Letting Go-It’s So Hard To Do…

I have been absent from blogging for about 2 months now.  Seems to be an epidemic with me lately.  I have been distracted from many things lately.  Mostly life.  I might be there in body, but the soul?  Well…. it’s thinking about other things, and wondering where all the time went.

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Kenny after his bath 1996

You see, my oldest of 2 children is headed off to college.  This is truly something to be celebrated, as there were other paths he could have taken and this by far was the one that all parents hope for.  Not only is Kenny going to college, but he is headed to the college that both Jim and I graduated from.  A really nice nod for a kid to give his parents.  It does make you proud.  The one thing that is hard to swallow is that he is 2300 miles away from home.  Far away from Marin County, really really far away.  Three time zones and a whole other climate away.  It’s good though, it’s all good (I say this over and over again while rocking back and forth).  Only kidding, I’m not that bad…… yet.  I have been known to spontaneously burst out into tears, though.  I know there are other moms out there just like me, feeling the same way I do.  Right?!

I guess you could say I am somewhat in mourning.  I call it “mourning” because it is a type of  loss.  Please, stay with me here and let me explain.  I do tend to over-exaggerate.  I think anytime your child hits a benchmark, you are both proud and sad.  Think of the first day your child goes to Kindergarten, you are so proud, but you are crying, right?  Life is changing, he is on his way to his grade school years…. your family dynamic is changing.  Right?!  It’s exciting- but that little baby that needed you for everything doesn’t need you as much.

Well, with Kenny leaving for this new chapter of his life, our family that was once a family of 4 is now 3.  I know Kenny is still our child, but the next time he comes home (Christmas Vacation) he will be his own person (he will think he can do whatever he wants under our roof, which is not how it will work), and it will be very different for us to parent him.

photo 4-41On our way to the airport to take Kenny to MSU 

Fast forward to a few weeks later.  Kenny was dropped off to Michigan State University.  We (Jim, Will and I) took him there on Sunday the 24th of August.  We spent the day moving him into his 12′ x 12′ room, unloading all of his belongings and searching for a futon at any shop nearby that happened to have one left, for any price.  The difference between boys and girls, is more pronounced and evident with this experience.  In my opinion anyway….. The girls decorate their rooms and make their beds, adding throw pillows that in the end are pretty and inspiring, while the boys (especially my son) throw their beds together and call it a day.  I went to great lengths, to make sure that his bedding and hamper matched the huge brown carpet that I spent hours searching for on the internet.  Choosing just the right one, that wasn’t feminine at all.

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Kenny “making” his bed with his roommate Matt

I spent weeks, crafting a quilt, a one of a kind quilt, that in the end was tossed up on his bunk like a bunch of dirty laundry. And, although these things came together, and made me feel sad, the hardest moment was that last hug….. the last embrace.  My son, now a young man doesn’t need me in the way he used to and was ready to let me go.  We spent the last 17 years preparing for this very moment.  It’s not like we didn’t see it coming or even that it wasn’t something we fully supported. That’s what good parenting is, I guess.  If your kid is able to leave the nest and feel confident, safe and equipped to handle what life throws his way…. then you have done pretty well. He has his “tools” now it’s time for him to “build” something.

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I free motioned part of the MSU fight song around the border.  

Here is Kenny’s one of a kind quilt.  The quilt pattern  (referred to as the water waves quilt) was a pattern that I got from Must Love Quilts.  It’s a fast and easy quilt.  And for Kenny, it was more on the masculine side.   Green and white fabrics were a great choice for Kenny since these are MSU colors.  photo 5-28

 Here, Kenny is telling me to “hurry up and take the picture”.

I did a stippling free-motion for the quilting on this quilt. Super fun to do!

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There is  camo binding around the entire quilt.  

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My favorite part.  The back with a Spartan, surrounded by MSU fabrics.

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These are wonky cut 1/2 square triangles.  I was going to do the whole quilt out of these, so glad that I didn’t.  I had a very hard time finding the licensed MSU fabric on-line.  I stocked up when I visited Michigan!  I am all set for the next Michigan State University project.

So, as for now it has been a week since Kenny started his new adventure, and us, ours.   Today has been hard, but like so many mother’s before me, I will get through it and it will all be okay.  Perhaps a cupcake would make me feel better.   It couldn’t hurt, right?

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time, keep creating!

Patchwork Summer Series: The One-Sided Clutch

Hi there!  If you are new to my blog today, then welcome.  Sit back, put your feet up and stay awhile.  I hope you like what you see and come again for a visit.  If you are my usual fabulous subscriber, then hello again!  I am so glad you stopped by!

PatchworkSummer!

Swell Sewing is part of the Patchwork Summer Series, that Ellison Lane is doing over on her blog.  It is a fabulous series of not only tutorials, but wonderful patchwork displays of what other bloggers have created.  This series will not only inspire you, but will hopefully find you discovering some new uses for patchwork, some you just never thought of.  I know it has for me!

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You can find the tutorial for this fun clutch on Jennifer Mathis’ blog, Ellison Lane.  Really Ellison Lane is more than a blog page.  It is an experience.  She has all sorts of wonderful things happening on there, and you should surely subscribe to her page. Just as I hope you do to mine!  Here are some more pictures to entice you!

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And while you are here visiting, I hope you check out these posts:  My visit to the Ellen DeGeneres Show and the quilt that got me there and the amazing Doris Day Birthday Party and my lifetime wish of meeting her!  Also if you have the time, I would love for you to check out my Finished Quilt Page!

Thanks for stopping in! I would love to see your finished clutches if you are so inclined to create one!  Have fun with it!

Tracey

Sewing and Such…

I have been absent from writing for two months.  I have been creating.  Sometimes I find blogging about it, and also doing it (creating) is too much for me to do.  I also have two boys to somewhat parent, A husband that needs a wife, two pugs to keep alive and then there are those plants that come to my house to die.  That last one is the easy one.

I didn’t get a chance to blog about Sew South- which is totally the “Bee’s Knees”, by the way.  The fact of the matter is, is that many others that attended Sew South did such a fabulous job describing the whole event, that I felt like I would be reinventing the wheel.  Here are a couple blogs you should check out:  The Sewing Chick- she is a pretty cool chicky at that!  I love her!  You could also check out Trina Peterson from Sew Many Possibilities.  Trina is an amazing, wonderful young lady full of all kinds of talent.  I love her too.  In fact I have to say, that everyone I came into contact with was quite wonderful and welcoming.  If you are going to head to a weekend sewing retreat on your own this is the one to travel for.  Everyone made it so easy.  Last but not least is, Jennifer Mathis from Ellison Lane and also the creator of Sew South.  I cannot say enough about her.  She loves to give, give, give- it makes her SO happy.

Here are a few things I have been up to:


LUGGAGE TAGS

I made 50 luggage tags and then gifted them to all my new Sew South friends after Sew South.  I used the pattern by Studio Cherie.

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These are just a portion of the 50 I made after Sew South and sent off to their new homes.


NEW YORK

I flew to New York for a Heather Ross Workshop day which was a lot of fun. I have to say though for me the highlight of New York was the 911 Museum.  It really is something you must see!

photo 4-39The outdoor fountain is breathtaking.  It was so thoughtfully created.

photo 3-42This is part of the indoor museum where many people are laid to rest behind this wall.  I cannot even express how somber this museum is.  It really is something you have to see and experience.


THE STITCH

I purchased a Speak Your Silence Kit to sew #Thestitch onto my gray sneakers.

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My mom was sexually abused by her step-father for many years, that is why I wear The Stitch.

photo 2-44This is a great charity that offers free counseling to adults that have been sexually abused as children.  You should really check them out.


THE  SEW TOGETHER BAG

I sewed up a Sew Together Bag, designed by the not crazy Sew Demented. I would love to see how her brain works!  This bag goes together in a way that I could not even have imagined.  It is ingenious!

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photo 2-46This was gifted to my post Sew South Secret Sister!


PILLOW COVERS

I sewed up 5 pillow covers for my good friend Susie:

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I was pretty happy with the results, each pillow had a zipper and piping.  We found the sailboat fabric on etsy for I think 3.95 a yard, compared to the Calico Corners fabric, which was somewhere around 115.00 a yard!  Crazy huh?


ESTATE SALE 

I found this Doris Day door hanger at an estate sale.

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I wasn’t even going to attend, but “something” made me take a left turn instead of a right and I found this for a dollar!  Thank you “something” for making me take that turn!


GRADUATION FESTIVITIES

I made a Michigan State logo for the back of Kenny’s graduation robe.  The kids decorate the back of their robes with the colleges or universities they are attending in the fall.  I don’t think this is a tradition at all the high schools it seems pretty unique.

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It makes for a fun project.  Kenny and his friend Katie, did their caps themselves.

Kenny also graduated, what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t include a graduation picture?

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I made 8 of these “Survival Kit” jars for Kenny and 7 of his friends.

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Included in the kit?  Chocolate, Candy, altoids, sunscreen, and of course a sewing kit.  You can’t leave home without a sewing kit!


 CAPE COD

We finally made it to the East Coast!

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Yep!  The sign really does change each year!


 ANTIQUING

I found this lovely vintage quilt at an antique store for $100.00!

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There are a few spots, that I didn’t discover until I got home, but it is all hand quilted and hand pieced!

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Pretty AH-Mazing, huh?!  It measures about 7.5 feet x 8.5 feet!  It is huge!  I am going to get it professionally cleaned eventually.


 TUTORIAL

And lastly… Which actually took place first and took almost as long as the luggage tags, I created a tutorial for this bag.

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The link will be on my website on Friday the 27th.  Ellison Lane is doing a patchwork series and this bag is part of that series.  You can check back to Swellsewing.com on Friday or you can check with Ellisonlane.com on Friday for the actual tutorial on how to make this fun versatile bag.  Making this tutorial was quite the learning experience for me.  I hope to do more of these tutorials in the future.  We’ll have to wait and see how well this one does.

So until Friday…. Stay Crafty!

Doris Day Turns 90!

Last year it was announced that there was going to be a big birthday party for Doris Day’s 90th birthday.  I guess I am part of her fan club, so I received the e-mail announcement.  The very next day after discussing it with Jim, he called to reserve “our” spot.  Sadly, it was already “all booked up”.  Ugh!  This was right around the same time when I sent the Ellen quilt off and was waiting to hear something, anything.

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As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty bad.  I had put the whole Doris Day Birthday Party out of my mind and moved on with life, forgetting that Jim put us on a waiting list for the birthday party package.  This included not only a whole weekend stay in Doris Day’s hotel, The Cypress Inn, but also admission into THE EVENT.  The Doris Day 90th Birthday Party!

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Fast forward to late January, we were phoned regarding an opening to attend all the Doris Day festivities.  Yay!  We made our plans!

I think some spots opened up because some people backed out after they learned Doris would not be making an appearance.  As much as I wanted to meet Doris, the next best thing for me would be to surround myself with other DD fans who also enjoy her music and movies, people who would get me.  My other thought was, this is probably as close as I will ever get to meeting Doris.  They were also offering pictures with Doris’ own dog Daisy- so….. that was pretty close, right?   All the proceeds would be going towards Doris Day’s own organization The Doris Day Animal Foundation.  How could you go wrong with that?

Doris resides in Carmel, California.  Her hotel, also in Carmel, is very charming.  It’s not showy or overdone, it’s not huge or impersonal, it’s just right.  The Cypress Inn is a place of comfort.  You are free to bring and stay with your 4 legged best friend.  In fact, I sort of felt funny that both Ruby and Peekaboo were not with us.

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The first night’s activity for Doris Day’s Birthday Party was a live concert that took place across the street from the Cypress Inn.  We listened to the musical stylings of Laura Didier (vocals) and Jim Martinez (piano).

Doris Day has a special sweetness to her voice.  It is very distinctive, and I know if you are a fan you know exactly what I mean.   Laura sang beautifully and nearly had that “sweetness”.    During the performance the piano player played a message from Doris, in which she thanked us for all coming and said that she loved us.  It made me cry.  Just to hear her voice and to know that I was one of the many that she was thanking!

The next evening was the big event.  I had wanted to wear one of my many dresses that I have sewn, but nearly all of them were too big in the bust area.  Figures, you lose a little weight and it all comes off in your chest!  Anyway- I purchased a dress from Nordstrom.  A  navy blue polka dot number, and it was perfect!

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The party was AHHHHH MAZING!  I met so many great people- all of us Doris fans, of course.

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The tables were beautifully decorated and named in honor of Doris’ many dogs.   We sat at “Spottie.”  Peter Marshall was one of our emcee’s.  He was also amazing.  He really does look the same.  His speaking voice sounds the same, and his singing voice- well, it’s beautiful.  He’s as sharp as a tac and he is so kind.  I am so glad, I was able to meet him.

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I was pretty happy with how the evening was going.  I mean what’s not to like? I met Peter Marshall and a lot of other great folks- I would say it was a great evening.  There was that little nagging feeling of, “it would have been so awesome if Doris Day would have showed up”.  All of us were talking about it.  In fact from the deck of the Quail Lodge, you could see the very awning of her house!  Taking turns, we posed for pictures, so that the awning was in the background.  Stalkerish, huh?  We as a whole, figured it was going to be our last and closest chance to meet her.

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You can only imagine how elated everyone was when Doris walked into her own birthday party!  I nearly fell off my chair!  Really!  Jim said that all of us fans looked like the screaming fans at a Beatles concert.  When I say fans, I am talking men and women, so you can imagine the display!  The picture above of my new friend, Chanmony, and I shows you just how excited we were.  Chanmony’s  husband took this picture.   Chanmony looks pretty and all collected, me on the other hand- I look like a crazy lady!

Swarms of people surrounded Doris.  I didn’t want to be one of those people.  I’m short, and I just couldn’t get a good look.  So  Chanmony and I stood on our chairs, we still couldn’t see.

Jim got some great pictures though.  He’s my bumble, and being as tall as he is, he is always able to see above the hoards of people.

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I wish I could put into words how much seeing Doris meant to me.  The evening was AHHHH- MAZING.  The music, the people and the masterly cut video displaying many facets of Doris’ life, her activism, entertainment  and private parts of her life.

I tried, with Jim’s prompting, to weasel my way into meeting Doris.  Both times I was turned away.  Jim thought that if I batted my eyelashes at the security guard, he would allow me a quick hello- but to no avail.  I guess I am too old for those shenanigans to work.  Doggone it!  Who am I fooling?  I have NEVER had those powers!

  Finally after the cake and all the auction items were auctioned off, a big announcement was made.  Doris wanted to meet everyone!  So the large group of Doris Fans, made a line, to spend a short 30 seconds each to say “hello”.

Here are the pictures that were taken by Jim during my 30 seconds of Doris time.  Just so everybody knows, I am a totally understanding fan.  As Doris looked over at me, she reached for a glass of water, and then she took her hand away.  I said, “Oh, no Doris, you go ahead and drink your water”!  So 10 seconds of my time was spend watching her drink her water.  Which was just fine with me!

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I really should have smacked that woman’s arm for reaching in front of me like she did!  How rude!!!

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…and the fish was THIS BIG!

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While I was gazing into her beautiful eyes, the police man standing behind us, holding onto his gun, might I add…. yelled “That’s it young lady, times up”!  It scarred the heck out of me, I jumped up….

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I think I said goodbye…. I don’t know. She did giggle at one point and I do remember saying to her “oh my gosh, your giggle sounds just like it does in the movies!”  To be honest with you all, other than commenting on her giggle, I haven’t any idea what I really said.  I could have been singing “row, row, row your boat”- for all I know.  Maybe that’s why she giggled!

After leaving Doris, Jim stepped in and quickly told Doris that “the woman you just met is my wife and she loves you so much…” I hopped back in and got the officer’s attention and said, “Thank you for calling me young lady” :).

I sobbed like a baby in front of everybody after meeting her.  I am not sure what hit me.  Meeting Doris was a dream come true.  I never thought that day would come (no pun intended), and it did AND it was amazing!

THANK YOU DORIS!

Thoughts on Blogging and a Finished Baby Quilt

I don’t like to feel pressured to blog.  Anybody else?  Blogging to me, is supposed to be fun.   I know that as bloggers, it is fashionable to blog at LEAST once a week.  While attending classes on building a blog it is suggested that you should blog, at the very least, once a week. I don’t want to feel like I NEED or SHOULD blog.  Really?  If I don’t have anything to share, why would I want to bore you?

Personally sometimes it drives me a little crazy when others do blog each week with their makes.  They could have several makes a week, and it makes me feel inadequate.  I know, that the intent is to inspire, but sometimes- it just makes me antsy.

So…. this blog is dedicated to all of you- those like me, that procastinate, and think about the many things they want to make.  Those that make multiple lists of Things to Sew and Make that don’t get completed.  Those that have closets full of UFO’s.

That’s me.

HELLO MY NAME IS TRACEY AND I AM A DREAMER!

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So what have I been doing the last few weeks?  Well, there was that visit to Michigan to see my folks.  Kenny and Will couldn’t believe all the snow!

Then there was the recovery from that trip…… Now, I am getting ready for another trip- to North Carolina, for SEW SOUTH.  I am pretty excited about this… and anxious.  I am going alone to Charlotte, North Carolina.  I will know a few people there that I have met before.  This whole traveling thing is totally pushing myselft wayyyyy outside of my comfort zone.  My nice safe familiar square box.  I know it’s very good for me though- so I am gonna just go for it!

Between trips, I finally finished Kenny’s youth pastors’ daughter’s baby quilt.  It is a first baby for the pastor and his wife and when I heard they were having a girl, I just knew that it had to be Heather Ross’ Briar Rose print all the way!  It is so sweet and feminine.

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Before binding and quilting.

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Paper piece hexagons, the back of the baby quilt.

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Finished with binding and quilting.

HANNAHQUILTBeautiful vibrant colors, thanks to Heather Ross!

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All wrapped up and ready to be received!  Welcome to the world Baby Hannah, (4 weeks late)!  My gift arrived late, not her!

Does Purpose Stop You From Creating?

There is a lesson to be learned in this post, so read carefully and use as directed!  :-)

The Heather Ross Sewing and Craft Weekend Workshop in Palm Springs was a blast.  We had phenomenal teachers as always.  Gretchen Hirsch, Annabel Wrigley and of course the amazing Heather Ross.  These teachers are inspiring, not only because of what they have already accomplished, but because they continue to create….. and think of new and different ways to keep people like myself engaged and wanting more.  We come back to these workshops just to be around their creative aura.  I just want to suck “it” all in, hoard it, take it with me and remember every single inspirational and creative moment.

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My Sewing Sisters!  Robin, Margaret and Me!

I feel giddy with sewing sister love.   Silly right?  I saw some remarkable things this weekend.  My new friend Raven worked all weekend on a lovely tank (I am unsure of the exact pattern) made from Heather Ross’s Water Ski Beauties print and an Anna Maria Horner Field Study print in Tomato.  It was so very cute and whimsical.  Raven had my other friend Robin, (known as Robin Bobbin on Flickr) try on that tank and it fit Robin so well that sweet Raven told Robin to keep it!   Now if that isn’t an example of sister love, I don’t know what is!  Kudos to you Raven- you really are quite  an amazing young woman.  So glad I was able to spend time with you!

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View from my hotel room, look at that thick blanket of fog rolling in!

Not only did we sew this weekend, we got crafty too!  Annabel Wrigley had the most amazing color palette of tissue, crepe and construction papers.  She also had all the other goodies that you would expect to see to construct some pretty amazing paper flowers. All available in any color you could possibly dream up.

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Stunning Chandeliers made by Annabel Wrigley

These flowers were used to create some fairy tale like “chandeliers”.  Now I am kind-of a sewer/crafter with a purpose.  One of my first questions I ask myself when I am readying myself to construct something is- “Am I going to wear/use it?”  Followed by “What would I be wearing/using it for? (This type of questioning comes from a portion of my brain that has to rationalize everything).  It does weed out some pretty unnecessary sewing of garments that I would probably never wear and it also helps with fabric choices BUT It does also however, stop me from just having a little fun.

Girls just wanna have fun right?!

I thought to myself, “Why do I want a chandelier that isn’t even going to serve as a source of light?”

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Since most of the ladies making these chandeliers had little girls at home to create these for, I felt like, why?  “Why would I make one of these for my kid”?  I am sure Kenny and Will would have thought I flipped my lid if I brought home a pretty frilly pink floaty thing for them to display in their rooms!  I wonder if I was the only one who went through this thought process?

So… It was PURPOSE that was stopping me from having some fun!  How sad is that?  Isn’t the act of having fun purpose enough?  Think about it for a minute…..

Does purpose dictate your crafting?

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Heather Ross explaining the ins and outs of Inkodye

Well, by the second evening of the workshop, watching from afar all the lovely blooms  being produced- I finally caved.  I wanted to sit around the most colorful table at the workshop, chat and indulge in some colorful creating.  With a little direction I was on my way searching for wires and floral tape- I assembled my first paper flower, and then my second and my third….. you get the idea.  My takeaway?  It is very theraputic, quite addictive…

AND FUN!

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Color!

I don’t have a photo to show you of my completed chandelier, because sadly I didn’t complete it and the travel home left it a little shabby- BUT I gained so much more by just the experience of assembling all those papers into something 3 dimensional.

So… Have you learned anything?

Maybe sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan when crafting and just be spontaneous along the way? The worst thing that could happen is you might create something beautiful and have a hell of a lot of fun!

go ahead, try it-

I dare you!

Have a great weekend and do some reckless creating while you’re at it!

Sew Mini, but can she Sew Mighty?

I am headed to a Palm Springs Sewing Retreat this weekend.  Heather Ross is hosting it.  I just love her.

I decided back in December to buy a Janome Sew Mini- for around 50 dollars.  There were 3 reasons for this purchase.  The first was because I am attending somewhere around 4 sewing retreats this year and some of these retreats require you to bring your own machine.  The 2nd, the Janome Sew Mini only weighs 5 pounds.  Which is wonderful if you are traveling by air.  The 3rd…. Sew Mini is just so darn cute- and consumer information stated that she is not a toy, oh and she needed a home.

sewmimiMy concern about this little creature is that it is mostly made of plastic, which is understandable since, it is so feather light.  Can she perform though?  I decided to take this weekend to experiment with Mini and see if she is really up for an upcoming Sew South Retreat in North Carolina.  

If Sew Mini works out okay, I may be announcing some fun news.  You will all have to stay tuned to see what that’s all about.  :-)

Have a fun and crafty weekend!

The Ellen Show… Am I Dreaming?

Wow!  I am not even sure where to start.  Really.  From the moment I landed in Burbank- I have felt like I was dreaming.  But there we were, my cousin Carol and I sitting in our Ellen VIP seats, on Thursday afternoon, watching the whole thing unfold.  The same protocol was followed, just as we have seen many times before from our livingroom sofas.  The Ellen Show music starts, The camera shows Ellen behind stage tossing her mint into the air and if she is having a good day, she catches it, right in the kisser (let’s face it, it’s a good day whether she catches it or not).  A good day it was, she caught it!

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Let’s back up just a little shall we?  I have been asked repeatedly, “How did you get VIP tickets to The Ellen Show?”   Carol and I were 2 VIP’s among about 30 people maybe more?…. VIP for The Ellen Show means, prime seating and no waiting in the cattle call area.   These very special tickets were acquired by doing a couple of things.

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I made this quilt for Ellen, it took about 6 months to finish.

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AND

Because of The Ellen Quilt, my blog post made it to a friend, that sent it to another friend, that happened to be related to someone who worked for Warner Brothers, in a pretty high up position.

NOW I AM JUST GOING TO BARRAGE YOU WITH A BUNCH OF PICTURES I TOOK BEFORE WE WERE TOLD TO PUT OUR PHONES AWAY……

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At first I was a little bummed out, because I felt like I could have acquired these tickets if I would have just talked to the right people.  After further reflection though, I realized that it was because of THE ELLEN QUILT that I got tickets to the show.  I really do believe this.  If I wouldn’t have created this quilt, the talk would not have started among all these people, and my blog post would not have been forwarded to the right person.

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Now, let’s go forward- okay?  Attending the Ellen Show really was a dream come true.  I didn’t expect it to be such a workout.  Standing, sitting, clapping, yelling and dancing, lots of dancing.  It was a whirlwind of excitement.  We were prompted when to dance, when to stand and Ellen told us when to sit.  (In a nice way of course!)

Carol and I were placed right in the 2nd row, where Ellen dances across during each show. It is a wider row which allows her to really cut some rug as she passes by.   I detected a slight hint of CK One when she grooved passed us.   She is so darn cute and tiny as can be.  Tiny in stature, but not in personality as you all know.  She is lightning quick with her humor, you can see for yourselves by watching her opening Good News performance.

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Kim Kardashian and Dermot Mulroney were her guests.  They were both entertaining in their own ways.  Ellen was the show though, she was who we all came to see- these tickets are hard to come by and this was confirmed by many of the locals that Carol so giddily told.  Everywhere we went, when asked why we were visiting the Los Angeles area, Carol would quickly answer, “We’re going to the Ellen Show!” The responses were filled with excitement and envy.  Could you blame them?

We left Ellen, with swollen, numb hands and hoarse voices AND completely drained of all energy.  Everybody did.  It was a workout.  This was my Super Bowl- and it was over…like the “day after Christmas” is how Carol described it, and that is exactly what it felt like.

All the planning, cutting and designing of this quilt- brought me to that very moment, that small slice of time that I was present for The Ellen Show.  Now it’s over, all over.

As aways, upon returning home it has taken me a couple days to get my bearings.  This time, it was even harder.  The shear, mental and physical exhaustion from the Ellen Event.

Well worth it, you should all do it.  If Ellen isn’t your thing, then have another goal in mind, and shoot for those stars.  You might just surprise yourself with what you can accomplish, when you get folks talking and pulling for you!

carol and I on Ellen

That’s all for now!

Stay well-

and as Ellen always says…

“Be kind to one another!”

Burbank or Bust!?

I am just popping in for a very quick update on The Ellen Quilt.

 Burbank, my second of three trips planned for this month.  Call me crazy, because that is exactly how I am probably going to be feeling by the beginning of February!

My cousin Carol is flying in from Michigan to meet me in Burbank.  Patty was supposed to make the trip as well, but her nursing school schedule is completely sucking all her time, so sadly, she won’t be joining us.

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I put together a folder with all our planned exciting excursions.  The Mike and Molly Show, The Ellen Show, and a couple of fun restaurants that we may or may not check out.  We are gonna be 2 Michigan girls hanging out in the big city, because I am still a Michigan girl at heart.

We return on Saturday, bright and early. Who knows what the next few days will hold?

Whatever it holds, you will have a front row seat to all of our shenanigans!

xoxo

Tracey

Good-Bye 13, Hello 14!

It’s been a good year.  Our youngest, Will, successfully started a new school and is happy,  and our oldest Kenny applied and was accepted to his first college choice – Michigan State University!  It just so happens to be both mine and Mr. Swellsewing’s Alma Mater!  Yay – we are both as proud as peacocks!

I had many makes this year. Well, many for me anyway.  If I were to compare my makes with other people, I would pale in comparison.  I would say that I chose what I was going to make quite carefully though.  Some of these makes were made for other people, and some of these were made in multiples.  How about you?  Was there one in particular that you are proudest of?  Do you feel that with each “make” you learn a little bit more?  What about Works In Progress or WIP’s?  I do have many of those and these are first to be finished for the beginning of the new year.

 I have been slowly progressing with my quilt making, challenging myself and learning along the way.  The more quilts I sew, the more skills I acquire, thus learn and create my own style of quilting.  I find myself honing new organization skills and shortcuts.

At this point I feel like I am in a chrysalis stage, there’s a lot of developing happening here behind my sewing room door.  It’s like magic. To me it’s like magic anyway.

With the quilt I made for Heather, I learned a lot.  There were many components to her quilt.  Organization and preparation are the keys.  It is a slow process (for me) and in order to stay efficient, I cannot rush.

Here are my “makes” for 2013, I am sure I have left 1 or 2 out.  For the most part though, they are all here.

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Just to highlight a few of my makes…

#1.  Is a quilt that I still have in my procession.  It is my quilt.  I am willing to share with other housemates though, if needed!

#10.  Is from a Heather Bailey tutorial, for a trinket tray.  I made about 8 of these for a wedding.  The bride put together little care packages for those that came into town from far away and stayed at a hotel.  These nautical trays were filled with little goodies waiting for the arrival of their guests.

#21.  This cosmetic bag was sewn from a pattern and tutorial from Creativebug.  The genius behind this bag is Betz White.  I loved this clever bag so much that I made 3 of them.  The other 2 were given to my Sewing Summit roommates and were crafted with just the right fabrics to meet their personalities.

Everything I have sewn really has meant something to me.  I think probably though, The Ellen Quilt has had the biggest impact on me.  It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions when it comes to that darn quilt.  

Long story short, I have heard from some of Ellen’s people.  I got tickets to her show, and I am going to Burbank to see an Ellen show taping on January 16th.  I cannot confirm if Ellen has actually seen or held the quilt, or (and this is really hard for me to admit) if she even knows about it.  

That’s okay though.  I keep chanting this over and over again while rocking back and forth.  Ha, just kidding.   It is just fine.  I appreciate Ellen, I crafted her a quilt, I sent it to her- and my ultimate goal was met- I got 3 tickets to her show and will be sitting in her audience, hanging with my gal pals, Carol and Patty.  The girls and I will get to spend some much-needed time together, and it will be great!  I will keep you posted on that trip- I am sure I will have something to blog about.  

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In other news though, before I close up this post and take a nice big fat nap –  Jim, Kenny and I headed down to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California!  We watched our Michigan State Spartans beat the Stanford Cardinal (which I learned is a tree) for the championship of the 100th Rose Bowl!  It was sooooo awesome!  So glad we went, and Kenny?  Well he is over the moon.  He will start at MSU in August of this year- what a way to start his College career.  I know College isn’t a career, but I wasn’t sure how else to state this!

SUCH A GREAT WAY TO START THE NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year everyone and stay crafty my friends!