I Can’t Decide


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Decisions, Decisions

I’ve been participating in A Lovely Year of Finishes since January.  To date I have declared and finished the following projects:

Ever since completing my Miranda Day Bag I’ve been pondering what to choose for my June challenge.  My To Do List is filled with suitable options as is my stash of projects to quilt.  With so many choices it’s been extremely difficult to decide.  I find myself flip-flopping from one item to another.  Just when I think I have made up my mind I come across another idea and that sends me into a tailspin.  The problem is I want to finish everything on my list but that’s just not humanly possible.  Obviously I will have to narrow down my options.

Here are a few of the projects I have pondered:

If you scroll over each of the photos you can see what their names are.  Aside from those projects one of the other candidates is the June Block Lotto over at the Madison Modern Quilt Guild.

I’ve Chosen

After weighing my options the one that jumps out at me the most is my daughter’s Picnic Blanket.

My Daughter's Picnic Quilt
My Daughter’s Picnic Quilt

She designed and assembled it herself.  I believe it may have been way back in April that she delivered it to my home for quilting.  Since the picnic season is upon us I believe her Picnic Blanket is screaming the loudest.  To satisfy that small voice telling me to “get it done” I am electing the Picnic Blanket as my June project.

My Heart Is Racing!


They Arrived!

For those that are regular followers of my blog you know that I spent most of the past four months concentrating on the Hurricane Sandy Quilt project. Last week I excitedly announced the completion of the fourth and final quilt on my roster. According to tracking records quilt’s # 4 and # 3 arrived at their New Jersey destination last Thursday.

Time to Shift Focus

My main focus for four months has been those four quilts. Very little else was thought of, scheduled or even entertained until that major hurdle had been overcome. As soon as I walked out of our local UPS store I instantly, and I mean instantly set my mind in motion. So many of the projects on my To Do List were screaming for my attention. The hard part would be deciding which ones would take priority.

Tote Bags Galore

Now being an overly organized nut, one would think I have my To Do List all prioritized. I suppose in a way I might. On the other hand I must have some spontaneity. As much as I love using my long arm quilter my imagination was drawn in the direction of the many tote bags patiently awaiting their turn. Some of the patterns I have had for several years. One of them I helped my middle daughter make when she was here a year ago. I jealously watched as her bag grew closer and closer to completion. Oh how I wanted to make one for myself.

The Lucky Ones Chosen Are

The more I thought about my endless possibilities the more I just knew it was time to make something fun. On my present To Do List is the Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl Designs, The Encore Purse Insert  by Studio Kat Designs and the Messenger Bag presented by From the Blue Chair. Pictured below are the fabric selections I have chosen for my activities:

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Miranda Day Bag

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The Encore Purse Insert

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The Messenger Bag

Also making the top ten charts is my super secret project for the Stitched In Color challenge. I gave you a sneak peek of that last week.

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Shelburne Falls Contest

I almost have that tote completed.

Letting Off Steam

Well I think that’s enough excitement for one day. I believe I let out just enough steam to keep myself from exploding. I have to hurry up and get this post published so that I can get my eyes back on my newly selected projects.

I’m Linking Up

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced. Make sure you join the excitement brewing over there. Thanks so much for spending time with me. You are what makes this all worth while. Have a wonderful day!

Regards!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Hurricane Sandy Quilts


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It Is Finished!

My commitment with the Sandy Quilt Block project has finally come to an end.
This has been one very long road.  When I signed up to assemble and finish four quilts for the Hurricane Sandy Quilt Project I think I must have been a tad bit nuts.  Originally I agreed to stitch together 20 quilt blocks.  That seemed like an easily attainable task.  Then for some unknown reason I found myself registering to put together first two then four quilts.  What was I thinking??

I didn’t fully understand the impact of my commitment until I was well into the challenge.  Foolishly I had thought I could conquer the entire endeavor by the end of December.  Unfortunately December came and went and I still had not received all of the blocks.  As January rolled on I began to panic.  How in the world was I to finish these quilts if I didn’t receive the necessary shipments.  Out of desperation I enlisted the assistance of my leader at Quilting Gallery.  With her gentle prodding the last package finally arrived.

Now don’t think for one minute the project was a total drag.  I found great joy in the creation of the four quilts.  Watching them develop from a stack of donated quilt squares to a finished masterpiece was truly a pleasure.  The most laborious task was the pressing, trimming and refinement of the individual squares.  Because the quilt blocks were the foundation and focus of the quilt I made certain each and every one received as much attention as needed.

Once each block met with my approval the painting process began.  By mentioning the word painting you’ve probably filled your head with visions of paint cans and brushes.  I’m sorry if you feel misled.  Instead of painting perhaps I should have said design.  These quilt squares came from all over the United States and Canada.  The variety of origins as well as the smorgasbord of fabrics made each one unique.  No two were identical.  None of them arrived with a pre-assigned placement attached to their border.  Somehow each one had to be analyzed in order for it to be placed in its optimal location.  This is what I call the design phase and/or the painting process.

My living room floor became my canvas and the quilt squares were my paint.  One by one each square was removed from the stack designated for each quilt.  I found this process to be invigorating.  Carefully each one was moved about until a harmonious picture was achieved.

Once the placement process was complete I systematically stacked the blocks into rows then carefully relocated them from my living room floor to my sewing center.  There I stitched together the individual squares forming first the rows and then the rows into a quilt top.

Each seam was carefully pressed making sure they aligned just so.  Paying particular attention to this step helped to make the free-motion quilting more successful.  As the final details were accomplished the fruit of my labors was evidenced by the amazing display of color shining back at me.  I pondered how wonderful it would have been for the women that created the magnificent quilt blocks to be present to view the unveiling.

With the squares assembled into quilt tops two borders were added.  The first was a color chosen based upon the overall theme of the squares.  Black was always used for the second border.  Just as with the individual squares the black outermost border provided a unifying frame.

All four quilts were given unique fabrics for their backings.  Quilt # 1 was pieced together with fabrics from my own stash.  Quilt # 2 had a backing donated by one of the quilt block participants.  Quilts # 3 & # 4 also came from my inventory.  Both had backings fashioned from flannel.

Just as with the quilt squares and backings the quilting stitches used for all four were different.  Quilt # 1 had an all over loopy design.  Quilt # 2 was filled with the meandering pattern.  Quilt # 3 had three different patterns.  The outer most border was saturated with a meandering stitch.  The inner border was adorned with the pebble stitch and the body of the quilt was painted with a paisley stitch.  Last but not least Quilt # 4 had its own distinct stitching design.  The outside border of Quilt # 4 was filled with pebbles.  The inner border had a continuous row of swirls and the body was filled with a random swirl pattern.

Applying the quilting stitches to each quilt was my most favorite part.  I take great joy and pride in my work.  This segment was solely my responsibility.  At first I was not at all in a hurry to complete it.  The further I got though the harder it was to resist the urge to finish.  The desire to see the completed product grew stronger and stronger.  It’s like eating one of your favorite chocolates.  At first you dive in, take a bite, and savor each morsel.  Before long you realize it’s almost gone.  You hesitate as if to slow the progression.  Eventually that overpowering craving takes over and you give in to the urge.

When the final stitch was applied to Quilt # 4’s binding I was overcome with a bittersweet feeling.  The goal I had sought after since November had finally arrived.  I had pushed myself to achieve it as quickly as possible.  Each passing day meant one more day a recipient would wait for its arrival.  Often we think of the destination as the journey when in all reality the journey is the destination.  It’s the experiences along the way that add up to make the event.

This challenge has absorbed every ounce of energy I could muster.  At times I found myself close to exhaustion.  Being careful not to lose sight of the journey I kept reminding myself to enjoy every moment, don’t be in a hurry, absorb as much as possible and savor every minute.  Aside from the joy I received from accomplishing my task the participants blessed me with numerous cards and well wishes, along with gifts of fabric and even a donation of money.  These rewards were greatly appreciated.

Over the life of this project I took delivery of 148 quilt blocks.  From those squares I assembled four quilts with an average size of 96″ x 85″.  I consumed no less than eight yards of black fabric to create the outer borders and bindings.  I lost track of the number of bobbins I filled and the amount of thread I used.  Countless hours sewing, pressing, quilting and hand stitching were accumulated to produce, what I consider to be four glorious quilts.

All four quilts have been shipped to New Jersey.  Two of them were due to arrive on March 21, 2013.  What has happened to those quilts since leaving my arms I can only imagine.  A part of me went with each one.  My only hope is that the deserving recipients will take great joy in receiving them.  Those four quilts were destined to bring comfort and warmth.

As we part company I would like to share with you one last look at all four quilts.  I hope you have enjoyed following me on this adventure.  It’s been one that I won’t soon forget.

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Sandy Quilt # 4
Sandy Quilt # 4

 

I’m linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes.  Please take some time to visit Sew Bittersweet to share in the other participants success.

Sandy Quilt # 1 & # 2 Are On Their Way


Since November, 2012 I’ve been pouring my heart into the assembly and completion of two very special quilts.  These two quilts were destined for victims of Hurricane Sandy.  After spending so much time immersed in their presence I became quite attached.  Sooner or later I knew we would part company.

Yesterday Was that Day

Not wanting to delay their match up with a well deserved recipient I carefully packaged them for their journey to the distribution center in New Jersey.  Before sealing the shipping container I inserted a letter to each one of the future owners.  In my letter I shared with them the details of their quilt as well as my hope for better days.  With the letters safely tucked inside the plastic surrounding each quilt I closed the lid to the box then sealed it with tape.

One Last Journey

I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to share these two quilts with other fellow quilters.  On several occasions they traveled with me to my quilt guild meetings.  This trip however would be the last one they would make while under my care.

My hubby came with me to deliver them to our local shipper.  After parking our vehicle I retrieved the package containing the two special quilts.  I carried the box inside then placed it on the counter.  I shared with the attendant the address of their destination then paid for their transportation.  I was informed that the quilts would arrive in New Jersey on Thursday of this week.  So that I could follow along with their progress I obtained a tracking number.

Once they arrive they will processed then scheduled for delivery to their new owner.  How long that will take I do not know.  Hopefully it won’t be long before they are cradled in the arms of their new owner.

One Last Look

Before packaging up the quilts I took one last photo.  Here they are.

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I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Check out her website to catch up with the other participants.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

A Look Back at January


Before I completely say good-bye to January here were some of the highlights

A Lovely Year of Finishes

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Tick-Tock

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A Fabric Bundle

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Sandy Quilt # 2 Update

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The Composition Cover

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Heart and Home Quilt Update

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Take A Look at This

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and This

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Sandy Quilt # 2 Finished

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Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery

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Just imagine, that’s only the highlights!  January was an incredibly busy month.  One can only guess what February holds in store.  I look forward to unfolding its pages.  See you soon!

Sandy Quilt # 2 is Finished


Another One Is Finished

Since November of 2012 I have been focusing my attention on the Sandy Quilt Block project over at the Quilting Gallery.  Earlier this month I decided to enroll in the A Year of Lovely Finishes challenge.

My Button

I designated January as the month to finish up Sandy Quilt # 2.  I’m thrilled to report I did indeed successfully reach my goal.  Pictured below are a few of the photos I took of the quilt.

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You may find links to the history of this quilt here

These are its vital statistics:

  • The quilt has 6 rows of 7 blocks each for a total of 42 blocks
  • The quilt measures 85 1/2″ wide  x 97″ long
  • The origin of the blocks was Florida (4) , Massachusetts (6), Pennsylvania (2), Texas (10) and Wisconsin (20)
  • The quilt has two borders.  Border # 1 is brown and measures 3″ wide.  Border # 2 is black and measures 4″ wide.
  • The binding is black
  • The brand of batting is Warm & Natural
  • The backing was constructed from a beige and navy blue print fabric donated by one of the block contributors.
  • The quilt was quilted with an all-over meander stitch

On to Sandy Quilt # 3

Sandy Quilt # 3 is well underway.  I expect to wrap that quilt up in February.  I encourage you to stop by Freshly Pieced for their weekly WIP link-up and Sew BitterSweet Designs for the January Finishes in the 2013 A Lovely Year of Finishes.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sandy Quilt # 2 Update


Multitasking

Since I am a veteran of multitasking I see no problem in combining my WIP posts for Freshly Pieced with A Lovely Year of Finishes updates for SewBittersweet Designs.  Last week I made a commitment to participate in the A Lovely Year of Finishes.  Rather than share the details of the challenge in this post you may find them here
My Button

Update to First Month’s Project

My first designated entry in my self-imposed deadline is the Sandy Quilt # 2.  If you are not familiar with the Sandy Quilt program you can find details over here.  I’ve been making slow but steady progress on this wonderful quilt as noted here, here, here, here,  and here.  Since registering this quilt in the A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge I have finished applying the quilting and removed it from my Tin Lizzie long arm quilter.  Here are a few pictures of my progress.

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I’m very happy with the outcome so far.  By the end of this month I will have added the participant’s labels and applied the binding.  I can’t wait to share photos of the completed Sandy Quilt # 2.

That’s A Wrap

That’s it for this weeks WIP post and my second installment in my A Lovely Year of Finishes updates.  I hope your week was as productive as mine.  Now it’s your turn to share your progress.  I’m heading over to Freshly Pieced‘s Wednesday Work In Progress and Sew Bittersweet Design to see what you’ve been up to.  Let’s all share in the enthusiasm!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

To-Do-List


As mentioned in my post of January 3, 2013 one of my goals for this year was to establish and maintain a list of finished and unfinished projects.  Putting together such a list took quite a bit of research.  After rummaging through my stash of patterns, books and kits my scribbled notes were entered into an Excel Spreadsheet.  From that spreadsheet I put together this document.

Periodically throughout 2013 and beyond I hope to update this document.  I will use this resource to hold myself accountable.  My intention is to finish as many items on this list during 2013 as possible.  Hopefully the 2013 finished projects will far outweigh the volume of items I might add during the year.  So without saying anything more here’s the result of my research:

*Quilt Tops Ready for Quilting*

Bear’s Paw Quilt by Eleanor Burns from the TRIO of Treasured Quilts Quilt in a Day Series

Simple Times quilt by American Crib Quilts

*Fabric and Quilt Patterns Purchased For*

Autumn Quilt by Heart To Hand (added 2012)

Christmas Fun by Life’s A Stitch (added 12/2012)

First Year Log Cabin by Acorn Quilts (added 2012)

Heart & Home by Heart To Hand (added 2012)

Snowy Days by Heart To Hand (added 2012)

The Bundling Board by Primitive Pieces (added 2012)

The Log House by Washboard Quilts by Pat at Life’s A Stitch (added 9/2012)

*Quilt Pattern Purchased For*

Cathedral by Villa Rosa Designs (added 2012)

Civil War Battle Series # 2 by Clothesline Quilts

Courthouse Square # 169 by Country Threads

Family * Home * Friends by Cottage Creek Quilts

Full House by Schnibbles at Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co.  Purchased at Life’s A Stitch.  (added 2012)

In My Folk Art Garden by The Cinnamon Patch.  Purchased in Colorado Springs.  (added October 2012)

Joyful Welcome by Threads That Bind

Martin’s Pennies by Civil War Legacies

Snow Drifts by Hanging by a Thread

Sundance by Villa Rosa Designs (added 7/31/2012)

Tall * Small by Waltzing with Bears (added 2012)

*Fabric and/or Craft Pattern Purchased For*

Chelsea Tote by Lazy Girl

Elf Mittens by Button Stitch Designs.  Purchased from Life’s A Stitch.  (added 2012)

Encore Purse Insert by Studio Kat  3/19/13 Update:  Fabric purchased

Just Swell by Camille Roskelley for Thimble Blossoms.  Sewing Machine Cover (added October 2012)

Little Cupcake Tote by Penny Sturges for Quilts Illustrated.  Purchased from Nanas Quilt Cottage in Colorado Springs.  (added October 2012)

Margo Handbag by Lazy Girl.  Purchased from Life’s A Stitch.  (added 2012)

Patchwork Ironing Board Covers by Cotton Way.  Pattern purchased from Mill House Quilts (added 2012)

Penny Mats thru the Year, January, April and November by Buttermilk Basin.  Purchased from Life’s a Stitch.  (added 2012)

Sunflower Pillow by The Cottage at Cardiff Farms (added 7/31/2012)

Sunny Days Table Runner by Buttons for Hillcreek Designs.  Purchased from Backyard Quilts. (added 2012)

The Sammi Grace Bag by Fishsticks Designs

Tweety Birds by Creative Fiber Expressions (added 7/31/2012)

I also have fabric purchased to make three children’s quilts.  These quilts do not require a pattern.  (Two of these quilts are now finished.  One remains to be quilted.)

*Finished Items*

My Colorado daughter’s king sized quilt (Finished September 2012)

Garden Party Table Runner by Mary Cain.  Pattern purchased from Mill House Quilts.  (Finished 2012)

Hold Anything Bag by Dancing Crane Designs Pattern purchased from Mill House Quilts, fabric purchased from Backyard Quilts (Finished November, 2012)

Sandy Quilt # 1 (Finished January 2013)

Sandy Quilt # 2 (Finished 1/28/2013)

Sandy Quilt # 3 (Finished 2/25/2013)

Sandy Quilt # 4 (Finished 3/17/2013)

Tag Along by This & That.  Purchased from Life’s A Stitch. (added 2012) 3/19/13 Update:  Fabric ordered from Fabricworm.  Finished

May Night from the Pineapple Passion Collection by Nancy Smith and Lynda Milligan published by That Patchwork Place.  Finished 4/25/2013

Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl  3/19/2013 Update:  Fabric purchased 5/6/2013 Update:  Project started  Update:  Project completed 5/28/2013

Freshly Pieced Fabric Bundle


Sandy Quilt # 2

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Greetings fellow quilters!  Once again it is time to share our WIP.  Last week I set myself the goal of finishing Sandy Quilt # 2 (you may follow my progress here, here and here).  While my intentions were genuine my schedule didn’t agree.  I was, however, able to get it loaded on my long arm quilt machine.  Finishing it before next Wednesday should not be an issue.

My Scrap Bins Overfloweth

Those of you that link up on Wednesday with Freshly Pieced may remember Lee’s post from last week, My Scrap Bins Overfloweth.  She shared her joy at successfully organizing her scraps.  Included in her post was a photo of ten bins each containing color coordinated scraps.  At first I was pretty impressed.  As I read further I realized her ten neatly arranged containers only represented a small portion of her stash.  Further down in her post she confessed the reason why her stash of scraps looked so organized.  Pictured there were nine gallon sized plastic bags stuffed with her overfloweth scraps.  Rather than attempt to utilize those fabrics in projects of her own she offered them up for sale.

Should I or Shouldn’t I

The ability to purchase one of those bags intrigued me.  I thought of it as my own mystery challenge.  There was no way of knowing what colors or size the pieces would be.  Lee assured her readers there were 1.5 pounds of fabric in each one gallon plastic bag.  It didn’t take me long to decide to jump on the band-wagon.

Let’s Make a Deal

To purchase a bag all Lee’s readers had to do was send her an email.  From there she would provide instructions for payment.  I instantly opened up a second web-browser page and signed into my email.  Quickly I typed my message to Lee.  In no time we had the transaction finalized and my shipment was on its way.

Fast Forward

On Monday, January 7th I went out to my mailbox.  I opened the door and leaned over.  Stuffed inside was a package obviously a bit to large for the mailbox.  I reached inside to withdraw the envelope.  At first I was somewhat puzzled.  I have been waiting for shipments of Sandy Quilt blocks for quite some time.  Two of the pending packages would be for two squares each and the remaining shipment would be of ten squares.

Obviously this envelope was much, much too large for the two quilt square shipments.  Then I thought perhaps it was the ten quilt square package.  Although that didn’t seem quite right either.  The individual assembling those ten squares has yet to respond to my messages.  At this point I don’t know whether they intend to follow through with their commitment.  So, just who was this mystery envelope from???

Oh, Cool!!

I carried my mail to my car.  I had stopped on my way out of the driveway to retrieve the mail before leaving for a dentist appointment.  My curiosity got the best of me though because the contents of this mystery package just had to be solved.  I turned the envelope over in my hands and looked for the return address.  The name and address didn’t seem familiar and definitely was not that of the person that owes me ten Sandy Quilt Blocks.  Without much further delay I attempted to open the envelope.

The red, white and blue envelope was bulging at its seams.  Thankfully the shipper had surrounded the edges with plastic tape.  The tape helped to keep the envelope from exploding.  I successfully found one section void of tape.  I used that as my entry point.  Because I didn’t know exactly what was inside I was careful not to cause damage to the contents.

Overfloweth Scraps

After creating an opening I peered inside.  A great big smile washed over my face.  One look told me exactly what was in there.  This was the one gallon bag stuffed with one ninth of Lee’s overfloweth scraps.  I’ve been so incredibly busy of late that I had almost forgotten about the fabrics.  I was disappointed because I couldn’t take the package in the house to empty the contents.  They just would have to wait until I returned from the dentist.

Oh My Goodness

As soon as I returned home I retrieved the obviously over-stuffed envelope from my car and carried it inside.  It took a bit of convincing to slide the plastic bag from the interior of the envelope.  Lee was right when she said they were stuffed.  Quickly I unzipped the plastic bag and dumped out the contents.

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Yippee!

I was very pleasantly surprised at the quantity and variety of fabrics included.  I giggled at the colors and prints before me.  They were fabrics that typically have not been included in my stash.  Lately I’ve been marveling at the brightly colored prints and solids being used by my fellow quilters.  I’ve longed for a new infusion of modern specimens to include in my inventory.  This was just what I needed.  Although it certainly opened the door to modern options the quantity definitely would only make a dent in my stash.

My Mind was Spinning

Carefully I separated the individual pieces of fabric into piles of like colors.  Next I turned on my iron and prepared to neatly press them.  One by one I made my way through the pile.  When I was finished this is what I had.

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Now doesn’t that look awesome.  There is a wealth of potential in this accumulation of Lee’s overfloweth scraps.  Deciding exactly what to create is my next step.  I’m thinking I would like to use all of them in one project.  Perhaps it might even turn out to be an item I offer up as a give away.  Who knows?  For now I’m thrilled just to have them here.

That’s it For Now

I think I’ve bent your ear long enough.  There are loads of WIP participants over at Freshly Pieced to peek in on so hurry on over.  Until next week concentrate on finishing your WIP’s (works in progress).

Regards,

Cindy