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!

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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!

Hip To Be Square…

I hope that everyone out there had a wonderful, relaxing and healthy Christmas.  We sure did in our house.

We draw names every year in our family.  Mr. Swellsewing has 3 brothers and a sister, and then they have their significant others, so buying for each could be quite costly and complicated.  As it is, none of us really need or want for anything, so thinking of gift ideas is always very daunting.

My hope, was that whoever’s name I got, I would be able to handcraft part of their gift.  Luckily, we draw names in November, and it gave me plenty of time to create something that would be a show stopper.

Well, I got my sister-in-laws name Heather (Mr. Swellsewing’s sister).  One of my favorite people, she does so much for everyone else.  She is responsible for assisting my wonderful mother-in-law with all the holiday shopping for many people.  My mother-in-law still has us (the adults) and our children (grandchildren) make these extensive Christmas lists that Heather spends many hours fulfilling.  Then, Heather spends more hours on top of that, wrapping and wrapping and wrapping.  Usually when all those gifts are set under the tree, the tree pales in comparison!

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I knew with Heather, a quilt would be a sure bet.  Making the decision to craft a quilt was easy, deciding on a particular pattern design and color palette was way overwhelming.  I scanned the many quilting magazines and books I had on hand to see if there was something that caught my eye.  Nothing I had on hand seemed quite right.  I then reached out to the internet. Ahhh, the internet it holds all the answers that my brain hasn’t any capacity for.  And surely enough, it held the answer to my quilt conundrum!  I came along a tutorial by Melissa Cory, she is the mastermind behind a blog called Happy Quilting.  I found this star surround quilt-a-long on her blog.

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Above is a picture from the Quilt-Along.

This pattern was interesting and very complicated.  Complicated for me anyway. I am a total  newbie when it comes to piecing and quilting.

I have less than 6 quilts under my belt, so experience would have been helpful when tackling this quilt.

I chose Pat Bravo’s Carnaby Street Collection for my fabric choices.  It is so bright, warm, colorful, mysterious and captivating.  I thought this to be the perfect choice for Heather’s star surround quilt, I ordered about 9 different colors and patterns from that collection.

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I was pretty thrilled when I was able to assemble the first 2 stars of the nine required.  They actually looked like stars.. so I was on to a good start.

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Then there were 4, and before I knew it- I had 9!

Next up, the star surround.  Not all the points lined up, but I didn’t let that stop me.

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I had to motor on.  There was a deadline to meet CHRISTMAS!

I have been told many times, that quilting is easier than garment sewing.  I am here to say that this just isn’t true.  People have said, ” quilting is so much more forgiving than garment sewing.”  Well, you don’t have to fit the quilt to a certain body type or size, BUT and this is a big one….. YOU NEED TO BE PRECISE WHEN CUTTING YOUR SQUARES!!!!!

Not only that, but ORGANIZATION is also very key.  These are two things that I am just not that good at.  I am a creative person, and I find that most of us creative types are super messy.

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I tend to average things out…. this is such a no, no in quilting.  Eyeballing is just not done.  I love eyeballing things.  :)

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The quilt top pictured above.

This is the quilt top all sewn up- even with some of my piecing points not meeting in some places, I made it work.

I finished this quilt, on Christmas Eve Night.  Can you believe it.  I started this on Thanksgiving vacation, cutting the many yards of Kona Snow White- 108 squares of various sizes….. finished attaching the binding right before bed on Christmas Eve.

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I washed Heather’s Quilt with 5 color catchers, (just in case) and threw it in the dryer, where it dried by about 1% smaller, creating all those crinkles that I love so much.

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The quilting stitches consisted of what I would call scribbles or irregular circles.   I am unable at this point to craft the perfect circle- (perfection is so overrated) so scribbles will do just fine.  For the stars and surrounds I used a walking foot and did some straight line quilting.  Nothing fancy here- I just tried to sew a straight line, which can be incredibly hard, when you’re tired and in my case over 40 and blind!  Aging sucks, but it beats the alternative!  :)

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This quilt is 91″ x 91″  and is square.  It is by far the largest quilt I have ever made.

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So yes, it is square.  What is it that Huey Lewis says?!

IT’S HIP TO BE SQUARE!

And

YES!  I would say it is.

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Because this quilt is so HIP and so SQUARE!

 One thing about giving a quilt to someone special, you know that one size really does fit all. You also know if you make the gift recipient cry that you totally…

Hit The Mark.

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Yep, I hit my mark!

I hope you were able to make some crafty memories for someone special in your life too!

xxxooo

Silence Is Golden!

Sometimes turning everything off in the house is so freeing.  With television, radio and phone silenced I found myself able to actually think! Hmm imagine that.  Wow! Right?!

I haven’t been blogging, but I have been busying myself with a plethora of holiday projects.

Here is what I have been up to:

1.   I finished a lap quilt for Aunt Helen

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She has been spending time in a wheelchair now and I thought this would keep her legs warm and let her know that we love her and are thinking of her.

2.  I am in the process of trying to decide between these two designs.

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 The first quilt design is by Canoeridgecreations.com that was featured in a quilty magazine, called chevron and on.  The second design is another version that I came up with using the same blocks.  I think I like the second one better, but that means I need to figure out what to do about the middle block.  I am NOT making anymore squares so.. I am probably going with the first version.  If I finish this, it will be given to my Mom-in-law.

3.  I made and brought this little chicken over to my sister-in-law Heather’s home  for a hostess gift on Thanksgiving.

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Pretty funny, huh?  You lift up her wing and she has a hole there with access to dinner rolls!  I downloaded this project from Pellonprojects.com.

It’s a free pattern, in fact there are many free patterns on the website.  The only problem with this chicken is that it was impossible to find a tiny basket for her.  I used a pail that I purchased from the container store.  It wasn’t the way it was supposed to be though!

4.  I baked apple pie for Thanksgiving!

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One went with us the Heather’s house, one went with my friend Patty to her Thanksgiving and this one stayed home with us.  My son Kenny and I devoured it!  Breakfast, lunch and dinner baby, that’s how we do it!

I am happy to report, that I think I am finally starting to get the hang of making my own pie dough.  This is something that I have strived for, for many years.

4.  A little shopping at Target for some essential Orla Kiely!decblogpost5

There was really nothing little about it.  I bought nearly one of each of Orla’s cosmetic bags from Target.  I just couldn’t resist.  “Collect them all!!”

5.  Mr. Swellsewing and I have been cleaning out closets!decblogpost6

This is just one example of one of the closets we cleaned out.  We are donating a ton of things that we just don’t need anymore.  We’re so tired of clutter.  We are seriously going to do this.  Really!

6.  Baby Quilt

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Whew, good thing this is for a baby!  I just don’t know how many more hexies I have in me to finish.  All this fabric is from Heather Ross’ Briar Rose collection.  It is as cute as can be, and totally perfect for a baby girl.  December 15th is my deadline.  I really gotta get my hex on!!!

And the last thing I have been working on:

7.  Is a secret project for someone.

I have been working on this “thing” for a very long time… hopefully it will be done before Christmas and I will have pictures to share with you!  Wish me luck!

Other than those few things, there are plenty of other little things that keep popping up.  Christmas shopping for my boys ( all three of them), wrapping and sending gifts to my parents, X-mas cards that need to be addressed… hmm what else…Oh, I need to deck the halls!  Holy moly! Wow, no more time for blogging.  I have to get going on all of this.

But first, a nice spot of hot Trader Joes, candy cane tea and a fond farewell to all of you until next time!

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Cheers!

The Ellen DeGeneres Quilt……

It’s time to shake things up.  I have been keeping a secret from you.  Well, some of you know, but not many.  :)  I have made a quilt for Ellen DeGeneres!  No, she didn’t ask me to.  I just went ahead and did it without any prompting from anybody.  I know, crazy right?  I have been known to be a little cray, cray.  Let me tell you how this all came about.

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It all started while I was watching the Ellen Show one afternoon in May of 2013.  I had spent  the earlier part of my day with my good friend Patty, walking and talking.  Patty had been through some rough things, grieving for her dad just to mention one thing, and I just wanted to make her smile and laugh.  Well, the Ellen Show, I thought would be a perfect way to get Patty to smile and laugh,… “she should be watching this” I thought to myself….. and then I thought, NO, it would be even better if we could be there in person!  Right?!  I texted Patty and told her that I was going to get tickets to the show…. Maybe 3 or 4 tickets, so I could also include my cousin Carol and one other also. This would be a great outing for us, Patty and Carol thought so too!  That was before I actually tried though!  :(

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A teaser peek!

If you have ever been on the Ellentv website to get tickets, everything is “fully booked”!  I kept checking back, but it was always the same result.  So I did some investigating on the internet to see what I could do…… One posting from someone stated that “if you send something to Ellen, you might get her attention”.  What could I send that would get Ellen’s attention?  I AM GONNA SEW A QUILT!  Not just any quilt, I am going to make the Tacha Bruecher American Flag Quilt from the book Hexa-Go-Go.

Why the American Flag Quilt?  For many reasons, first of all I like it, secondly, because I can sew it on the go while traveling and thirdly, because in my opinion Ellen is the ultimate American.  She believes in marriage equality, she ends each show with saying, “Be kind to one another”, she supports tons of charities, gives back to so many, she makes me laugh and she dances!  She dances a lot!!! What’s not to like?!

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My Ellen Quilt Project started in late May.  It’s no surprise that this quilt is made up of hundreds of hexagons.  I never counted them, I should have.  As you can see, just this blue portion of the flag has many, many hexies in it.  This was the first portion I worked on.  I would paperpiece these hexies, while watching tv with the kids and during long car trips.  Pretty much any moment I was sitting, I was piecing.

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It all started taking shape after the blue portion was completed.  I could actually see, that yes indeed, this was going to be a flag!

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When I started to assemble and piece the stripes of the flags, I realized that this flag didn’t seem personal enough for Ellen.  It needed something more!  I had my Aha moment.  I am going to design Ellen DeGeneres fabric and have it printed through Spoonflower!!! This would be my first design/printing experience with Spoonflower and I was pretty anxious about it.  I worked on the design for days.  I realized that not all fonts would translate to the Spoonflower design process.  The Spoonflower website changes some fonts to different fonts.  I was unable to find any information out there regarding acceptable fonts, but I am sure there is something that refers to fonts?  I don’t know, maybe somebody out there knows?  Anyway, designing this Ellen Fabric was finally a way for me to dip my toes into the fabric and surface design.  It forced me to use my tablet and illustrator and made me become more familiar with uploading items to Spoonflower.  Ellen was helping me even though she didn’t know it.

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This fabric is mostly a text design, and isn’t anything too impressive, but it made for great hexagons that the “white” stripes are composed of.  I took bits and pieces from her EllenTV website and cut and pasted Ellen’s biography, names of recurring guest stars and special charities that she supports (just to name a few things)!  This fat quarter piece of fabric arrived from Spoonflower while Carol and I were in Sedona, Arizona vacationing! Mr. Swellsewing texted me a photo of it and I was so excited!  I was also, paper piecing blue hexies during that vacation.

So this process continued, Through many vacations.  Sedona with Carol, Asilomar with Patty and a Michigan trip to visit my folks with the husband and kids.

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This picture was taken while in Cape Cod, later in the process of The Ellen Quilt.  I have shown this quilt to probably 25 people in total, letting them know that I am making this for Ellen.  Peoples’ response was always why?  Why would you do this?  I would tell them, “because I really, really like her, I think she is an amazing American (if only everyone would be kind to one another), she does so much for others AND I want to get her attention, so I can maybe get tickets to her show!? Mostly though, It’s time for Ellen to get a gift!  Like I said earlier in this post, she does so much for others, gives so much to so many people that she should be given something that shows how much normal folks like me, really appreciate her.  I do!!! I do appreciate her!

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Thanks to all my Instagram friends for commenting and liking so nicely!

I have Instagramed pictures of this quilt, but didn’t divulge who the recipient was to be.  I guess I was worried that maybe someone would steal my idea and get their quilt done quicker, or maybe because there was a huge possibility that I wouldn’t finish at all?

This is the only photo of me and Ellen’s Quilt!  It’s a selfie, and it’s not very good, but here it is.

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Wait….. there is one other, that Mr. Swellsewing took of me.  I was working on Ellen’s quilt while watching the Ellen Show!! I didn’t know he took this picture until later!  :)

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So… hexie, by hexie, stitch by stitch, seam by seam…. this quilt came together.  I sewed this baby wherever I went.  West Coast to East Coast and back again.

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Both Ruby (in the earlier pug photo) and Peek-A-Boo (in the photo below) had their turns at a SIT or a STAND on Ellen’s quilt.  What can I say, it’s animal friendly.

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This went on for a few months……when finally I had another idea!   A REALLY GOOD ONE!!  I am going to add 11 stars, and Ellen’s name to the blue portion of the flag.  The 11 stars will represent Ellen’s 11 seasons of the Ellen Show!  I also embroidered around them.

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I tried to use an Alabama Chanin approach to the paint stenciling and embroidery, knotting the stitching on the outside of the quilt.

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The longer I held onto this quilt, the more I wanted to add to it. That’s how I ended up embroidering “THE ELLEN SHOW” around the quilt over and over again!  I was worried that if I held onto this quilt any longer, I would have to add another star for her 12th season, or WORSE yet, keep it for myself!

Once I was done adding some bells and whistles, it was time for the big reveal…..

flag5 Ta Da…… here is the finished quilt!

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my over 6′ tall husband is holding this quilt while balancing on a 3 foot tall wall, to give you an idea of how big it is.

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The outer portion border of this quilt was free-motion quilted and the stripes and blue portion were line quilted.

Here are some photos of the back of the quilt.  I kept it pretty and unELLENesque for Portia.

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My self-made SWELLSEWING tag.

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Here are some images of it folded.  It was hard to let this quilt go.

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I just love the way it looks folded!

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I had to let it go though.  I put Ellen’s quilt in a box wrapped in a huge swatch of the “specially made Ellen Fabric”, some pictures of my friends and a nice letter to Ellen.  It was all tied together with a big piece of red ric rac.  Do you think Ellen likes ric rac?

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This was my last view of the Ellen Quilt…. I sure hope it made it to its intended destination and into Ellen’s arms….

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Since I sent this box, on October 21st I have been on needles and pins, (pardon me for the unintended pun)!   Mr. Swellsewing and I have tracked the package and it did make it to Burbank.  It went certified mail, returned receipt but the receipt was never returned to us.   The postman said, that sometimes that happens, the slip gets lost.  UGH.  ( Hopefully just the slip gets lost and not the package)!  So you can imagine how anxious we are!…

I will keep you all posted on the outcome.  In the meantime, to quote Ellen,

“Be kind to one another” and have a Swell Weekend!  Thanks for reading!