Another Christmas!

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It is hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone and it is even harder to believe that 2016 is coming to an end!  Our boys are becoming young men and the hubs and I are noticing our own signs of aging.  It sneaks up on you.  It really does.  Those things that you thought that “SOMEDAY” you would be or do…. those things that haven’t  happened yet?  Well, the time is now.

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I am realizing that “someday” is now and there is no sense in waiting for the future.  At the risk of sounding morbid, none of us knows what tomorrow holds.  So whatever it is that you want or feel as though you have wanted to do… DO IT NOW!  I’m not waiting anymore, if any of us have any doubts about this, look at the string of celebrity deaths that have occurred lately!  It’s shocking!  Some of these people in their 50’s, which, when you are in your 20’s seems old, I know, but it isn’t in all reality!

So you have a special dress you are waiting to wear?  I say get it out and wear it now, create an event!  Celebrate Monday, if nothing else comes to mind to celebrate. For me, I am pushing full steam ahead with my designs.  Any rejection is just going to make me push harder.  So all those textile companies out there, better watch for me, because I am coming.. whether you are ready or not!!!

The end of the year has been very busy for me.  It has been full of awesome surprises as well as some very big disappointments.  I am choosing to focus on the great things that have happened, and allow those icky disappointments to encourage me to try harder, create more and to also remind me that “nothing worthwhile comes easy.”

I participated in an Instagram Challenge in December.  It was an advent calendar instagram challenge.  The challenge was created by Four Corners Art Collective.  This group of talented designers created prompts for December 1st- December 21st.  It was loads of fun, and I am so grateful to all of them!

You can see all my renderings by clicking on my photo below, it will take you to my portfolio website.

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Doing this challenge was a great exercise!  You have to put your work out quickly and it needs to go out every day for 3 weeks.

On to another topic.  I made a quilt for my sister-in-law Sheri.  The last of the sister-in-laws to get the gift of a quilt for Christmas.  She’s been waiting.  Finally, her day came!

I went WAY off script with this one.  I let all the fabric do the work for me.  I chose bright solids and all the Cotton and Steel prints I had in my sewing room.  I used them all!

I used my Accuquilt Go Cutter to cut lots and lots of triangles! It really does make cutting go faster.

In the picture below, I was trying to figure out how to put these half square triangles together.  You can really see how the fabric is doing the work for me.

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In this picture below you can see the quilt assembled and nearly ready for quilting.

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I didn’t even start to think about what I was going to do for Sheri’s quilt until after Thanksgiving.  When I finally had some kind of idea, I was overtaken by a dark cloud of depression.  It usually comes on this time of year, when our days are shorter and there are a million things that need to be done before the holidays hit.   I pushed through though.  I would sew a little bit each day and luckily I finished up the binding on Christmas morning.  Just in time!

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Sheri’s finished quilt was created with many half square triangles and some solid 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares  as well.

Sheri has had a hard year, in 2016.  She had a huge family loss herself.  I hope she knows that this quilt, as with all quilts I have made are more than just a quilt,  it’s a hug as well!

Happy New Year to you all!

xxoo

Happy New Year and Closing Out the Old Year!

I am trying to start the New Year off right.  I am not one to make New Years Resolutions, because I usually end up disappointing myself.  I am much better at setting a daily goal for myself.  Like for example… “Eat Breakfast”- now there is a goal I can achieve!  I am really not that bad 🙂

I had a couple of goals to achieve before Christmas. One was to finish the baby quilt, that Will’s former tutor wanted for her new baby boy, Jasper.  I got that done about a week before Christmas.  Missy was thrilled and I was as well, it was a challenge.  The challenge presented to me started with these pieces of stenciled fabric that made up this bunting that was used at Missy’s Baby Shower.

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Each attendee at Missy’s Baby Shower stenciled a square for the bunting as a keepsake. Missy had the idea that these special pieces of artwork could be incorporated into Jaspers quilt for them to  enjoy for many years to come.  Wow, where to start?

While in the Catskills for Heather Ross’ Weekend Workshop- I was admiring the quilt that was on my bed.

photo 1-57Apparently this  quilt was from a series of quilts that Denyse Schmidt’s company produced for a short while.  This quilt inspired the design for Jasper’s quilt.  I wanted Jasper’s quilt to look like an heirloom, created from what scraps would be around the house and at hand.  I think I did in fact achieve this look.

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And now the back of Jasper’s quilt.  I paper pieced his name and did a few cutouts with some of Heather Ross’ fine designs.

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Then the quilt was all tied up in a ribbon, ready for its new home.

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The second  goal I had to complete was a gift for my sister-in-law.  I drew my sister-in-law Jane’s name for Christmas, and of course I decided to make her a quilt.  How could I not after making one for my sister-in-law Heather last year?

I decided on a pattern from Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting’s book “Modern One -Block Quilt”

This is The Wacky Flowers Pattern from the book.

photo 1-67I went with charcoal gray, mustard yellow and white fabric.  These are all from Hawthorne threads, their solids collection.  I threw in a little black to give it a little twist.  I wanted this to look good in Jane’s house.  She is an interior designer, so the pressure was on!

photo 2-69The piecing did go fast.  The most time-consuming part of the entire quilt was all the cutting. Templates are included in the book, but they are paper- so I had to trace them and cut several at a time.

photo 3-67This picture makes the quilt look like it isn’t squared off, but it is…. My quilt model (Mr. Swellsewing) wasn’t having a good day 🙂

photo 2-70photo 1-68A close-up of the back of the quilt.  I did circles and a leaf pattern over the gray sections of the quilt.  This was all done free-motion.  I am starting to loosen up a little with every quilt I do.

Jane was thrilled with her quilt!  I was happy with my results and I was happy that she was happy!

The last gift I made for Christmas was a doll for my niece Emily, from the Retro-Mama Greta Doll pattern.  

photo 2-48I purchased this pattern while attending the Sewing Summit in Utah, 2 years ago and was missing a pattern piece.  I contacted Kim through her etsy shop and she sent me the entire pattern!  I highly recommend her patterns, they are easy to follow, and how can you not support folks like her?  I had so much fun picking out the fabrics from my huge selection of scraps!  This is an easy, fun project that seemed to thrill Emily!  Kim, from Retro-Mama also has a new book out this year! I haven’t checked it out in person, but it does look very intriguing!

So today I say good-bye to a most wonderful 2014 and hello to 2015.  My goals for this year are to get my fabric designs out there and to blog at least once a week.

Believe it or not, it’s the blogging goal that I am worried about 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!

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

A Handmade Christmas? Is it even possible?

So here we are at the end of November, and I am just now thinking about A Handmade Christmas!  Wow, procrastinate much?  I have already “bitten off” a lot more than I can probably “chew”.  I am undertaking an 80″ X 60″ quilt for my Mom and Pops.

I started by doing a little research on what I found to be easy on the eyes and just plain easy.  I discovered this beauty on an inspiring blog Quilt Story.  There you will find an easy to follow tutorial done by Megan and Heather.  Gosh, isn’t it pretty?!  I believe mine will be a little bigger than theirs, and also a little different, mostly because as usual, I screwed up!  🙂

I wanted it to be large enough for both my parents to sit together under while watching television, and also if my dad takes a little snooze on the sofa, it will cover him from neck to toes.  There’s nothing worse than having your feet stick out under a blanket just so you can cover your shoulders or covering your feet up and then getting the “cold shoulder”.

Here’s a quick look at what I have done so far:

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Three blocks completed, each measuring about 20″, just to give you some reference to the scale of what you are viewing.

There are many resources available to all of us for creating a handmade Christmas.  One thing I discovered the other day is something that came to me on Twitter.  It’s called A Hip Handmade Holiday from Craft Pack.  

A Hip Handmade Holiday - a digital craft book with 18 projects, 9 instructional videos and over 100 downloads

This awesome pdf can be purchased for 10 US dollars.  It consists of 18 craft projects that cost about $10.00 each to make.  I have it, and will be crafting some of the items included in this clever magazine.

Two other great resources that I have talked about before are, Creativebug.com and Craftsy.com.

I am especially enjoying Creativebug at the moment.  I have once again crocheted the one skein scarf, I bought 5 more skeins of yarn today to crochet more scarves!   Creativebug has all sorts of paper workshops for decorative gift wrapping, party decorations and much ,much more.  Really, you have to stop by and check it out.

Here is a picture of the One Skein Scarf.

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My last resource, is Etsy.  If I am unable to make it myself, then I will purchase a handmade item made by someone else.  Why not?  I think doing this, for me anyway, will make Christmas seem a little less overwhelming, (since crafting to me is therapy) and I love supporting my fellow artisans!  There are some very talented and creative people on Etsy.

Another Item I stumbled upon on the internet was a paper pieced Christmas Tree.  I saw one similar to the one here I have sewn up.   I just drew up my own rendition of a tree and sewed it up.  Really, it is very easy and I think if I make 2 of these they will work quite nicely for a festive table runner hmmmmm…..this might be a gift after all.  Now I just need to figure out how to paper piece a Santa- I wonder if it is even possible?!

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So, as you can all see, I am going to be a little busy, cheap therapy though, eh?  Maybe you also may want to partake in A Handmade Christmas?

Have a great weekend!