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

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!!!

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!