Creative Space -and- A UFO

In the last post, I shared some of how I organize my ‘Creative Space’. Nothing has changed unless you count making a mess. I have a new project. A small ornament swap, I’ll share more about that later.

New Command Center

The table stays pretty clear because I use it for just about everything… cutting, planning, computing, and shipping. However, the table is going to change and I have a new layout I want to try as well. This means I need to find a block of time to clean up everything that is currently out or in use.

Lift Table
going to be the new work table

A few months ago I found some motorized lift desks. The current tabletop on this desk is about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, and irregular. My plan is to attach a larger melamine on top of the current tabletop. I like a big table, in the neighborhood of 4 feet wide by 6-8 feet long. In addition to bigger, I will be able to raise and lower the table for whatever I need to do. I really like a higher table for cutting, and since I am short a lower table for sitting at. The problem with a regular height table or desk is either a chair won’t get me high enough for comfort or if it does, my feet don’t rest on the floor. There are still so many projects to do in the basement area… so the picture also includes other things waiting to move.

UFO Report

In the meantime, I have a completed project… a UFO.

When I first set up the ‘Creative Space’, I knew I wanted to make some creativity happen. But with what? Did I want to piece, applique, stitch, quilt? Make something new or finish something that had already been started, (aka UFO)? Making a new something seemed like such a big mess to make so I decided to see what was in the UFO box. While I going through them I reorganized them. Bonus!

UFO boxes
The newly sorted and labeled UFO storage boxes

After sorting the UFOs, I chose a little piece that started as a sample and designed to remain unfinished for a little while. I love bright happy flowers, and these certainly fit the bill. This was the beginning of the project, and as you can see as we move along, this was the initial concept.

Free Spirit Flowers start
This is the auditioning of the large flowers and some leaves.

And the concept changed. I added stems and a vase before starting the threadwork. I completed the threadplay, or so I thought. Also, originally, there was a quilting plan, marked in blue water-soluble marker, but I didn’t like it. I spritzed the blue marks off with water and a color ran. I thought it was from a flower fabric, and essentially a ruined project to that is where I left it with disappointment. However, I determined it might be a good teaching tool; the colorfastness of thread and fabric isn’t always guaranteed. It is difficult to see, but at the top of the large pink flower, you can see a bit of a color bleed, between the 2 yellow zinnias.

Free Spirit Flowers Stitched
Flowers Free-motion stitched and background quilting completed.

For the quilting, I decided on some regular wavy lines, (that mimick the vase shape), and quilted those. I then quilted the “table” in a free motion wood grain. Bound it and gave it a bath. To my surprise, the color bleed was from the thread. The thread dye rinsed right out even though I had pressed it several times during construction!

Free Spirit Flowers complete
Free Spirit Flowers all done

All done. I still like the flowers, but it is not my most favorite composition… or completion. One of the things I learned is that before you begin work on a boxed UFO project, is to take a few minutes or a day to reacquaint yourself with the project and where you left off; and assess everything that still needs to be done. I had missed some threadwork and discovered it while quilting, (flower centers), so I did that while quilting. It made the back very inconsistent.

Cute Cats

I promised cute cats, (this one is especially for Linda). Linda has virtually adopted the cats and sends them treats. She has kept them stocked with ‘Temptations’ since we moved out here and discovered that 7 cats came with the place. The cats are fed in the mornings, but I give them a few ‘auntie treats’ after I come back from feeding the cow in the evenings.

Cat Hug
Senior Uno and Tutone

That is not all of the completed projects … I’ll share another next time!!! and if you are still here. Thanks for reading.

Please stay well, wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay home as much as possible.

More Later- Beth

A Busy Waiting Season

It’s been a busy waiting season. I started several posts. How many “Life on the Farm” posts are too many? Creativity was not a topic either, I had not been creative. That has changed a little.

Life in the country seems to be about the only thing I have to share… no one wants to hear about the difficulties… of day to day living in the age of COVID-19, or my thoughts on our politics, or other regular life issues like going to the farm store, the grocery store, or in my case the Podiatrist!!!

Seasons Changed

Not to be wishing life away… at one point, I found myself looking a bit forward to November, (which is here and now almost gone). In Kentucky, it has gotten cooler at night. Cooler is a relative term depending on where you live. There have been nights as low as 21°. With the frost, the growing season, (aka ‘the allergy season’) is over. In November, the days usually become cooler and signals the season for nesting. The ‘political season’ is lingering on and we all want to see it done, too. I think it’s safe to say, we all wish that the “COVID-19 season” was over. Again it is something that will linger through the New Year. We will have Thanksgiving at home, this year, with just the 2 of us at the table.

The Current Creative Space

My “Creative Space” is set up! I was busy. Currently, it remains an unfinished one! That may change. I just couldn’t wait any longer. No painted walls or carpeting for now. The floor is unfinished concrete. There is an ugly area rug, (it came with the house). I hate it. If the floor needs to be upgraded from concrete, I’ll have to decide what type of flooring to install… ‘wood look’ vinyl stick down flooring, click floating laminate flooring, or a low pile carpet. I personally like the idea of carpeting. It’s warm and soft and will soften the rest of the unfinished space. I plan to cover all the concrete walls with insulation for design walls. I don’t mind the open ceiling. It means I can move the lights around at will. A little fine-tuning and shifting is in the future as well.

Creating the Space

It is interesting that room design and organization have become a hot topic again in the quilting world. I have lots of practice organizing and setting up my space. This is my 8th move in 20 years. The different types of spaces have been, unfinished rooms with cobbled together furniture to almost perfectly coordinated spaces. I don’t think this ‘Creative Space’ will be perfect. I am too thrifty. The only way to perfect is to win the lottery, and for that to happen I would have to play…

Where do I Put It?

Fabric storage and table top organizer
the “Creative Space” table with tool keepers

As I put things away I try to find the best location the first time for my tools. For me, if I change or rearrange and move items to a new location it causes a disconnect in the brain. We always look for something in the original location or container first. To find it we have to reconstruct the moving sequence to remember the new location.
Some things need to be where I use them. Keeping the items I use often close at hand on the cutting table. The rotary cutters, scissors, (fabric and paper scissors), pens, pencils, fabric marking, compass, poking sticks, glue sticks, etc. One of my favorite tabletop keepers is a kitchen utensil spinner, (this is from Pampered Chef circa 2006-ish). My other favorite is a box with 4 compartments. It is perfect for larger tools or the many duplicate tools like rotary cutters and all the different kinds of scissors!!

Supples Storage boxes
Clearly labeled boxes of supplies and extras

I keep other duplicate tools, similar or more specialized tools in clearly marked storage boxes. Some of the labels on the boxes, are ‘marking’, ‘measuring’, ‘pins, needles & thimbles’, ‘sharps’, etc.


I like to keep my fabric where I can see it, now. It used to be in labeled clear plastic bins. I found that taking one bin down, digging through it was always a problem. Keeping them neat in the bins was a problem, never mind the constant issue of outgrowing the bins and having to rearrange or heaven forbid, discard a fabric for space. And if getting fabric out was difficult; the prospect of putting them away was daunting, so piles ensued. Keeping the fabric on in the open was a nice change.

Where are the bins now? In the bins are collections … like buttons, ribbons, laces, braids, elastics, and project parts or in a few cases the actual project and all the components! All the bins are clearly labeled too.

clear plastic storage tubs
Storage tubs waiting for the closet to be finished

Unfortunately, the closet is not yet finished. The plan is for the bins to move into the closet, out of sight behind closed doors. I could not decide on the type of shelves to put in the closet. The decision has been made. I will use adjustable wall brackets and wood shelves. The adjustability and sturdiness behind closed doors will be wonderful. I have a few areas that are in need of attention, mostly paint. Since I dislike painting, I procrastinate.

Something Cute

In the previous post, I promised a cute picture of a pig. It was sunny, hot, and humid the day I took this! Iggy Piggy is deeply asleep and snoring.

Sleeping Pig
thought it was so cute the way Iggy Piggy slept on a hot and humid afternoon

For the next post another picture promise. I have a really cute picture of cats to share.

Going forward, I will try and be more timely… As I set up the room, I tested the location of the furniture and the setup. Which, allowed me to finish or moved several UFOs on to the next step. The longarm needed a repair, had a sewing session with a 10-year-old, and have a swap to work on!

More soon- Beth

Summer Happenings in the Country

Summer time in the country

Summer is on the downward side. Funny how you don’t really notice how late the sun goes down… in general, but as we reach the summer solstice, you notice the days getting shorter and the need for indoor lighting earlier and earlier. A couple of weeks ago, we had some early fall-like weather. The daytime temperatures were in the mid-70-degree range and there was a breeze out of the north. And then Summer came roaring back with ’90s and humidity.

Garden in July
Hits and misses in the garden production


Production from the garden has been hit or miss. What we discovered this first summer were the bugs. We had all of them, squash beetles, aphids, striped potato bugs, cucumber beetles, and a few others. The worst one destroys zucchini, and fast! We have more zucchini planted and a spray to keep the vine borer away. It is our third planting. The cucumbers were very slow to start and then came on strong! We planted 2 varieties. Our favorite variety, mostly known on the west coast called a Lemon Cucumber-round and yellow, and the other was a green long straight one. Also delicious. As usual, the green beans did well. Bugs don’t seem to like them that much. Watermelon and cantaloupes a miss and a hit. I think the corn was the most successful. Sweet and tender. I am from Ohio, in the summer we would head to farm stalls for corn. Ostensibly to buy some for dinner. But the real reason was lunch. We would have it right there, right out of the bag. So tender and sweet it didn’t even need cooking, butter, or salt. What we grew this summer reminded me of it so much. The tomatoes are going strong!

Having drip irrigation has been the best thing since sliced bread. It hs really helped to keep the soil moist and the plants fed. The hose that we connect from the hydrant to the garden has not fared so well. The lawnmower… has done a number on it… may need to get a pipe feed for the water.

The Cow Summer Fun

Last Saturday the neighbor with the tractor came by and offered to mow the field March lives in down. He just hasn’t been eating it fast enough. Well, that tractor came in and started to mow, and Mr. March came out of the loafing shed, where he spends nearly all day, to see about the interloper. March challenged that tractor several times and then went back to the shed until it was done. In the middle picture, March looks like a bull in the arena staring down a Matador.

Doings at the Pig Pen

The pigs are almost too big to be cute. At feeding they are pushy and during the day they just lay about in the shade. The mud still offers some comfort and protection from the flies and hot summer sun. They love the garden spoils and greens. I am estimating that Iggy weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 to 200 pounds. He is a big fellow and Piggie a bit less in weight and shorter in both height and length. Getting pictures of them is difficult now. They think every time we enter the barn, it means food!

Big Pigs

Chicken Happenings

In the spring we decided that the old chicken coop (former playhouse for children), was too hard on a human. The porch roof is very low as is the doorway. We also did not like having the chicken yard behind the little house. How much fun is that? So we built a new coop in the spring and finished building the yard in the summer. We will turn the playhouse into the food storage location and house some Guinea fowl next spring. The new location is where the family that built the playhouse had the swing set and sandbox. All beautifully framed with railroad ties and filled with sand and polished pea gravel. Since we have more chicken room, we’ve added 4 more girls. They are the same variety as the older birds, Cream Legbar. They are only about 3 months old, so it will be a bit before they lay eggs… sometime around December. The new chickens will live in the playhouse for a few weeks before we mix the girls.

Warning Slithery Doings- you might want to skip this last bit

In the evenings it is my turn to feed the cow and the pigs. On Tuesday evening I spied a snake in the garden on my way back to the house by way of the compost bin. It was a harmless to humans variety, (a Southern Black Racer), so I took a picture and moved on. What I didn’t realize is that it was caught up in the blueberry netting. So the next morning, I got a text from the DH asking me to come to the garden to help him with the snake. This is very unusual! He intensely dislikes the creatures. So I hurried out there. Between us, we cut it free and watched it run off to hide in the burn pile. Copperhead or water moccasin, I would not have let it live. We are currently in copperhead season, where the babies are hatching. So we are on the lookout. Hoping I never have to deal with one, big or little!

Black Racer Snake

The black racer was not the only snake this summer. This was the first snake DH encountered earlier in the summer. He was working on pulling the reeds out of the pond, he was surprised by a rather large watersnake. Again harmless, but a big surprise.

Water snake

I don’t know where all the time goes… although… the garden and the kitchen seem to eat up plenty of time as does procrastination. Why do we do it?

As always more later- Beth