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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Projects with special meaning (and a link party)

In this climate of hate and divisiveness... all my crafty projects need some extra meaning


The Ongoing Project List:
  1. Growing Up QAL - February block(s) finished (cannot share)
  2. Splendid Sampler - no progress
  3. Charity quilts - no progress
  4. SK project - no progress
  5. Molli Sparkle's "The Honey Pot Bee" - no progress
  6. Project QUILTING - Esse Quam Videri (see below)
  7. En Provence QAL - no progress
  8. Bullet Journaling into my Quilter's Planner - working every day on this
  9. 70273 Project - two blocks done (see below)
  10. Pussyhat project - my hat, which I proudly wear every day when I go to work! :)
--
Because in the recent history we had hate and it resulted in inhumane massacres of innocent people... some sent to death with two simple red Xs... 

"70,273 physically and mentally disabled people – men, women, teens, boys, and girls – were murdered by the Nazis. Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed “unfit” or an “economic burden on society”, the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file, and when two of them made a red X on the page, the disabled person’s fate was sealed. Most were murdered within 1-2 hours."

This is an extract from Jeanne's post about the 70273 project.

I have been making blocks for this project for a while, and this year I will make many more.

Because we shouldn't forget what happens when hate prevails.



--

On January 20th it was my fourth blogoversary! Usually it is a big day for me to celebrate what I did during the year, projects completed, lesson learned etc... I didn't feel like celebrating though...

However my crafty life has been full of projects, so I want to honor them with this video.
If you have never heard about the "1 Second Everyday" app, you should check it out!! It is amazing to watch back to my last year in this format. So much more dynamic than pictures of finished projects! I can really appreciate what I did every day and my many projects. Even if some are not features (because you really get only 1 second a day) it's still pretty cool I think!!




--
I heard about this project just few days ago (https://www.pussyhatproject.com/)... and I am not a fast knitter :)
However I spent the 20th making this project and thinking about all the wonderful contributions of women in the history of the world! I am not usually sharing picture of myself on social media... but I believe this is an important project.


Check more coverage about this project and all related events at


--
And last, but not least...
In this first week of the year I always like to participate into different events... and since I only have very limited time, I like to make pieces that fulfill multiple purposes.

So... this is my entry for Project Quilting (season 8).

I have to be honest and say that I didn't particularly liked this week theme... 

it is a block, it is a beautiful block, but it's just a single block so it looked very "limiting" in my mind as everybody will use the same block and make probably similar pieces...

or it could be a specific flower... but again, it felt too restrictive from my creative energy...

Then I thought... what if instead of the block or the flower I look at the words? 
Carolina... Lily... 
Carolina... Carolina... ehi there are two states in US that are Carolinas...
And US states have very inspiring state seals...
And I found the most relevant quotes in those seals

... Spes (Hope)
... Quis Separabit? (Who will separate us?)
... Dum Spiro Spero (I will have hope, until my last breath)
... Esse Quam Videri (To be, rather than to seem... or in today's world I would translate this as To Act rather than to Tweet)

and the Lily flower makes the perfect liberty pole


So here is my entry seal/coaster

Esse Quam Videri - 7''x7''

--
How about you? What are YOU up to?
Link it here and share it with me!!


Saturday, January 21, 2017

None can grab my... hat!

Especially my PUSSYHAT


If you haven't heard about the Pussyhatproject, visit their website https://www.pussyhatproject.com


Follow the coverage of the project on Instagram or Facebook


Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Place That Sends You Mad (and a link party)

This is the accurate description of my last months... and I am not sure at which minute I am right now... I hope to be toward the end but I am not very confident about that :)





Will I be able to keep doing what I am doing? Only time will tell...
Cross your fingers for me!! :)

Of course not a single minute for crafting this week :( but I will be happy to see all your fantastic projects!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Let's start the year with a finish (and a link party)

Let's start the year with a finish!!!

The Ongoing Project List:
  1. Growing Up QAL - January block(s) released (see below)
  2. Splendid Sampler - no progress
  3. Charity quilts - no progress
  4. SK project - no progress
  5. Molli Sparkle's "The Honey Pot Bee" - one block done (see below)
  6. Pantone Color of the Year 2017 - DOOOONE (see below)
  7. En Provence QAL - designed my version in my planner (more on this maybe next week)
  8. Bullet Journaling into my Quilter's Planner - working every day on this
  9. 70273 Project - no progress
--
I am hosting a free QAL for 2017. I am hosting it on my other website (because this is just my personal blog)

This month blocks: two intricate designs that are actually super simple to make!!

If you are intrigued, read more at http://alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com/

I hope many of you will join... it will be a fun growing experience, there will be prizes, linky and much more!!

--
Molli Sparkle's "The Honey Pot Bee" I am going to be a QUEEN (in March), but I decided to participate also in other months because this is such a fun community event and I don't want to miss out! So even if I have no specific plan for the quilt, no idea what color scheme to use, etc, I started with one of the blocks of this month

Scrappy/Disney strawberry! Pattern links at mollisparkles.com

I love it! So scrappy, so random, so colorful, so fun... totally me! :)

I may do the other block for January, but I am not a big fan of star blocks... we'll see!

--
And last, but not least...
In this first week of the year I always like to participate into different events... and since I only have very limited time, I like to make pieces that fulfill multiple purposes.

So... this is my entry for Project Quilting (season 8) (to fit in this week theme, I used 8 praire points on each side :) )
... this is my mini for my collection of mini Pantone Color of the Year 2017 (Greenery... which for me is not just a single color because it reminds me of all the greens in nature, thus the super scrappy look)
... this is the piece I tested for a friend (Yanicka) who developed this new technique to make these super cool and modern design: it is NOT paper piecing, it is much much simpler! For the pattern and more information, visit Yanicka's blog!

Heart of Jade - 18''x18''

And just for fun, this is the lineup of all the previous year Color of the Year mini!

Emerald, Radiant Orchid, Marsala, Rose Quartz+Serenity (2013-2016 Pantone "Color of the Year")


--
How about you? What are YOU up to?
Link it here and share it with me!!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bullet Journal - December review (evolution of my Quilter's Planner)

My Bullet Journaling experience is getting better and better!!
Grab a cold or hot beverage... this is a looooong post!! :) :) :)

For disclaimers about how I personally use the Bullet Journal system, please refer to these previous posts: November reviewOctober review, September review.


At the end of October I received the Quilter's Planner (on the top left) so I decided to use it as the main planner. However, as I said last month, while I love the size and the general idea and look of the planner, I cannot function in a planner that does not allow customization.

So last month I took off the plastic ring spiral, and replaced it with few 1'' Loose Leaf Binder Rings. I distributed them along the side of the page so they will keep the pages together in a stable manner but they will allow me to quickly open them up and move/add/remove pages (top right in the picture above).

While I liked the general idea, I didn't really liked the wobblyiness and the fact that to move pages around I still had to open several rings, punch many holes, etc.

I was watching a gazillion of videos about planners on youtube and I found that there are many people that had similar problems with a very famous planner (Erin Condren) which is spiral bound... and I found a person Turned her Erin Condren into a Discbound system!!
I didn't even know what a "discbound" system is... I've never seen it before...
And after watching many videos, I understood how it worked, but it didn't really convinced me much... it looked still wobbly and not very practical.

Until one day I want to Hobby Lobby and I started flipping trough the Happy Planners (which are Discbound systems) and OMG I loooooved them!!!
I bought the punch (which is an investment but with a coupon is not that expensive) I bought few rings and by the end of the week I trimmed all the Quilter's planner pages (to remove the holes), I punched new holes and I put them into my new system!!

In the last two weeks I already changed the cover of the planner 3 times :) I cannot stop!! It makes me so happy to be able to move pages back and forth, change things in few seconds and keep everything where I need it... And look at all those suuuuupeeeeer cheap cover options (File folders from the dollar store) :) :) :)

Help! Someone needs to stop me!! I have too many file folders!! :)


And as a side note, there a gazillion of tutorial to make any kind of DYI accessory for this kind of planner: pouches, pockets, stencils, bookmarks, pen-loops, anything!!!

Ok, now back to my monthly flipthough...


-- DAILY CHALLENGES--

Another month of my "Doodle A Daily Quilting Design"!

Each day I took a design from Leah Day's Quilting Design Gallery. I love how this turned out because now I have two pages that I can reference to when I don't know which quilting design to use in my project; they are all there on a single page so I don't have to hunt them down on the web, but if I need extra guidance I know where to find it; I was also able to understand which one are more challenging for me and which one are faster. Doing this every day helps to build muscle memory too. As a fun added bonus I doodle around the empty spaces, to make it a themed spread... winter xmas theme :) :)

-- MONTH TRACKER and DOODLE AN ARTIST --

The December tracker is sparse in some rows, and pretty full in others... I used a circle design to mix up the style of the trackers over the months, and I really love it... some things didn't get done, not even a single time!! Oh well... this is why the Bullet Journal system is great: it helps me reflect on things: one empty row is about reading the "How to think like Da Vinci" book... I have been too busy this month to stop and read that, but I want to finish it eventually so I will just keep the row in the next month tracker.

The "doodle an artist" sections are the ones that I most proud of!! I love the idea and I was looking forward every day to either draw something or find something to draw for the next day. The idea is to pick an artist and then copy some elements from some of her/his pieces (Steal like an Artist). The act of researching their life, reading the story of a painting, trying to extract simple elements that I can sketch just with a pen is very very valuable for me. Considering that I have NO art background, NO art education, I think I copied the different pieces quite well! And it's unbelievable how much the daily practice improved in just a month! It also improved my confidence (in drawing and life) and opened my mind to a world of possibilities.


This month I picked the work of Lennart Helje, who has a very whimsical and Xmasy style: while I loved these designs, I honestly didn't have much time to make more, so I may add more later in the year!!


-- WEEKLY SPREAD --

I love how I design each weekly spread page.
It's simple, it's cute (at least the latest ones are becoming cuter), it's functional.
At the beginning of each week, I list few things in the "Quilting and Crafting" section or "Home and Personal" section. I put them in approximate days, but I don't stress about it, because I have the view of the full week, so if I feel that I want to do something on Mon that is listed on Fri (or viceversa) it's all good!!
I also have a page where I list things that I think I could do montly/weekly and then in the main tracker I just refer to weekly todo or monthly todo. This creates an additional page where I can write other things that are relevant for the month (like Songs! or other notes). As mentioned before, I like having empty spaces as I can come back later and play around with them!!





No Weekly Spread recipes this month because I have been too busy!! :)


-- FITNESS MANDALA (in pictures above) --

I have been trying to find interesting ways to track my fitness activities (steps for example) and I thought that making a mandala would be visually interesting! :)
I created circles that represent a certain distance (5000 steps, 10000, 20000) and then in each slice (representing the days) I designed a motif that, repeated 31 times, would create a nice mandala. Of course the incentive is that if I reach 10000 each day the mandala would be nice and full... if not I will see missing chunks!
This again is a way to help me reflect on myself (not to feel bad about the missing chunks): for example I realized that during the week it's easy for me to reach my 10000 steps goals, but in the weekends or holidays I prefer to stay home. For my wellness, I could just integrate some indoor exercise to compesate for the steps, and this is my plan for next month, but I wouldn't have realized this if I didn't visually see what my patterns are.

I also added some water tracking... I have a Smart Bottle... yes, I have been obsessed with tracking so this is another piece of the puzzle :) :) :)

-- SPECIAL EVENTS --

-- Be Our Guest (in pictures above) --

We have visitors, staying in our home for several weeks... which means I had to clean the entire house! Since my house has specific rooms and things that won't change, I designed a spread that lists all the things I need to clear/sort/tidy/scrub/sweep/prepare, and I added several columns to accomodate possible future guests. This was a great way to get things done little by little and don't get overwhealmed at the last minute!!

-- En Provence Mystery QAL (tracker) -- (in pictures above)

I designed a little visual tracker to count the blocks I am making for Bonnie Hunter's current mystery. I am waaaaaaaaaay behind but I plan to add a sketch of the final layout, the specific blocks each clue represents, etc. For now I just color one circle to count 5 blocks made :)

--
Two final notes:
  1. you may wonder: is it really possible to spend so much time and effort decorating a planner and still have time to actually do all the things you planned? The answer is in my boyfriend words... he kept asking me "how come all of a sudden you became Marta Stewart with all this cooking, cleaning and organizing?" and he doesn't even see that I am still keeping up with all my quilting projects, I finished the xmas presents and I am also all caught up on all my tv series!! :) :) :) So the point is: either this planner creates extra time in the day... OR... the fact that I am dedicating so much time and effort in writing down the plans, make me very very efficient, intentional and mindful when I am actually doing the different tasks, so they take less time and I can do more, without too much stress!! so my answer to his question was "it's the planner!!! :) :)"
  2. given that I am covering up and redesign every page, why don't I just use a blank journal instead of the Quilter's Planner? Well... even if I don't use the original layout, I still take inspiration from all the extra information they included (blocks every week, quilting designs, tips, patterns, etc.) so I think it's worth using a themed planner rather than a blank journal. Plus I just used it for a month, so I didn't really have the time to look into all the planning pages that I may use in the future. Finally I really like projects that get the community together, so I wanted to give my support to the authors by buying their product and I want to interact with others that are using this great planner!!
If you have any comment or question, please write below! I will be happy to share my thoughts!!!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

The LIST

The two words for my 2017: "Habit" and "Endure"
with my dreamcatcher doodles :)

Several people are rolling out link parties and challenges with resolutions for the new year, so I thought it was a great opportunity for me to look back at my 2016 list and see what I did there!

So this is the 2016 list, with the current status of each project.
  1. Play with Me QAL - hosted this extra fun QAL (confession: I haven't put together my quilt just yet O_O). It was a great success and brought me to the 2017 QAL so I am happy about this project!!!
  2. "Jane Tiger, the Nearly Insane Wife of a Farmer" - completely abbandoned... I designed the full layout, made few blocks, but it fell off the ongoing project train early in the year :)
  3. Block Swap Adventure quilt - I continued the swap for few months, then it was suspended for lack of participants, then I started a new swap on Ello, and that got suspended too for the lack of participants... oh, well... 
  4. Charity quilts for Fran and the Quilts for DC General Homeless Shelter project - wow, I didn't work on this much unfortunately! I have 3 quilts done, few pillow cases and several extra quilt tops ready... I need to get my head in the game!!
  5. Americana QAL - done, completed, gifted.
  6. Play with Me 2016 QAL - duplicate of 1 :) I must have been tired when I wrote the list!!
  7. Allietare QAL - top completed, and in the pile to donate for charity...
  8. Pantone Color of the Year 2016 - completed
  9. The SK project - many blocks got done... still very far from completion, but good progress here!!
  10. the 31000 Xs project - abandoned, no progress throughout the year....
  11. Spirit cross stitch project - abandoned, no progress throughout the year.... 
  12. Mirror Mirror Afghan - abandoned, no progress throughout the year....
  13. Alice in Wonderland quilt - abandoned, no progress throughout the year....
  14. As You Wish -  abandoned, no progress throughout the year....
  15. Crazy optical illusion - abandoned, no progress throughout the year....
  16. Memory quilt 2 - abandoned, no progress throughout the year....
Ok... so it seemed like I didn't do much from the list... but I promise that I had a ton of completed projects, they just seemed to come along during the year so they were not in the initial list!! :)

I will feature all my accomplishment in a separate post at the end of January for my blogoversary! I think I accomplished a lot, but I need some time to collect them all in one post :)

And now... what about 2017?
Let's make another list!!! Let's make it SHORTER so I may be able to accomplish more!! :)

  1. GROWING UP QAL - I had so much fun hosting a QAL that I want to do it again! This year will be more "traditional" because it will have 12'' finished blocks but they are all kind of techniques, skills, sashings, etc... as usual a great learning experience

  2. Splendid Sampler - I just want some progress here, just more blocks done. I don't aim at completing it, but just at working on it
  3. Charity quilts - I want to complete the tops that I have and then deliver the quilts to the final destination. My goal is around 7 quilts
  4. SK project - I want to complete all the blocks, not the final quilt, but at least all the missing blocks
  5. Be a good QUEEN :) - well... I don't know if I am supposed to say it yet... but I will be a Queen for the Molli Sparkle's "The Honey Pot Bee"!!!!! I already have an idea for the block... just wait and see
  6. Pantone Color of the Year 2017 - planning my traditional mini
  7. En Provence QAL - Planning to add this on the pile of donation quilts... maybe... not sure about the final layout yet :)
  8. Bullet Journaling into my Quilter's Planner - planning to explore and expand my new obsession with planning! 
  9. 70273 Project - keep working and supporting this amazing project!
9 projects to track and advance seems to be duable. I am also planning to decide what to do with the UFO that I abandoned in 2016... they probably just need some time to rest :)

This list is shared in for the following link parties and challenges:
2017 Planning Party

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Not much done (and a link party)

Things are getting more complicated and less crafty... oh well...

The Ongoing Project List:
  1. Hello Block Swap - probably discontinued
  2. 70273 Project - no progress
  3. The SK project - no progress
  4. Secret event (February 2017) - no progress
  5. Secret event (August 2017) - no progress
  6. Growing up QAL  - my new QAL announced last week!!!
  7. Xmas decorations - completed 4 more (they are all the same, so no picture :) )
  8. Bullet Journaling into my Quilter's Planner - working on this every day! 
  9. Xmas stockings - last one half done
  10. En Provence (Bonnie Hunter's mystery QAL) - progress on clue 3 (see below)!
  11. Pantone color of the year - no progress
The EverythingElse List:
  1. Splendid Sampler - no progress
  2. Charity Quilts for DC General Homeless Shelter project - no progress
  3. Summer Solstice QAL - no progress
    1. Mirror Mirror Afghan - no progress
    2. Jane T - no progress
    3. the 31000 Xs project - no progress
    4. Spirit cross stitch project - no progress
    5. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
    6. As You Wish -  no progress
    7. Crazy optical illusion - no progress
    8. Memory quilt 2 - no progress
    9. Gyleen's BCP Mystery QAL - no progress
    --
    I am hosting a new QAL for 2017.

    I will host it on my other website (as here I share weekly personal updates and I don't want things to get confusing if people want to just follow the event and not my personal struggles and successes :) )


    If you are intrigued, read more at http://alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com/

    I hope many of you will join... it will be a fun growing experience, there will be prizes, linky and much more!!

    --
    My progress on clue 3 (and some extra blocks from clue 1) of En Provence... always one clue behind and a gazillion of pieces counts behind... but I was just planning to follow along, not to make the full quilt right away.


    --

    In the past several weeks my life has been quite stressful (thus no much sewing) and I really felt the need to give myself a little boost. So last night I created this page in my Quilter's Planner

    They are quotes from two songs (Sia's The Greatest and Lady Gaga's Million Reasons). I plan to add more quotes, some shades/color in the next few weeks because I suspect I will have more stressful days so this could help me both focusing on something creative and to get some strong and positive words in my mind :)

    --
    How about you? What are YOU up to?
    Link it here and share it with me!!


    Monday, December 12, 2016

    Giveaway WINNER announced!


    And the winner is LAURA



    NOTE: if you didn't win (with me or anyone else)... well maybe it's because you didn't listen to my advise to check if you are a no-reply blogger (and you didn't leave your email address there).

    I received 84 (EIGHTY FOUR) comments that I didn't publish because I didn't have a way to get in touch with me directly...
    ... some of them are following me (through different platforms), but still no email = no chance!
    ... some of them say they signed up for the QAL, but if I don't know who is who, how can I contact you?!?!

    Seriously... I don't now why people don't take 5 minute to double check that issue!
    Oh, well, I guess that we (people that check or leave their email) have more chances to win!


    Congratulations Laura! I hope you will enjoy making a great project with these beauties!!!


    Saturday, December 10, 2016

    Busy week (and a link party)

    I am happy that this week is over! It was busy and not much sewing got done...


    The Ongoing Project List:
    1. Hello Block Swap - paused until 2017
    2. 70273 Project - no progress
    3. The SK project - no progress
    4. Secret event (January 2017) - decided to drop it for now
    5. Secret event (February 2017) - no progress
    6. Secret event (August 2017) - no progress
    7. Growing up QAL  - my new QAL announced last week!!!
    8. Xmas decorations - completed 2 more (they are all the same, so no picture :) )
    9. Bullet Journaling into my Quilter's Planner - working on this every day! 
    10. Xmas stockings - no progress
    11. En Provence (Bonnie Hunter's mystery QAL) - some triangles squares done (see below)!
    12. Pantone color of the year - it's "Greenery"... need to design my traditional mini
    The EverythingElse List:
    1. Splendid Sampler - no progress
    2. Charity Quilts for DC General Homeless Shelter project - no progress
    3. Summer Solstice QAL - no progress
      1. Mirror Mirror Afghan - no progress
      2. Jane T - no progress
      3. the 31000 Xs project - no progress
      4. Spirit cross stitch project - no progress
      5. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
      6. As You Wish -  no progress
      7. Crazy optical illusion - no progress
      8. Memory quilt 2 - no progress
      9. Gyleen's BCP Mystery QAL - no progress
      --
      I am hosting a new QAL for 2017.

      I will host it on my other website (as here I share weekly personal updates and I don't want things to get confusing if people want to just follow the event and not my personal struggles and successes :) )


      If you are intrigued, read more at http://alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com/

      I hope many of you will join... it will be a fun growing experience, there will be prizes, linky and much more!!

      --
      My progress on clue 2 of En Provence... always one clue behind and a gazillion of pieces counts behind... but I was just planning to follow along, not to make the full quilt right away.


      As you can see, my constant is not constant :) and my magenta is not magenta (but orange). I use what I have and this is what I have! 

      --

      How about you? What are YOU up to?
      Link it here and share it with me!!


      Wednesday, December 7, 2016

      Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and QAL announcement

      GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED
      Hello giveaway hoppers!
      If you are new here, welcome!!
      If you have been here before, I am glad that you came back!!! :)

      If you are new here you should know that I am obsessed with Paper Piecing and I offer FREE paper piecing patterns of very famous characters like Snoopy & Friends, Alice in Wonderland, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many many more!

      I know you are in a rush to enter a gazillion of giveaways so I will only steal a minute to tell you that... I am hosting a new QAL for 2017.

      I will host it on my other website (as here I share weekly personal updates and I don't want things to get confusing if people want to just follow the event and not my personal struggles and successes :) )


      If you are intrigued, read more and SIGN UP at alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com

      I hope many of you will join... it will be a fun growing experience, there will be prizes, linky and much more!!

      And now, let's get down to the giveaway business :)

      GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED
      MYHEX-639-HONEST 
      (BIG Hexagon-shaped precut), 
      some thread and a fantastic pattern!!

      Rules are simple:
      • leave a comment below answering a simple question:
        Which sewing technique is the most challenging for you?
        For me, I think needle turn applique... it's just too much work on all those tiny pieces and it is very slow! :)
      • you have two extra entries (optional)
        1. follow this blog through  Blogger (GFC) or Bloglovin and add a comment below to tell me how you follow! (new followers are welcome! and if you are already following, just let me know how!!)
        2. sign up for the 2017 QAL at alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com and add a comment below to tell me that you signed up!
      Important notes:
      • the giveaway will close on December 11th at (11:59 p.m. EST), and the winner will be contacted by email on Monday, Dec 12th.
        If I don't hear back by Tue (5 pm EST), I will pick another winner.
      • this giveaway is open to anyone (US and non-US)
      • comments are going to be moderated, so they will not be published immediately.
        But in 24h I promise that I will approve all the comments that are not spam :)
      • if you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email in the comment because I will NOT publish comments by no-reply bloggers without the email (I need a way to contact you if you win). If you are worried about spam, just type your email like "tweloq [at] gmail [dot] com" or similar :)
      • !!! IMPORTANT !!! There are currently 67 comments from no-reply bloggers. I didn't publish them below and I won't add them in the drawing (even if I appreciate the comment, I need a way to contact you if you win). So if suspect you can be in that situation, just include your email in the comment!! I cannot hunt your email through fancy links, websites, etc. I am NOT making YOU jump through hoops to get the prize, so do NOT make ME jump through hoops to get your email address
        Seriously: it takes 5 minutes to check if you are a no-reply blogger!! There are tons of tutorial that shows you how to check and how to stop this terrible thing that is preventing you to get new friends, replies to your comments and prizes!!! A simple step-by-step tutorial can be found HERE: http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/02/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html. It has pictures and detailed instructions...
      GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

      Monday, December 5, 2016

      QAL for 2017

      I am hosting a new QAL for 2017.

      I will host it on my other website (as here I share weekly personal updates and I don't want things to get confusing if people want to just follow the event and not my personal struggles and successes :) )


      If you are intrigued, read more at http://alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com/

      I hope many of you will join... it will be a fun growing experience, there will be prizes, linky and much more!!


      Saturday, December 3, 2016

      Planning and sewing on (and a link party)

      Getting things done feels good!


      The Ongoing Project List:
      1. Hello Block Swap - paused until 2017
      2. 70273 Project - 5 new blocks (see below)
      3. The SK project - no progress
      4. Secret event (January 2017) - no progress
      5. Secret event (February 2017) - no progress
      6. Secret event (August 2017) - no progress
      7. Secret event (Jan-Nov 2017)  - E.T.A. ANNOUNCED (added below)!!!
      8. Xmas decorations - no progress
      9. Bullet Journaling into my Quilter's Planner - working on this every day! 
      10. Xmas stockings - 4 done (see below)
      11. En Provence (Bonnie Hunter's mystery QAL) - some four patched done (see below)!
      The EverythingElse List:
      1. Splendid Sampler - no progress
      2. Charity Quilts for DC General Homeless Shelter project - no progress
      3. Summer Solstice QAL - no progress
        1. Mirror Mirror Afghan - no progress
        2. Jane T - no progress
        3. the 31000 Xs project - no progress
        4. Spirit cross stitch project - no progress
        5. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
        6. As You Wish -  no progress
        7. Crazy optical illusion - no progress
        8. Memory quilt 2 - no progress
        9. Gyleen's BCP Mystery QAL - no progress
        --
        Working on Xmas presents,  these were supposed to be my last thing to do... except that I miscounted and I need 5 of them, not 4 :) oh well, I will make the last one this weekend!

        I then used a fabric marker (from a past quilty box) to write the name of the recipient on the top of the stocking, which is made with a piece of fleece (from another quilty box) :) 


        --
        Other small Xmas presents are these troll dolls :)


        They are for small kids so I don't think they would care if they look a little weird with the painted faces instead of embroidery :) plus I was in a hurry so I think they are the best I could do given the time constrains ;)

        --
        I received this great block from Rachel for November Hello Block Swap


        PLEASE PLEASE, join the swap for 2017! It is really easy and fun!!
        --
        I am hosting a new QAL for 2017.

        I will host it on my other website (as here I share weekly personal updates and I don't want things to get confusing if people want to just follow the event and not my personal struggles and successes :) )


        If you are intrigued, read more at http://alidatweloqdesigns.blogspot.com/

        I hope many of you will join... it will be a fun growing experience, there will be prizes, linky and much more!!

        --
        My progress on clue 1 of En Provence...
        Last week I cut a gazillion (or so I thought) of neutral scrappy squares for my En Provence quilt... yesterday I put them together and apparently I only have 20 four patches!! Oh, well... I think I may start using some strips to speed up the process! 
        In the picture, you can also see my project tracker in my Quilter's Planner :)

        If you are interested in seeing what I did in November in the planner, check out my review in this post!!

        --

        More blocks for the 70273 project.


        --
        How about you? What are YOU up to?
        Link it here and share it with me!!


        Thursday, December 1, 2016

        Bullet Journal - November review (Quilter's Planner)

        My Bullet Journaling experience is getting better and better!!
        Grab a cold or hot beverage... this is a looooong post!! :) :) :)

        For disclaimers about how I personally use the Bullet Journal system, please refer to these previous posts: October review, September review.

        One additional disclaimer is that this month has a loooooot of new content and this is pretty unusual: it's a new month, it's a brand new journal, it's a time of the year with extra activities, special days, etc.
        So don't get intimidated or discouraged if you think you wouldn't be able to do something so big. Read to the end and you will see that despite the high number of pages, I got more done than than ever before!!


        At the end of October I received the Quilter's Planner (on the left) so I decided to end my previous journey in the small notebook and I honored that step with a final doodle on the previous notebook (on the right).

        Few comments on the Quilter's Planner, and the way it was working (and not working) for me.
        1. it is big!! I thought that was a problem since I was used to plan on pages half the size. However I then realized that I can fit twice the number of trackers, doodles, speads on the same page, which has an added bonus of encouraging to complete more things since they are all right in front of me!
        2. it is "heavy". I use this planner at home, so that is not too big of a deal, but I realized it is heavy because it contains a great amount of high quality paper and high quality dividers... however I don't use the dividers (see later for details) so I took the planner apart :)
        3. it has a spiral ring, which makes it "stable" but unchangable (meaning you cannot customize the content)... I changed that, see below
        4. it has a plastic beautiful designed hard cover. I thought I wouldn't like the plastic feel (we all love soft fabric after all), however after using it for a full month, I appreciate how good and clean the plastic looks, even after heavy use!! :)
        Ok... now let me show you some of my pages and shares some of the lessons I learned!!
        Click each picture to see all the details.

        -- DECONSTRUCTED PLANNER --

        As mentioned before, I don't like planners that are static... so I took the planner apart and did the following changes (you can see them in pictures below)
        • I took off the plastic ring spiral, and replaced it with few 1'' Loose Leaf Binder Rings. I distributed them along the side of the page so they will keep the pages together in a stable manner but they will allow me to quickly open them up and move/add/remove pages. This system makes the entire planner a little more wobbly (because the rings are free to move) but not too much, so the advantage of being able to open the rings at any point in the planner really beats the disadvantage of being a little more unstable
        • I took off most of the dividers (I will create a pattern book with them, will share next month) and added just two (Mickey Mouse themed) bookmarks: one on the page of the main tracker, one on the page of the current week. They are small, light, easy to access (as they have different widths) and they can be moved as the time progresses. The second bookmark has an extra function too... but you will have to read more below to see it :).
          I also added two ribbons (from fat quarter bundles) to have even more ways to reach pages without adding bulk or weight. One says "Free Spirit" which seems to be appropriate for my way of approaching life :)
        • I have been playing around with different paper weights: I tried cartboard kind of pages (fine, but too thick), I tried some normal printer paper (too thin) and finally I bought Premium Laser Paper (32 lb) and this is fantastic: nice color, same weight as the other planner's pages, great for all my doodles and colors. The added bonus it that now I am printing my own graph papers, with all kind of motifs (more next month)
        And now that you know how I deconstructed the planner, let's get down to the actual content

        -- INDEX--
        First page is always the index. I number my pages only on the right so I will have multiple spreads and trackers on the same 2 pages (see below). It makes sense to me as the index is just for general reference, it doesn't have to be super precise!
        Because this planner has big pages, I also have empty pages (marked in pencil in my index) and I love that as sometimes I just need to write down a quote or a doodle, and I can just include them within my pages wherever there is space!


        -- DAILY CHALLENGES--

        It is fun to participate in daily challenges because they are community efforts that keep you engaged and inspired. There are a billion of these in the bullet journal community, and in previous months I did ZenArtChallenge and RockYourHandwriting. Both have daily prompts to guide you on what to draw/write on. While I enjoyed both, I didn't really feel enthusiastic enough, so I dropped them.

        However I am enthusiastic about quilting! So this month I turned this challenge into a "DoodleAQuiltingDesign" kind of thing instead!


        Each day I took a design from Leah Day's Quilting Design Gallery. I love how this turned out because now I have two pages that I can reference to when I don't know which quilting design to use in my project; they are all there on a single page so I don't have to hunt them down on the web, but if I need extra guidance I know where to find it; I was also able to understand which one are more challenging for me and which one are faster. Doing this every day helps to build muscle memory too. As a fun added bonus I doodle around the empty spaces, to make it a themed spread... because it's November and it's the month before Xmas :) :)

        -- MAIL TRACKER --
        The mailing tracker is good to track if people receive what you send and if you receive what you are supposed to. In this new journal I decided not to divide into months, but just keep writing until the page is full. I also added a little cardboard envelope to hold the receipts from the post office so that if I need a tracking number I know where to find it.


        Having a spread to track what I receive/order makes me also very mindful about my spending. Even if I don't track finances, I can see if I am ordering too many things. I tried to make a little fabric tab too. While it is cute, I don't think it's practical for me, so that won't be used in the future! :)

        -- DEAR SANTA, and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS --


        Here are some fun pages!!

        From the right to the left

        • Through the looking glass is my handwriting practice spread.
          In previous months RockYourHandwriting was an interesting daily challenge to help improve my handwriting. I like my handwriting and I don't think it needs much improvement :) HOWEVER... I read that people that are ambidextrous are more creative, and people with extreme creative minds (like Leonardo da Vinci) wrote mirrored (meaning all letters are flipped). So I wanted to practice these different types of handwriting!! :) :) :)
          I decided not to write personal things (because it requires too much thinking, and I just want to write), so when I heard that France O’Roark Dowell shared some Quilty stories on quiltfiction.com, I decided to copy paragraphs of those! Quilty stories in the Quilter's Planner, it seemed right!! So (from the right to the left) you can see two pages of my daily writing with my non-dominant hand and mirrored style: oh it's ugly, shaky and hard!! But by the end of the month it really improved and I am now able to write quite fast without thinking too much about each letter! Plus Persimmon Moon is quite a nice story, just pop over to the website and get a copy for yourself!!!
        • Dear Santa is the page that helped me tracking the Xmas presents.
          I split the receipient between the ones that are at home (the stockings), the ones that will only receive a card (with handmade decoration, they are listed in the big bag) and the ones that will receive a package. The number of packages is exactly the number of boxes I will need to send out, and each box may have more than one receipient (names are listed in the ribbons in each corner). Each present is listed with three checkboxes, that will be marked as the things get done: one checkbox = present ready, two = present wrapped, three = present in the box and ready to go. The sack with the cards has two lists: the cards that will go in the mailed boxes, and the cards that will go out by themseves. Finally two sections list past presents and gifts that I bought but don't have a recipient.
          While the spread looks kind of chaotic, it really makes sense to me and it is the reason why 95% of the presents are all ready already!! :)

        -- MONTH TRACKER and DOODLE AN ARTIST --

        The November tracker is sparse in some rows, and pretty full in others... I used the triangle design to match the planner cover, and I really love it... some things didn't get done, not even a single time!! Oh well... this is why the Bullet Journal system is great: it helps me reflect on things: one empty row is about reading the "How to think like Da Vinci" book... I have been too busy this month to stop and read that, but I want to finish it eventually so I will just keep the row in the next month tracker.
        Exercise is another row that didn't get a single mark: here I want to get better, but I don't want to stress too much about it, so I changed the row into "Cook and Sweat" for next month, so that I can alternate my "weekly specials" cooking habit and exercise throughout the week and get the exercise done at least few times a week. Let's see how this is going to work! Sometimes all we need is a little mindset change, but it is hard to find what works!! :)


        The "doodle an artist" sections are the ones that I most proud of!! I love the idea and I was looking forward every day to either draw something or find something to draw for the next day. The idea is to pick an artist and then copy some elements from some of her/his pieces (Steal like an Artist). The act of researching their life, reading the story of a painting, trying to extract simple elements that I can sketch just with a pen is very very valuable for me. Considering that I have NO art background, NO art education, I think I copied the different pieces quite well! And it's unbelievable how much the daily practice improved in just a month! It also improved my confidence (in drawing and life) and opened my mind to a world of possibilities.
        This month I picked the work of Keith Haring, who has a very interesting style: not really my cup of tea, but I like to push myself outside my comfort zone. I also doodle things by Tula Pink and by Disney artists, but I included those in other pages (see below). For me it is very important to learn to draw by copying what others are doing and finding my own style!!


        I also have a page where I list things that I think I could do montly/weekly and then in the main tracker I just refer to weekly todo or monthly todo. This creates an additional page where I can write other things that are relevant for the month (like Songs! or other notes). As mentioned before, I like having empty spaces as I can come back later and play around with them!!

        --WEEKLY SPREAD--

        I love how I designed this page.
        It's simple, it's cute (at least the latest ones are becoming cuter), it's functional.
        At the beginning of each week, I list few things in the "Quilting and Crafting" section or "Home and Personal" section. I put them in approximate days, but I don't stress about it, because I have the view of the full week, so if I feel that I want to do something on Mon that is listed on Fri (or viceversa) it's all good!!


        In my weekly spread you can see that I included 2 "weekly specials" which are two simple recipes that I want to try! 
        I am not a cooking kind of person... or cleaning kind of person :)
        I don't like cooking (or cleaning) because these are things that require time and love and once they are done they don't last!! :) :) the planner solved the problem in my mind... the planner keeps a permanent reference that the cooking/cleaning happened and that encourages me to do more cooking/cleaning. It is weird, I know, but it works, so who cares!!! :) :)

        You can also see my second bookmark: I build it with top/bottom "tabs" that hold my shopping list! In this way I know where it is and I can add things as time goes by.

        -- FITNESS MANDALA --


        I have been trying to find interesting ways to track my fitness activities (steps for example) and I thought that making a mandala would be visually interesting! :)
        I created circles that represent a certain distance (5000 steps, 10000, 20000) and then in each slice (representing the days) I designed a motif that, repeated 30 times, would create a nice mandala. Of course the incentive is that if I reach 10000 each day the mandala would be nice and full... if not I will see missing chunks!
        This again is a way to help me reflect on myself (not to feel bad about the missing chunks): for example I realized that during the week it's easy for me to reach my 10000 steps goals, but in the weekends or holidays I prefer to stay home. For my wellness, I could just integrate some indoor exercise to compesate for the steps, and this is my plan for next month, but I wouldn't have realized this if I didn't visually see what my patterns are.

        On the left page, you can see my test with washi tape and fabric sticked to the page with double side 0.5'' tape. This works just great and I will use this technique in my quilting pages for swatches!!

        -- SPECIAL EVENTS --


        My Thanksgiving cooking planning (and review) on the right page!
        It really helps writing down everything on a single page, as I made sure that nothing was missing!! :) and again I have a record of what worked and what didn't in terms of dishes, so it's good for future planning.

        On the left the planning for my 2017 QAL. This has not been announced yet (will be announced on Monday) so don't read too closely ;)
        I included it just to show that it is cool sometimes to add some fancy scrapbooking cards and material! I used that card to create more space as I didn't want to add an extra page but I wanted to write few more things on the back of the card! :)

        -- YEAR LONG PROJECTS --

        We all have those giant year long projects that take forever to complete!
        For me the problem is that after the initial enthusiasm they fall on the back of my mind and then I forget about them.
        Having them written (drawn) out on a page, helps me understand where I should focus my attention.


        So in these two pages I included:

        1. The Splendid Sampler tracking, which includes two trackers: the center pyramid just counts how many blocks I made until now, and the numbers on the two corners show which blocks I actually made (since I don't follow the progressive order). Since I made the tracker at the beginning of the month, I added about 10 blocks, so it was a great incentive!!
        2. The 70273 project: I track how many blocks I send out. It is just a little project for me, so I used a small column, but again, since I made the tracker, I added 12 blocks to the group!
        3. I have 3 empty sections to track (over the course of 2017) charity quilts and "black box projects" which are my UFO (stored in a black box :) ).
        4. The Stephen King project is a giant project I started several years ago, where I want to create two blocks for 50 books by SK: one block is the opening line (embroidery) and the other block is the book cover (pp or applique). So the bookcase I drew has 100 books and I colored in the blocks I made. I can immediately see that I miss just abot 10 opening lines, but I am waaaaay behind with the book covers :)
          After I made the tracker, again I added about 12 new blocks.
        To me, the power of these trackers is in the fact that they are all together and they are visually very clear: I can see where I am behind and I am encouraged to complete more on these projects because I want to color my trackers!!!


        The same logic applies to my "Rubity, Scrubity, Sweepity" :) while I would like to be like Merlin, I have to admit that I am not great in cleaning, tidying, sorting, etc. This is why I designed a fun tracker to just list when I do main things around the house (or on myself): things like cleaning the windows, sorting closets, cabinets, dyeing my hair, doctor appointments, cell phone refills, wash the car etc.
        Things that don't really make me happy, but I need to do them because I am an adult :( :( at least I can write them down in a fun and cute tracker with some fun Disney helpers so I don't need to be a super serious and boring adult :) :)


        I am so proud of the drawing around this page!! I sketched all the shapes with pencil but I didn't include any detail. All the details were added with the pen so if a line was wrong I had to live with that!! There are some mistakes and things that I would change, but it helps me get more confident with my pen sketching so I will keep using this approach!!

        --
        Two final notes:
        1. you may wonder: is it really possible to spend so much time and effort decorating a planner and still have time to actually do all the things you planned? The answer is in my boyfriend words... he kept asking me "how come all of a sudden you became Marta Stewart with all this cooking, cleaning and organizing?" and he doesn't even see that I am still keeping up with all my quilting projects, I finished the xmas presents and I am also all caught up on all my tv series!! :) :) :) So the point is: either this planner creates extra time in the day... OR... the fact that I am dedicating so much time and effort in writing down the plans, make me very very efficient, intentional and mindful when I am actually doing the different tasks, so they take less time and I can do more, without too much stress!! so my answer to his question was "it's the planner!!! :) :)"
        2. given that I am covering up and redesign every page, why don't I just use a blank journal instead of the Quilter's Planner? Well... even if I don't use the original layout, I still take inspiration from all the extra information they included (blocks every week, quilting designs, tips, patterns, etc.) so I think it's worth using a themed planner rather than a blank journal. Plus I just used it for a month, so I didn't really have the time to look into all the planning pages that I may use in the future. Finally I really like projects that get the community together, so I wanted to give my support to the authors by buying their product and I want to interact with others that are using this great planner!!
        If you have any comment or question, please write below! I will be happy to share my thoughts!!!


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