just as I suspected, spending some time organizing the work area did the trick
the ball of cord surfaced, I got the scrap pieces organized, and 6 more ideas got added to the list of "pieces I'd like to do"
the most important thing is that the elephants are now done!
yesterday I mounted the new animal stamps, but the glue is not yet dry, so stamping will need to wait until at least this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow
I did machine work on a Christmas project and attached the binding to the baby quilt, so it is now ready for the final handwork