I Finished That Thing from 2011

Posted September 29, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Quilting, Sewing

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I had to sew some borders on a baby quilt, so got my Pfaff machine out and tried to get it working properly. I finally got it settled down after a big adjustment on the bobbin case tension.

Then I thought I’d see how it was working with machine quilting, so took out this project for a sewing machine cover that I started in July 2011. The pattern is from the book Fresh Quilting which you can read about in this post.

I got it pieced and basted but the patchwork seemed a bit lumpy, I quilted it with the walking foot on my Pfaff and it did okay but I got a bit of skewing with the patchwork. Free motion quilting would have worked better in this instance but I can’t get my machine to work for free motion, even after having the machine serviced three times.

I’ve never done a double binding before so I did one on this to practice for the baby quilt I am making and it went fine. I’m not that fussed about this cover for some reason, but it sits nicely on the machine and looks nice and crisp.


The original pattern called for cardboard or illustration board to be quilted into the body of the cover. I thought that was a senseless idea because you could never wash the thing, so I made a sleeve, sewed it to the back, and slipped a piece of illustration board into it. That way it’s removable for washing.


At least it’s done. I think I might investigate buying a Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine. They are supposed to free motion quilt beautifully. I’ve got about fifteen or more quilt tops to finish. I love my Pfaff for piecing and sewing clothes but it’s not good any more for machine quilting.

UPDATE: In the realm of “You just have to laugh!”, I called for a quote on the Juki machine: $1600 plus tax which brings it to $1800 CAD. Way, way, way, way out of my realm of affordability.

I did however buy some Machingers quilting gloves for $9 and I’ll try the walking foot again, and try the free motion quilting again and see if I can solve this and at least get the baby quilt done in time.






Keep Modifying that Planner Until You Collapse

Posted September 18, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , ,

During a protracted bout of insomnia I have been working on this planner page yet again. That’s right, if the melatonin doesn’t work go into Photoshop and do something productive, then print it off and modify it again.

I’ve lost track of how many modifications I did, but after five days of using the original modification (in a prior post), I decided I needed to redo it and then tweak it, and then add colour, and then tweak the kerning on a few letters, and I was done. Maybe.

I bought some cheap new stickers so I stuck some on in relevant places. Cupcake stickers are perhaps not the thing to use in a business environment, but colour is always useful to attract the eye to appropriate areas on the weekly plan. If a sticker has icing you know it’s really important. If it has glitter you had better do what you’re supposed to do or you won’t get the cat sticker on next week’s plan.

Yes, I mean business.

Click to enlarge.


If I find that I have more than twelve things to do or remember, I can spill over into the focus box. My book log has grown wider to facilitate lengths of rumination. I also get a quote for the week as a necessary nudge toward greatness.



A Free Weekly Planner, Modified for My Purposes

Posted September 13, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

Tags: , , , ,

I like planners that have blocks in them as I find them easier to read. I also like a bit of room at the bottom for extra notes. I wanted an undated planner to use weekly, particularly now since I have a baby quilt to finish and I’m not getting it done. Doing projects in small increments gets them done!

I found a free planner page online at The Household Planner, and modified it in Photoshop to change the colours which I didn’t like. I left the days of the week in the original font and then changed the title, moved things around, and added a few titles in a font from my computer.

Thus I got what was useful to me, including my water intake for each day, a weekly log of the books I read, and a section for things to focus on so I don’t spin around madly, accomplishing nothing.

Then I put a sticker on the top for visual delight and printed it in Draft mode so the lines were fainter and worked better with my fountain pens, and I put it in a recycled binder (which was brand new.) I used the Staples Sustainable Earth sugarcane paper that works so well with my fountain pens and ink, and away I go for week one.

I’ll try it for a few weeks and modify it further if I find I need to. Click to enlarge.




A Book to Heal Rampant Attachment?

Posted September 12, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Books

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These days, particularly after spending four years repairing and decluttering my house in order to sell it, I prefer to order most books on inter-library loan. I’ve been bothered by the amount of stuff we threw out in the last two months, the sheer volume of useless detritus. This book caught my eye and I bought it because I know I’m going to need a constant reminder of the subject.

I found myself browsing fountain pens and ink online in the past two weeks, just for comfort, but I have five fountain pens and eight bottles of ink, so it made no sense. I use them all every week, but to get more would simply add to the burden, they would not get used. I wanted to explore these desperate feelings of want that crop up.

Join a group on any subject on the Internet and there is a wild chase to buy “all the things,”to buy the adored object, the epitome of cool for that particular month. The latest baffling trend I saw is for a Japanese planner, which is imported and wildly expensive, has nice paper, and looks not much different than the planner that everyone was wild about last year, except it engenders huge import fees and costs about $75 or more and you can get more than one cover and extras and stickers. Everyone HAS to have one.

It’s strange how I can readily pooh-pooh this planner but talk about a new coloured pencil and I feel the pull to buy it. It is a compulsion, I feel it too for various things. We all have our tendencies for adored objects. As well as attachment to things, I get attached to certain kinds of harmful foods, so I thought this book might have some insight on that as well.

Hooked!: Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume edited by Stephanie Kaza.


The blurb for this book says in part:

“At one time or another, most of us have experienced an all-consuming desire for a material object, a desire so strong that it seems like we couldn’t possibly be happy without buying this thing. Yet, when we give in to this impulse, we often find ourselves feeling frustrated and empty. Advertisers, of course, aim to hook us in this way, and, from a global perspective, our tendency to get hooked fuels the rampant over-consumption that is having a devastating impact on the world’s stability and on the environment.

According to the contributors to this unique anthology, Buddhism can shed valuable light on our compulsions to consume. Craving and attachment—how they arise and how to free ourselves of them—are central themes of Buddhist thought. The writings in this volume, most of which have never been previously published, offer fresh perspectives and much-needed correctives to our society’s tendency to believe that having more will make us happier.

Hooked! includes a range of writings on how to apply Buddhist thought and ethics to understand and combat the problem of over-consumption as individuals and collectively.”


Organizing Decorative Papers

Posted September 11, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Creativity

Tags: , , , ,

About a decade ago before fancy card stock and scrap paper was more readily available near me, I placed a mail order for some nice paper. It came in a large 14-inch square box and I kept the box to store the paper neatly.

As the years went on I found myself with small scraps of unused paper that I keep for collage, and I kept larger sheets of scrapbooking paper in plastic bags to protect the edges. Still, things would get crumpled and mixed up and the box looked messier and messier. Lately with the impetus to make my own envelopes, I bought even more scrapbooking paper and it was getting wrecked trying to store it neatly.

I kept this on my book shelf next to my light box, with my Fiskars paper trimmer on top of it. Paper and plastic could often be seen slopping out the sides and the lid wouldn’t stay down without the paper trimmer on it.


On a shopping trip to a larger town for  grass seed and tarpaulins today, I got my husband to let me do a bit of shopping in Michael’s. They had scrapbooking paper on 5 for $1 so I bought 10 sheets, and as we were checking out I noticed they had 14-inch square plastic boxes with snap lids on sale for $3.99 each, so I bought two.

It took me about an hour to reorganize this paper and sort through the useable scraps. I kept the really small pieces with some tea bag folded designs in a separate Ziploc bag, and I have the full sheets separated into letter sized sheets and large 12 x 12-inch sheets.


It sure looks better! “Cheap and cheerful” as the saying goes.





New Template for a Business Envelope

Posted September 5, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Creativity, Writing and Journalling

Tags: , , ,

I have been finding the larger half-fold envelopes I make to be rather bulky, so today I made a template for a business letter sized envelope. It worked perfectly so I went ahead and cut seven envelopes from fancy paper.

Click to enlarge.


I also needed a template the fit in my old road atlas so I could make larger envelopes from maps, and the half-fold template wouldn’t fit. This new one does, so problem solved there.

I found some scraps of paper so cut out two small quarter-fold envelopes too. I am suffering today with “The Aches” as I call them, due to fibromyalgia, but I felt I had to do something, produce something for the day.

Not bad, and I got to use up some more of the odd bits of scrapbooking paper I have.

Update: Two days later, in the realm of “Bet you can’t make just one!” I made some more. No, don’t make one, make fourteen. That’s the way to do it.






Envelopes Handmade from Maps

Posted September 5, 2015 by JJ ColourArt
Categories: Creativity, Writing and Journalling

Tags: , , , ,

I have an old Nelson Atlas of the World that I bought in a flea market for $3. I often use the coloured pages to cut covers for signatures in bookbinding to give the edges some zip when using Coptic stitch. Tonight during yet another round of insomnia, I decided to use it to make four quarter-fold envelopes using a cardboard template I made a few months ago.

Click to enlarge.


What I liked about this is that I don’t have to line the envelopes as the paper is heavier than scrapbooking paper, plus it’s double-sided. It looks very fresh for a nice, artsy envelope.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t have maps large enough to cut out larger half-fold envelopes, but I am pleased with these. I’m off to glue them and weight them overnight to dry.

I hope, having satisfied this particular creative imperative, that I can now get to sleep.





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