Frustration On The Creative Endeavors – When You Can’t Get Anything Finished!

Ever have one of those days? Well, I am having one of those months! I have about ten projects all going at the same time and it seems that for one reason or another, I cannot get a single one finished! Timing or materials or weather, something seems to stand in the way of completing the project.

My big project and the one I am most excited about is now 99.9% complete! I am waiting on one more simple (or I hope simple) finishing touch and a nice day of weather to get the project photographed. Argh! It is so frustrating to be so close to completion that I have nightmares about it! No joke!

I’ve stopped picking up project pieces since the weather is going to soon become the kind of weather that prevents me from driving my little sports car. When that happens, I usually drive it into the third garage stall, cover him and put him into hibernation. Well, in order to do that, I have to get that stall cleaned out, so I have been a busy little beaver trying to get things done. It is either that or get rid of them. And I am trying to do both.

I picked up this awesome antique bench thinking it would be an easy project, but it has turned out to be anything but. Sigh. I work on it a little and then get frustrated or tired of fighting with the four million staples/nails/tacks and move to something else.

I am close to finishing the four poster bed frame that I am painting in the same pink ombré style, but of course, I had to spend an inordinate amount of time to find the right connectors for the side boards, so it too has taken a place at the back of the line.

I picked up this not-so-little entertainment center for the express purpose of harvesting pieces – like the doors and drawers and shelves – as I am planning on building a gun cabinet for The Kid’s personal collection of antique fire arms. They are very nice pieces, so the cabinet needs to be of the same quality. This thing weighed like two thousand pounds when we picked it up and much of it is turning out to be real wood (as opposed to the junk compressed wood in many) so I am harvesting much more than I thought I would be. And of course, it too, was well made with about a ton of glue, staples, screws and nails so it is taking much more effort to get it apart than hoped.

The end table to dog crate too, is almost complete. It has turned out to be a bit heavy, so as an added bonus, I am planning on adding wheels (found on the entertainment center) to make it easier to move around. Of course, the wheels are on the bottom of the entertainment center, so they are close to last in coming off, but maybe – just maybe – that can be completed today.

As I said, the weather is starting to turn which is just raising havoc with the arthritis in both knees. Did I mention that I am tentatively scheduled for dual knee replacement surgery in January? Something tells me that work with come to a screeching halt in the garage for a while then. 🙂

photo 4As a consequence of the weather and knees, I’ve been back to sewing some. I made a personal vow not to make any more quilts until I can get some of the tops completed quilted. My best guess is that there is between 200 and 300 waiting for someone to do this step and then I do the binding. I just cringe each time I think about the money that will be needed to do this. So, they wait.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on using up my scraps. I just put on a good movie and sew, really without much thinking. I’ve also been working on a postage stamp baby quilt (I think I might be able to do the quilting on my sewing machine) just to use up these last few hundred pieces. A few years ago, I ordered this box of charm pieces (2000!) that are 1.5″ squares and used a good deal of them in several quilts. I just can’t bring myself to toss the remaining, although they are what I call “the uglies”!! Does anyone else here have this issue?

I’ve also been working with felt pieces while I ice then heat my knees. I’ve made a bunch of Christmas decorations (although we don’t really celebrate or decorate in the house), as well as working on another needle book. I need to just need to finish the cover. Of course over in the corner next to the fireplace is that great big hulking needlepoint project… just sitting there mocking me.

I’ve resisted writing just this post – the one where I admit that I can’t seem to get anything completed! Its just so aggravating and humbling to have to admit to all this incompleteness! I really try to hold myself to a higher standard, but sometimes it is so overwhelming – and I realized that it has been quite a while since I last posted. But to have to post and say I’ve got nothing! Argh!

Best intentions aside, time to get on with the day. I really need to assess what is left and what still needs to be done and what is required to get to that point. And then just start tackling them, one by one.

Wish me luck! And to all those out there who think us bloggers just get things done out of discipline and attention? We’re just people too and infallible. So don’t worry that you’re project(s) isn’t getting done. It happens to all of us!

julie

Paisley and Felt, and Tomatoes on the Vine

Did it again. No matter how determined I am, I simply am unable to finish all previously started projects. Some just seem destined to be hanging around the edges waiting for the inspiration (or sheer boredom) to kick in and I can pick up these unfinished projects. Over in the quilt world, I know that unfinished quilt tops are called ‘UFO’s’ and I suppose that could be related to any creative project.

I can’t even really tell you why, but I have recently jumped on the paisley band wagon. I have always loved paisley, from its simplest form to some of those amazing fabrics you see in upholstery and clothing. I suppose that it has to do with my physical limitations – everyone knows that I’ve been given the okay to have both of my knees replaced – I like to have projects to do while I am applying cold or hot compresses in hopes of helping the swelling and the pain. Sometimes it is all I can do to get to the couch and once there, sometimes have it be almost impossible to stand again.

Okay, that was not a cry for pity. Seriously. I just wanted to explain why I have to have projects that can basically be done from the couch. This paisley project is just such a project.

So, off to the internet to find a paisley leaf (is that what you call it?) that was fairly complex but not too complex. I found this one:

Paisley Starting Point

The whole paisley towards the bottom is what I started with. I am planning on doing some embroidery and beading on this, so it can be too ornate, but I did want to include a lot of color. Here is how far I got last night:

DSCN3582The great thing is that I can add or take away any element I want (or don’t want). Right now, I am not sure I like the center paisley… but while I am beading and embroidering the many layers before I get to it, I have time. I see some of the circles are not very round… will fix those in the process too. When this is done, I am going to sew the whole thing onto a felt book cover. So, this gives me a lot of hand work to do while I am both waiting for surgery and during recovery.

Another thing that The Kid helped me finally get finished is the tomato “cages”. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what to call this thing, so I am going with ‘cages’, although it is so not a cage!

So, you may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I planted tomato seeds in a little starter kit. As they grew, I transferred them to food grade five gallon buckets and they went out on the back deck. They are growing like weeds! 🙂

So, I knew I was going to have to support the branches of the plants, but didn’t want to use the traditional tomato cage. Did you realize that those stupid things are like $6 at Home Depot!? No thank you.

photoHere was my sketched idea of how to support the plants. Well, finally, I made this happen. Now the super great thing is that this cost me nothing. Well, because I had the supplies on hand, I didn’t have to buy anything (that money was already spent a long time ago). It consists of two buckets, 10 gallons of small rock, two 2″x4″s, small “eyes” (the kind from ‘hooks and eyes’) and some rope or twine.

I wasn’t sure whether the twine would last the growing season, so I opted for the plastic rope. Time will tell if this works. So, just eyeballing it, I screwed the eyes into the 2″x4″s about 8 inches apart, repeated on the second board. Then holding them in the bucket, I filled it with small rock. Then I threaded the rope back and forth between the two boards, after I had set them on each end of the row of tomato buckets.

DSCN3576So, here’s the setup. I have already figured out that there needs to be something to keep the two boards even when it starts to get weighed down with tomato vines. Can you believe how big this plants have grown already?

I think I need to figure out better knots as well. Not wild about the neon yellow colored rope either. Whatever I do, its going to have to be done soon, at the rate these are growing. I sure am hoping that I get fruit!

If you look hard enough, you can see The Kid’s corn garden… those, too, are growing quite nicely.

DSCN3580 V2Okay… that concludes the updates today. Over the past couple of days, we picked up three new furniture pieces to work on. The ivory dresser sold, which just leaves the recently completed ‘suitcase dresser’. I guess The Kid is going to be doing most of the physical labor on these.

Okay, gotta go ice the knees!

julie

Better Late Than Never, Right?

So based on my post last night, the orange quilt I finished up wasn’t for my friends’ – Lucien and Jenn’s – second daughter, but for their first, Maxine. Who, according to emails we exchanged today, is six and a half. That has to be a record for late baby shower gifts, six and a half years! And, much to my chagrin, never even started a second quilt for their second angel, Eloise! Wow… I know things get busy, but I gotta do better!

But, I have filled you in on the unfinished pile, right? I’m estimating that there is something like a hundred more quilts just sitting and waiting. Waiting on money mostly. 😦

DSCN3256So, I have completed two more. They were long arm stitched for me and returned. I just needed to do the binding. And sew on my little label.

2015-05-01 17.39.24First up is this green nine patch set inside framing triangles. I have this thing with color families. It really helps to reduce the fabric stash – well, not really – but I will take what I can get. I love when I get this many shades of a single color, although in quantity, some of these color would be garish and definitely clash, but in small amounts it all works.

2015-05-01 17.37.48There were a couple of centers that differed from the norm. All of my sewing machines are also embroidery machines and when I brought home the first one, I embroidered every single design. There were a couple of quilts that had quite a bit of embroidery, some have but a little. These were obviously one of the first attempts at embroidery and they came out well. And I can never throw anything like that away. So, as I was working on this quilt, I trimmed out these two blocks and included them in this quilt. Just a little something extra: a pine tree…

2015-05-01 17.40.11

…and a bow in green.2015-05-01 17.39.51And to switch the color, the final one is in red. Shades of red. It seems that red is the one color that doesn’t really range far… there is really two base shades of red; One with the underscore of blue and the other with underlying orange. If it gets too bright, its pink and it gets too dark it becomes maroon. But I think it is one of the most happy colors there is and I love it.

2015-05-01 17.38.42You see that this one is displayed on one of the two country rustic benches that I recently finished. Base construction is two twin head-boards and foot-boards, and the addition of a few boards and a seat, these benches were born. If you want to read more about it, you can read here.2015-05-01 17.36.42I tried a little different technique on the corners and while I like how the concept, I am not exactly thrilled with my execution. I definitely want to explore more options as to finishing techniques.

Most of my projects have been completed, although we have two of the antique victrola cabinets remaining and a small wood table. After that, I am going to have to start coming up with new ideas!

Ah, the weekend has arrived. Even with the fact that I am not actively working – a so called ‘9 to 5’ – the weekend holds different tasks and schedules. And it starts with sleeping in. LOL

julie

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