to either my dad or my grandmother...

...along with a set of elves.

We don't do gifts here, but a few of the kids stuck this under the tree for me. It was spot on, I thought, and was delighted.

The deep freeze came just before Christmas, and our well pump at the barn croaked. My husband and daughter were changing it out yesterday in 17 degree weather, but the llamas and cats have water again.

In spite of bitter cold temperatures, I've tried to spend a few minutes outside to just feel the sun on my face. We're past the longest day of the year, and just knowing that makes the dark a little more bearable for me.

The purging continues in the house. No more stacks of books on the floor here or jammed into shelves. I've even rediscovered some old favorites. There was finally enough room in the bookcase to absorb the quilting books stacked beside my chair in the living room, and even they are now organized. That room looks better, too, without the added clutter.

Down to the the Walls

I'm finally down to the walls in some rooms. It's darned amazing! Imagining these rooms as something else takes a fresh perspective, and changing the color helps. The pink and yellow was fine many years ago for a teenage girl, but this is going to be the guest bedroom now. 

Two full gallons of Zinsser 1-2-3 Plus, and the walls are primed white. A pale grey can of paint awaits.

You might think I'm lying when I say there is still more to do. 

Though I'm still avoiding making lists, I am hoping the house purge is wrapped up by the end of January. My mind is drifting back to the studio, and to projects that are waiting for this quilter-gone-astray. I've been talking to Tish who blogs at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland, and comparing notes on realistic quilting goals for the next year. Tish is breaking down her UFOs, WIPs, and fantasy quilts, and making a plan to work through them. I like it. It feels quite a bit like my purge actually. 

Without making a list, I have some of each with the biggest area for me in the fantasy quilts. I like to use my stash as much as possible, and take to making stacks of fabric that would be great together in a quilt. You might compare it to creating your own kit. I would guesstimate an easy dozen tops or projects that I could name off the top. But without undo stress, I'm going to join the rest who see this as the year to step back, and either finish things up or pass them on. It's worked with the house, and will work in the studio.

In the meanwhile, I'll enjoy these last few rays of sunshine as I finish up this block, and maybe throw another log on the fire. Enjoy your last few days of 2017, and we'll talk more about quilts soon.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


Tanya Quilts in CO said...

I totally get your Christmas feelings. Christmas is really about the kids and/or the Christian religion--if those are not in the family--it is a chore and a drain! I am kind of to the point where I don't want to even bother with decorations anymore. Enjoy your purging!

audrey said...

You at Christmas sounds a lot like my husband. We always do our best to make sure the holiday is as stress free as possible for him so he doesn't get too grumpy, but well... sometimes it's just impossible? lol Glad your purging is having good results. I will admit that you've inspired me to clean out two horribly cluttered upstairs closets. After the first of the year I intend to slowly take care of a few more.

Stitchin At Home said...

I used to worry about everything being perfect at Christmas, not anymore! My philosophy is if it isn't perfect don't tell they'll never know. Life is too short to stress out over it. Wishing you a Happy New year, may 2018 be good to you!!

Linda Swanekamp said...

I love the real Christmas. The message and promise. The holiday that most people celebrate is not the real one, but made up by marketers and selling stuff. I refuse to let the person of Christmas be left out in the cold ignored and blamed for it. That is why I make my cards every year. Maybe it is a little light, but we need all the light as we deal with so much darkness.

KaHolly said...

Christmas is pretty low key here, too. One gift each, a quiet yummy dinner, and relaxation. I’m 'kitting' up scraps, too, trying to purge the ugly collection of scraps I’ve accumulated here at my Texas base. They are overwhelming and discouraging and it’s time to either pair the fabrics up with like fabrics or get rid of it. Purge, then splurge! Your house is coming along great! Keep up the good work. Happy New Year!

Sandra Walker said...

Big ol' lump in my throat seeing Tooncie (on your lap!) and friends, you know why. Lovely change in the guest room!! LOVE LOVE that mug. So you. Of COURSE the pump goes then, like my bat and my snake that appear when husband is literally thousands of miles away. Lots of love and light to you my darling good friend, and see you within a few weeks.

Barb Neiwert said...

Perhaps you're purging the rest of your house so that you don't have to face purging your sewing studio? At least, that's what I do. Saving for that rainy day, is my philosophy. Glad you had a good Christmas and can face the new year with renewed spirit!

Leslie Frost said...

I love your thoughtful posts! We have two little grand boys, so our Christmas with them was more chaos than quiet, but now that we are home again, I am loving the peace. I have a short UFO list and plan to knock off one a month this year. No more dithering, just do it!

Tish Stemple said...

It was fur baby heaven at your house! I love it! I do think you are right. My UFO busting, for me at least, will be a great purge. I could very well get rid of the tops and send them on their way now, but I really want to send them on their way finished. Plus, it gains me more quilting experience. I hope it will create more room and I'm okay if that room created, doesn't fill back up. I would like to see a 2018 where, Julie, lives in fantasy quilt land. I've always enjoyed watching your creative process and how your quilts come to life. You have given so much of yourself this year, I believe you deserve a year of creative fun. I look forward to watching it all unfold :)

tink's mom said...

Loved your post. We had our 2 dogs plus a guest dog for Christmas. Lovely way to spend the holiday. Also loved your mug, it is spot on. I do decorate for the holiday but for ME and only me. I don't care what any one else thinks. Some years I put up a tree with only lights. This year I got out the ornaments and enjoyed the memories that went with them.

Rebecca Grace said...

I cannot imagine you as a grinch, Julie! And I promise you that whipped cream is NOT the true meaning of Christmas... :-) For me, staying sane throughout the holidays means MORE time in the sewing room, and avoiding ALL TELEVISION AND RADIO COMMERCIALS! That's where all of that pressure and imposition of unrealistic standards comes from. If only you buy this, if only you buy that, your Christmas will be perfect and everyone will love you and appreciate you! Hah!

Your yard looks beautiful with that fresh dusting of snow. I hope that you accomplish all that you are planning in the new year. You have ALMOST tempted me to write up a list of my own sewing goals, but I never stick to those plans anyway and just end up feeling guilty about them! Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you, your doxies, and your llamas!

Sandy Panagos said...

I am totally with you on the Christmas thing, but I freely admit it -- I hate it. Too much pressure and painfully stressful. I managed to get into the spirit of things this year and even enjoyed it ..... a little. lol I am really looking forward to getting it all put away and then spending time in my sewing room. Your memento finds are wonderful. Sometimes the purge reveals some cool things to keep, right?

Angie in SoCal said...

I'm all admiration for your purging efforts. Like Rebecca, I can't imagine you as a grinch. We've worked at toning down Christmas a lot to its truer meaning - giving thanks and remembering our Savior was born. We only give presents to the little ones and enjoy a meal together and catch up with everyone. Happy New Year!

Kate said...

We gave up the idea of a perfect Christmas the year my parents divorced. In order to survive that first holiday my Mother completely redid the way we celebrate the holiday. It's been really nice to not have all those expectations of perfection. I'm in finish up mode for 2018 too. I want to finish up and clean up a bit so I can start some new projects without adding to the existing mayhem in the sewing room. Good luck with your ambitions for 2018. Have a very happy New Year.

PaulaB quilts said...

Thanks, Julie, for leading the way for me on purging. I'm cleaning out drawers, purged my gift wrappings, now working on a fabric purge. I'm a bright color person, as you know. So I'm pulling all the dull stash and will be taking those to the giveaway table at my guild. Its a really good feeling, getting a fresh start for 2018. I wish you a blessed Happy New Year.

grammajudyb said...

A few Christmas quilts, a candle, a wall hanging or two....that's the extent of my Christmas decorating. We do have great grandchildren who live nearby, so there is lots of happiness. But again, as last year, I vowed not to do it all again. Next year, a different approach. Wishing you a Happy New Year in all your endeavors.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

There is a lot of pressure with Christmas. I was off this week but didn't tell anyone so I wasn't "obligated" to do stuff just because it expected. I started purging my kitchen. I still have lots to do, but feel good about the little bit that I've done.

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