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

I’m Official!

I am official at many things in life.  Many that know me, know that I officially love Pie.  Not all Pie, if it’s apple pie, it is only my moms pie, and other pies should be tart, with just a little sweetness, and it must have REALLY good crust.  Some that know me, know that I am the official Gold Medal Holder for the best napper- in both length of time and style.  If you don’t know, there really is an art to napping.  Still there are others that probably think  I am officially crazy, and yes, I am certain at times, I am.  All that do know me, know that I officially identify myself as a Doris Day fan.  I may not be her number 1 fan, but I am a FAN nonetheless!

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This OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT is about the Agency that has made me into an official artist with official representation.  See?  I am official.  Sue from Vivid Art Agency says so. Sue is my most valuable agent, ( Let’s call her Agent 99) hahaha, but all kidding aside, there really isn’t any secret covert operation happening here, but I do feel like there is a whole lot of magic.  I cannot even tell you how great it is to have someone in your corner, helping you with the ins and outs of art licensing.  Sue (who is also the owner of Vivid Art Agency) supports me and looks at the bright side of things, even when I may be looking at the half-empty glass.

Having an agent, frees me up to do more of my artwork and less researching for art director contacts.  In the past I would spend days researching for valuable contacts, googling and using LinkedIn. I must say though, it does makes you feel a little like a detective, which is a kind-of enjoyable, but very time-consuming.   All that time should be used to generate new art, because let’s face it, without new work there wouldn’t be anything to submit to art directors, right?

It would be wonderful if all of you who read this would hop on over to instagram and follow Vivid Art Agency.  I think it would be fun for you to ride along on this adventure with me!

Have a Great Weekend!

AND

STAY CRAFTY!

Building a Quilt- It’s A Journey!

I think I have mentioned in earlier posts that we draw names for Christmas present exchange on my husband’s side of the family.  He has 4 siblings, and they all have significant others, and it just makes life much easier.

This year I had my sister-in-law Debbie’s name.  She is married to Jim’s brother Lou.  In fact, our son Kenny was just 5 weeks old when they got married.  I remember this because Jim and I took Kenny with us to their wedding in Napa, and he slept through the nuptials and reception, and ultimately was up the entire night there after.  Ugh- I use to really dread those kind of nights.  Now I would give my left arm to have just one of those precious nights back!

So that was about 20 years ago!  Anyhow- my deal for the name drawing for Christmas has been, (at least for the last 3 years) to make a quilt for that person.  Part of the fun of this is to really think about what this person means to me, and how this quilt should reflect their personality.

Debbie and I live less than a mile away from each other, but we don’t spend a ton of time together.  Not because we don’t want to, but because we both have kids in different schools, our interests pull us in different directions and well, I just don’t do a lot with anybody.  I guess this is mostly my fault, I like to be home.

Her personality is interesting, you could say she is opposite of me, but I think that would be wrong.  The places I lack confidence and experience- she does not.  She has been in the corporate world, helped build huge businesses, been a boss several times to many people, unafraid of an unfamiliar experiences and has traveled to many foreign places.  Me?  Not so much, unless you want to count- being a night-time manager for Crate and Barrel and traveling to Canada and Mexico as “The Corporate World” and “Foreign Travel” -but hey, it’s all Greek to me!     Nope!  – I don’t think so, but I wouldn’t want that either, I’m a homebody- remember?  You would think the earlier mentioned attributes of Debbie would make her a “stuffed shirt”, but she doesn’t fit that mold either!

She is wicked smart, athletic, likes to run (ugh, I hate it, the only thing I love about running is when I am able to stop!)  She appreciates her children… I do that too- and she seems, to someone looking in from the outside, that maybe she is very stoic and tough- and she IS a strong woman, but she is also a very sensitive and gentle woman-touched by small things that others do, those little things mean a lot and those small moments when she sits back and takes it all in she is full of emotion… happiness and gratefulness for the healthy family she has- and for the close relationships she has with us… I know this about Debbie… I do!

Maybe, in these years going forward I will be fortunate enough to be able to spend more time with Debbie… Maybe.  Next fall her oldest will be off to college, and I know she is going to need support with that. It is a very tough, life changing situation to get used to.  Most of it not fun!!!

So- for Debbie’s quilt I chose Anna Maria Horner fabrics. In fact- I purchased a kit.  I don’t usually do kits- but I wanted to make it easy on myself since I didn’t start this quilt until December 6th!

The Folk Dance Quilt

I downloaded the pattern from Make It Coats.

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I first made templates out of some bookboard.  There were 2 different sized triangles.  So I thought using the bookboard was going to be the best option.

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It worked out wonderfully.  I just pasted the paper templates to the bookboard.  It was awesome.  My rotary cutter didn’t slip once!

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Each row was sewn together in the photo above, but all the rows were not yet sewn together.

Once I had the rows all sewn together, I realized it was smaller than I thought it would be.  So I had some of Anna’s Innocent Crush hanging around my sewing room and I sewed a generous border around the entire quilt.

IMG_9041 IMG_9040This photo was taken on Christmas day before I packed it away into a box for its new home.  I hate giving up my quilts!

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When Debbie found out I had her name. Her response was so touching.  She knew, as everyone does, that if I have your name, you are going to get a quilt… She started to cry because, she said she couldn’t believe that someone would want to make something so nice for her, or spend so much time doing something so nice for her!!!  She hadn’t even pulled the quilt out of the box yet!

When she saw it she melted.  She wrote such a lovely thank you note to me also.  She is pretty convinced that her new quilt has improved her sleeping… Her husband snores like mine does- I wonder if she uses her quilt to put over his face to muffle the sound- that would improve your sleep, right?!

  You’re worth it Debbie.  I enjoyed every minute, It’s conception all the way through to its completion.   I love thinking about that particular person, while I am working and customizing their gift to their personality. It is so much fun.  Building a quilt is a journey.  It is so much more than “just a quilt”!

IT’S A JOURNEY!!!

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!

Inspiration

Wowee, the last few months have flown by, but they also seemed to drag on.  I know, this doesn’t make sense, but this is how time has felt for me lately.  Time drags, when you are uninterested in anything, feel depressed and just not motivated.  Am I speaking anybody’s language here?  Time flies by when you head into a department store all decked out in holiday decorations in the middle of September. I forget what season I am in sometimes- (California weather can do that to a person) especially when retail messes with your head and you have to question if you slept months away in a Rip Van Winkle kind of way.   Today I was in a bookstore and they were playing holiday music it was disguised in a jazzy elevator tune, but it was definitely Christmas music!  Ugh!  Can we please do Halloween first?

I have been working on my fabric designs, and they are actually coming along.  It is exciting for me to be doing this, I wish I could share with you, but for now I need to keep these under wraps.  I can share with you however,  a class I discovered on Creativelive.  Taught by Bonnie Christine, a successful fabric designer.  The class is called Design Surface Patterns From Scratch.  It was/is so helpful.  I bought the class, and now I own it…So I can review it at anytime.  I highly recommend both Creativelive and this course.  Creativelive offers many other courses for artists…of all kinds.  Check it out!

The other course I am taking is The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, which I found on the website Do What You Love for Life.

So this is where I have been.  Working on designs, sketching a lot and taking some on-line courses. I have been battling my depression along the way and trying to stay inspired even when I have pretty much given up on myself.  It’s hard to look at the future, when you aren’t feeling like you want one.  So..

A few weeks ago I went to the Catskills for a weekend workshop with my friend Heather Ross.  Also in attendance was the very talented Denyse Schmidt.  The dynamic duo welcomed 11 of us to a 1850’s Victorian Farmhouse, situated on 20 acres!

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Most of us brought projects to work on, I was to work on my design work with Heather.  She has been sort of mentoring me along the way.  I have to say though, there were two highlights to this weekend.  First was having the opportunity to spend more time with Anne Sullivan from Play-Crafts… I have met her before, but never really got to know her.

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Heather Ross and Anne Sullivan talk fabric design

Now I can say she is my friend.  We flew together both ways.. It made the whole traveling process for me so much easier!  The second highlight of the weekend, was searching for a dead animal in the basement with both Anne and Denyse Schmidt.

When I say basement, what I really mean is dungeon it was dark, smelly and scary.  There was a dead animal stench emanating from the bowels of the house.

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photo 1-58 Some of the gals that were sewing in the dining room could get whiffs of it every now and then.  So Denyse, Anne and I decided to take the matter into our own hands, and take care of the little bugger.  We found nothing.

I am sure there aren’t too many people who can say they went dead vermin hunting with Denyse Schmidt. 🙂 I can now take that off my bucket list!

Now to give you some inspiration for those of you that still have little ones and would like to do something special for them.  I painted two toy boxes that my mother in-law gifted the boys for their 1 year old birthdays.

Here is Kenny’s toy box.

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Included on Kenny’s toy box were our pets at the time, Chloe, our yellow lab and Wooley and Poly-ester our cats.  Now, sadly they are all gone.  They did get boxes of their own, with ashes in them.  Sad face.

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Now here is William’s… His has more detail, since I thing I was a little more confident about painting on a toy box at this point.

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That’s all for now folks.  Have a lovely inspirational weekend!

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!

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!

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!

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…..

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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!