“Leave it all on the field.”

“Phew,” another December has come to an end. The fourth quarter of 2016 seems to have gone by with the blink of an eye. One of the secretaries at church commented that she suffers from “deadline fatigue.” I immediately identified with her condition. Beginning in September, the series of events with deadlines begins with no relief until four months later at the end of December.

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As I settled in on Christmas day at my parents house to enjoy the last of the  Christmas celebrations, the feeling that I had just participated in a very tough competition swept over me. My thoughts were filled with the old adage, “Leave it all on the field.”

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December is always the month that demands the most effort. For the entire month I feel like I am in the last 5 minutes of a tie championship ball game, the title on the line. Such a situation requires quick strategic thinking along with every ounce of physical strength, control, and stamina. Finally, on Christmas Day the buzzer goes off, the game  is complete, evaluating the outcome and your efforts is all that remains.

Among the daily chores, church commitments, and client projects, I was able to stitch up a few of my annual Christmas gifts. For the past 25 years, beginning with my first niece being born, I have sewn pajamas for all my girl nieces. When my sons were born, I included them in the pajama gift. This year the younger two nieces got hand made, velour fleece pajama bottoms with purchased fleece tops(the price of the tops was just too cheap to justify sewing them).

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The two older nieces have now become young women and I had a harder time deciding on their pajama project. So, I decided that this year’s project would be their pajama finale;(bringing tears to my eyes) with that in mind, silk robes were chosen.

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Both the robes and the pajama pants were sewn using McCall’s 6659 pattern. I added the top stitching detail on the robe fronts.

McCalls 6659

The other projects that have been annual sewing projects for the past few years are table runners for my Mom and my Mother-In-Law. Each year I have tried to choose something that can be used at different times of the year so that they are able to change their table decor seasonally. This year my Mom’s project got put on hold because a group gift idea took precedent. Pictures of her table runner will come in the future. For my Mother-In-Law I made a trip on small business Saturday to a local quilt shop that I had never visited. It was there that I found the pattern and fabrics for her gift.

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Blooming Sunset Table Runner

Quilt projects are always stirring around in my head, but never make it to reality, so it is fun to practice my piecing skills on these small table top projects. One piece of advice the girls at the quilt shop gave for this project was to starch all the pieces before using the 30 Degree Triangle Ruler. The fabric is pieced together to form long strips of color variations and then the ruler is strategically placed on the strips, cut, and then sewn together to form each block. By starching your fabric color strips before using the ruler, the fabric becomes more like paper and the bias stretching that can happen when cutting fabric on the diagonal of the weave is kept to a minimum so that your fabric corners match when piecing the template triangles back together. I will definitely use that technique again in the future. Starching made the triangles very crisp, precise, and easy to work.

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Joyful January has arrived! I know many people dread the long dark winter months and, yes, I don’t love the short dark days, but the recovery from “deadline fatigue” is much needed and a few weeks of quiet hibernation is a physical AND mental must. Soon enough Spring will be here, the days are already getting longer, and new ideas, new events and new deadlines will be upon us. Let us all breathe in the slower pace of winter, soon enough we will be asked to “leave it all on the field” once again.

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