December happenings

December Chaos

I apologize for being a little absent from blogging lately.  This December is the first time I’ve completely missed a Sew Thankful Sunday blog post!  I’ve been busy emptying five bedrooms of everything (and I mean every-thing) in preparation for our remodel.  Besides sifting through memorabilia of four children, my sewing room has been the most challenging.  I can’t believe how much “stuff” I’ve accumulated over 20 years!  I’ve been running into all kinds of long forgotten treasures, and purging lots of fabric and notions.  It’s kind of scary, but liberating at the same time.

Deconstruction of a sewing room @ The Crafty Quilter

I discovered a cabinet full of kits and UFO’s and another drawer of unfinished BOM’s from years ago.  Some of these I had no interest in finishing so they got passed along to others that might.  I think that 2019 might be the year of completing my UFO’s (or at least making a dent).  I did this same thing in 2016 with my Hello 2016, Goodbye UFO’s challenge.  Anyone interested in doing this again?  Let me know – based on your response, I’ll choose a format and we can have fun together as we tackle our unfinished projects.

I have set up a temporary sewing space in my kitchen/office area.  It’s actually quite convenient since I do my blogging and home office stuff there.  Now, all I have to do is swivel my chair around and I can sew!
Once we’re finished with renovations, I’ll have a new sewing room that is slightly larger than the old one and with built-in cabinets along one wall.  I’m going to be very wary about what goes in there from now on.  I don’t want it to become cluttered and disorganized again (I’m being optimistic).  Mr. Crafty Quilter couldn’t believe what came out of that room (and other places) and how much is still sitting in a storage container waiting for the new space.  The purging will continue as I go through my bins of fabric and whittle them down some more.

Holiday Plans
We’ll be spending a few days during the holidays in a cabin with 3 of our 4 children.  We won’t see our granddaughters for Christmas, but we had them for Thanksgiving.  They were so much fun and wore us out completely!  Amelia is three and full of giggles and energy.  She has that creative spark and loves to draw and paint.

Clara is 8 months old and she’s fearless.  She is crawling and climbing up on everything.  The sound of a baby’s laughter is one of the best things ever – and Clara loves to laugh.  She is pure joy (and also gives great hugs).

December finish
I’ve been working on an embroidery project that I did manage to finish in December.  It’s already been gifted to my oldest daughter, so I can finally share photos with you.  This “Home” embroidery design came as a complete kit from Lolli & Grace.  It had everything I needed to complete the project:  pre-printed panel, embroidery hoop, embroidery floss, needle, felt for hoop backing, and great instructions.  Since I’m kind of new at embroidery, I was so surprised when my final project even resembled the picture in the pattern!
HOME embroidery project made by Julie Cefalu; designed by Lollie & Grace
If you want a quick project for the holidays, my daughter, Kelly, made these adorable hoop ornaments from recycled clothing.  She used old flannel shirts and her own design to come up with personalized ornaments for her siblings.

Upcoming plans

Once my routine starts to normalize, I’ll be spending lots of time quilting and blogging again.  I’m reviewing a new template for Drunkard’s path blocks (I love it so far), and I’ll be finishing up a new pattern that is layer cake friendly and super cute (of course).  I plan on continuing to bring you new (free) tutorials each season – that’s four per year, and Sew Thankful Sunday will be back on the first Sunday of each month.  I always love sharing the latest quilty news with you as well as my favorite tips and techniques.  And hopefully we’ll tackle some UFO’s together!

Thanks for your patience as I transition into a different routine and space.  I hope your holidays are full of wonder and joy so far!

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  1. It’s nice that you have a temporary space until your sewing room is remodeled. You’ve got a nice setup! Good luck in finishing your UFO’s. I’m curious about the table your sewing machine is on. I like the fold down leaf. Can you tell me more about it?

  2. Hi Julie,
    Good job sorting through stuff! I made a dent in my UFO’s this year but have lots more to do so am interested in joining a group if you start one.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Encourage your followers to donate UFO’s to their local quilt shops. There might be someone who would appreciate finishing something that they did not pay for and then donate to a local charity. Very liberating!!!

  4. Good luck with your renovation. I know you have it well planned out and organized! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

  5. Ufo’s! I did not realize how many I had. Was looking for something in the sewing room and I kept pulling them out. I had thought about coming up with a way to finish them but a team effort would work well for me. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  6. Count me in for tackling UFOs (why is it that starting projects is so much more fun than finishing them??). Merry Christmas!

  7. I need a UFO finishing commitment, so I’ll also join in whatever you do. Merry Christmas and thank you for all of the great ideas and tutorials.

  8. Merry Christmas from Colorado. I Enjoy your blog. I made your Summer surprise quilt and it turned out great. I looked forward to doing something new each week.

  9. You are amazing! When you clean out a room down to the studs that’s serious! And one of 4 this time of year…unbelievable!
    Best wishes for a lovely Christmas with your children.

  10. Very exciting to be remodeling your sewing/craft room! Thanks so much for always sharing your photos, your granddaughters are darling and I can tell you enjoy them to the max! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  11. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are blessed with such a beautiful family. Family, food, flowers, and of course quilts are all ingredients in a life well lived. I’d say you are living an amazing life.
    I loved the earlier shared idea of focus and finish in 2019. I am in. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

  12. I feel your pain! We just did a remodel on 2 rooms and I’m still not over it. I bought a Q20 which forced me to purge after 25 years of quilting. I’m still not done. My motto for 2019 is Focus and Finish, so I’d love to join in a UFO Challenge! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

  13. I started a HUGE clean out of my sewing room yesterday. What prompted it is I casually ‘hid’ some Christmas sloth fabric I was planning to sew into a stocking for my daughter. (She visited us over Thanksgiving) Still haven’t located it. Well, now I have a pristine length of counter – but I can’t see my ironing board, cutting table and large swaths of floor. HELP!
    And yes, I would love a finish up year for UFOs.

  14. Oh yes, I’m up for joining in the UFO challenge. Thank you for all that you share with us, your skills and your gorgeous family. I wish you peace, joy, health and happiness over the holidays and throughout the New Year.

  15. Hi Julie, thank U very much for all your videos and endless sewing tips during the year, they have been so useful.
    All the best with your renos. I know what it is to declutter a room, specially when U have been 20 years in a place.
    God Bless your little angels, they are adorable.
    wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of new projects to share.

  16. I’m not getting a new space but I’m cleaning and organizing my sewing space too. Guess what I found? My closet floor! LOL I was purchasing, bringing it home and on the floor it would go. We went through a kitchen remodel this summer and I got rid of a lot of stuff I wasn’t using. I want to do this to the whole house eventually. My sisters and myself moved our mother into an assisted living facility a couple years ago and going through everything she had was not fun. I do not want to put my children through that.

    It will be exciting to see what your new space looks like. I throughly enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  17. Hi Julie – I’m up for a UFO challenge. I have a few projects I haven’t started yet so would be interested in a format that included those pesky critters.

  18. Still tackling my UFO list and have been infected with new projects again in the last while! So, I hope to tackle UFO’s in 2019 again! Love your pictures and happy renovating!!!

  19. Such beautiful babies! God Bless them and their lovely Grandma who always thinks of others. Merry Christmas Julie!

  20. Continuing to work on UFOs in 2019 is definitely on my to-do list! I’ll be happy to have encouragement and follow along with you. I hope your remodel goes well. I know how living in that mess goes, but oh the great reward! We have remodeled our basement into a family room, remodeled the entrance way, half bath, and kitchen on the main floor. Remodeled the master bath, and next I’d like to tackle the ‘kids’ bathroom. Eldest son is getting married Jan19, and I’d love to have a nice bathroom for our out-of-town guests who will be staying with us. … Don’t think it will happen tho. Best of luck with your remodel and 2019 UfO busting!

  21. Julie,
    Thanks for sharing your family events as well as tutorials & patterns. I am also in the process of purging & downsizing after being in this house over 50 yrs. it is overwhelming! Appreciate all you have taught me too.
    Have a wonderful Christmas & Happy New Year & reorganizing! Love, Lucy

  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours Julie
    We here in Queensland Australia will be having a rather warm one buts that okay
    Christmas wherever you happen to be is always wonderful
    Gayle Z

  23. Good luck with the remodel! How wonderful to have a new expanded sewing room. Thanks for all the sharing you do. Merry Christmas!

  24. Hi Julie, Your granddaughters are absolutely precious!
    I’ve done a major purge and at first I felt awful about not using every single thing I ever bought but as I went along it was such a liberating experience! I honestly don’t miss one thing I got rid of. Our tastes and styles change. I gave a lot of stuff away so now I know I enjoyed it at the time and maybe someone else will be able to use it.
    I’d love to join your UFO challenge next year! Count me in.
    I also want to use my stash next year. I still have way too much and no daughters who sew. One DIL does though.
    One problem I continue to have is what to do with really old things I made when I first started quilting. I love the memories but now don’t really like what I made haha!
    Good luck with your remodel!

  25. Hello Julie, I have began to work on a UFO to do list for the new year. But, I would love to join in on all the fun of doing it together with other quilters. I adore your embroidery project! You have done a magnificent job. Lately, hand embroidery projects have been my main activity it is relaxing and in the end creates beautiful projects. I do hope that things become less chaos as the new year comes closer, I know that organizing and remodeling has a lot of fun and stress involved. Thank you for sharing all of your lovely family and everything that you do share! Have a marvelous day!

  26. Love the blog. We are moving to a house we’re building. I’m combing two bedrooms into a studio and ready to faint at the prospect of moving all my stuff. I need to give a ton of kit purchases too. But kinda exciting at being able to get a new control on it. I am needing to complete projects. Sign me up.

  27. I love the idea of getting support for finishing my UFO’s! A couple of months ago I totally cleaned out my quilt room, so I know I really need help controlling my UFO’s.

  28. Dear Julie,
    You could put a resume in to work for Santa with all your many talents! Looks like a girl or two in the family are following in your footsteps. What special treasures are hugs, no matter what age. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May we see our UFOs come to be lessened in 2019.

  29. Your embroidery is beautiful! Your Grandchildren are also beautiful. I’m envious of your new sewing space. I’ve downsized to a very small space and can’t find stuff when I need it! I’ve been working on 12 Days of Christmas embroideries by Larissa Holland. I’ve had them for 2 or 3 years and finally made about 8 of them. They’re turning out well and it’s so fun! I have to keep them since I don’t have any friends or family who understand the time and effort that went into them. I guess I’m a lone crafter! I don’t have room for a tree, so I’m going to make a wreath to display them on.
    I’ve been missing your posts. Have a wonderful holiday,
    Barb in CA

  30. It is a hard task but you’ll be grateful when it is all remodeled. We downsized to an apartment and I got rid of a lot of stufff. I am still doing it and this year the UFO busting is it. There are a few projects that will take longer – 3 hand piecing – and it’s a good feeling. You will feel the same way when you are done.

  31. I had to chuckle about your cleaning and hubby’s comments. Mine came in while I was working on a machine embroidery project and he said ‘wow, where did all that thread come from’. The project are so nice.
    Yes, UFOs are in my future too.
    Have a wonderful time with the family and a happy and healthy New Year.

  32. Wow, emptying five bedrooms for a remodel sounds like some walls are coming down especially if it means you’re getting a larger studio space. Have a Merry Christmas. I really enjoy the Sew Thankful Sundays so I’m glad you’ll be resuming next year.

  33. Every year I think about finishing my UFOs. Instead, I buy more fabric, threads and patterns. This is the year!! Count me in!

  34. I’m down for a UFO-busting effort next year! After moving cross-country, then moving all my sewing stuff from one room to another in the new house, I’ve discovered an embarrassing number of projects to be finished. Count me in!

  35. Have a very Merry Christmas and thanks for blogging about the We Care Camp Fire effort. The quilts and pillowcases are coming in from all over the U.S. and we think part of that is due to you. We have 900! Only 3300 more to go. I’d love a UFO push. I did get a few done this year but there are many waiting in queue.

  36. I love your temporary set up and can’t wait to see the new and improved sewing room. What a nice little creative spot for your granddaughter. Love the embroidery and I wouldn’t even think you were new to embroidery. I can’t stand my back stitching & I’ve been embroidering for ages. I always substitute stem stitch-I just don’t try back stitch anymore, I know I won’t like how mine looks. Have a Merry Christmas.

  37. I dealt with most of my UFOs last year, but still have a couple hanging around that need a new home. I’ve lost interest in them & just don’t feel like finishing them. But, first I have to get over the guilty feelings of letting them go. 2019 for me, is going to be a year of tackling some of those quilt kits I purchased in the past (because I just had to have them) and never did anything with them.

    1. Donate your UFO’s to a local quilt shop. There might be someone who will finish them and donate to a local charity. It will make you feel SEW good!

  38. You are so talented. Your embroidery is lovely. Thank you so much for your “So Thankful Sundays” and your tutorials. Merry Christmas!

  39. I’m already committed to dealing with UFOs next year, so i’m All in for whatever you come up with.

    I’m also looking to just get rid of stuff – kits, patterns, fabrics that I just will never do. How to decide, how to let go of it, who to aim it at – all good questions.

    IMG_1619.JPG – and photo may or may not show up, but my sister just sent me a photo of (I think) your persimmons I sent her with a one word comment – delicious.

  40. I love the idea of finishing up ufo’s. I’m with you. Very interested in what you come up with. Have a great day! & Merry Christmas

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