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Needle + Thread

UFOs and How to Attack Them

I am 7% creative, 15% inspired, 2% talented, 60% motivated and 92% human so it likely comes to no surprise to anyone that my creativity comes in spurts. I am easily motivated and born to work with my hands. As I scroll through Instagram, a carefully curated album on my feed can jettison me into a tailspin of making. Quilts, collages, crafts and gardens of a multitude of scales and complexities can be attributed to these spurts of motivation and inspiration. I have been easily sidetracked from one adored project to another. Any single misstep, sleepless night, unfortunate combination of occurrences or even a change in my daily routine can be the demise of a once cherished project and send it spiraling to the depths of my collection of UFOs otherwise known as Un Finished Objects. Any quilter, scrapbooker or crafter can tell you stories of their own UFOs and how a project once shining bright at the top of his or her to do list became a forgotten relic only to make appearances in the back of their stockpile of guilt and conscience in the basement of their mind. I know a lot about UFOs. My husband would tell you I know too much about them. My stack of UFOs is taller than I am. Almost all of them are quilts. I sincerely want to finish each one but I can honestly admit that I likely never will. Recently I sat down and took inventory of my UFOs and discovered a commonality. At the moment when I was creating each of them, or to be more specific, when I quit creating each of them I didn’t exactly pin point the reason I abandoned them. Sure, I was sidetracked by life and my creative motivation had slipped away but why didn’t I come back to them the next time I felt creative? Why did I start something completely new? Taking inventory of my collection it became clear. I did love each quilt, I still do. When I made the decision to make each one, I carefully selected the fabric to match the feel of the pattern. I had the machine quilting design in mind when I chose the weight and texture of the fabric. I had an end in mind. But in the end, here they are, in a forgotten pile that I hide in my basement. I pick up my favorite of the bunch. It is a chicken applique quilt that I started about 10 years ago in class at huge quilting store which could be described as more of a warehouse thank a shop. Located in San Marcos, CA, the quilt shop is no longer in business although quilting guru Eleanor Burns purchased most of the stock and sold it in her store Quilt in a Day. So here is what is left of that shop and this quilt. A charming chicken quilt that appears to be close to finished. I remember the day I set this quilt aside. It was the week I found out that my husband of 15 years and the father of my children was divorcing me. I had already been stumped as to the proper technique to measure, cut and sew the inner border on the quilt and with the rug being pulled out from under my life, I knew I just didn’t have the time, luxury, energy or motivation to even try to finish this quilt. In later years I would pull it out and think of finishing it, then realizing I had lost the original fabric to complete the job I would place it in my pile of UFOs once again. My mother recently ordered the fabric for me, I sewed it on, had the piece professionally machine quilted and now it is in my UFO pile again waiting for a binding, my least favorite part of making a quilt. The next UFO I reach for  is a modern block quilt which was given to me by my mom as a kit. A quilt kit usually includes a pattern along with fabric and notions needed to complete the project. Buying a quilt kit for someone is like buying lingerie for someone. You can never get it right. I mean, what do you get? Edible panties, lace strapless bra, a body stocking, lycra, silk, chiffon, fuzzy slippers????? That’s how I feel about quilt kits. A giver will purchase what he or she likes and what matches their aesthetic. My mom gave me a kit that matches her aesthetic perfectly. Retro fabrics in colors of teal, orange, salmon and white were stuffed in a sweet gift bag. I love gifts like this and although it didn’t match my style I was excited to make the quilt my mom gave me but I never did. I put the kit in the mail and sent it to the most talented and meticulous quilter I know, my grandma. Grandma began quilting in the early 80’s taking quilting classes at local quilt shops in California and perfected her skills over the years made easy by retirement and time on her hands. She is meticulous, a discipline she adopted after many classes at Quilt in a Day (no they are not paying me. I just have a immense respect for their teachings) and Grandma cringes when she watches me and my relaxed techniques. Grandma took this quilt and whipped it up in a couple of days, my mom machine quilted it and they turned it back over to me in need of hand stitching on the binding. That was three years ago. See the pattern in my madness? I have a story such as this for my entire UFO stack. It is clear that with each project I found myself puzzled by the next step, unable to move past that step and then a personal roadblock sealed the fate of my creation. I am trying what I can to remedy this habit. Recently I have pulled out a UFO and placed it on my sewing table with the supplies needed to complete it. I admit that even doing this took me nearly a month of contemplation. I’ve have to knock the dust off of it several time so far but I am determined to finish this quilt sooner than later and I promise that it will not ever go back into my pile of UFOs. Have you ever tackled a forgotten or stalled project? Do you have UFOs. What is your best technique for avoiding the creative block that comes from mental or physical roadblocks? I feel like this new system will get me back on track and turn my spurts of creativity into a waterfall of creation. I mean after all, I am just 92% human

Fashion in the City

It’s not hard to imagine Gwyneth Paltrow in a flowy peasant top and cutoffs or Emilia Clarke in wool cashmere coat by Raph Lauren but can you imagine yourself in your ideal style? If you had the perfect body, perfect skin, perfect face, what style resonates with your consummate aesthetic? Would you wear your feelings on your chest with literal statement pieces with boldface graphics or refine your approach with muted tones and classic features? I say let your freak flag fly if you want and mix it up.

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Calm Before the Storm. A Caribbean Love Affair

Imagine yourself here. Can you almost imagine the experience that transforms your ordinary week into an extraordinary adventure? With its cosmopolitan cities and a wild side just resting under the surface, Puerto Rico swings both ways. The 3,515 square mile island is both modern and remote. You may fly into the bustling city of San Juan in the morning and be in the stunning tropical rain forest by lunch.

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