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!

Lily, Oh How I Love Thee!

I finally completed one item from my very long list of garments that I had HIGH hopes of sewing up over this vacation.  This was the Lily Dress Pattern, from Colette Patterns, of course.  I am constantly pulled toward Sarai’s patterns.  They are a joy to sew, they fit together like a puzzle and the directions are a dream to follow.  They may be on the more expensive side when you are considering a pattern purchase, but as many times as I use them I totally get my money’s worth out of them.  Besides that, the Colette Pattern collection has a vintage, classic feel and are far worth it!  Really, Colette patterns are worth the investment!

Lily had many pieces.  16 pieces to be exact.  I find that to be a lot, but it was manageable.  I had a deadline with this one too.  The gang of us vacationing on the Cape decided to do an “adults only” dinner on Thursday night and these plans were made just two days prior.  Huh!  I needed something to wear, so why not sew it, right?  I followed “garment sewing rules”, and sewed a muslin first.  The size 8 was good, a little too much ease, but I could fix this during the sewing process.

Months back I put aside Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy Daisy Bouquet in Turquoise for this exact dress.  I really adore this print and I thought that using a red and white polka dot print would be the perfect fun compliment to the D.S. print.  Well, you tell me – what do you think?

 Pocket Detail

The one REAL issue I had with this dress was the polka dot trim around the top portion of the dress, I am pretty sure that I attached it upside down or something and the back didn’t come together as it should have.  This kind of thing usually happens when I skate through the directions, thinking I know exactly how pieces should be sewn together.  Ha!  Not usually the case.  Luckily for me, I am in desperate need of a haircut, so my hair covered the troubled spot on this dress.

I also wanted to share with you all the “sewing nook” I created for myself here in Cape Cod.  The before and after.

I really need to get some better lighting for this area!!! Anyway, one more thing before I leave.  Don’t forget to enter for The Giveaway! Go to the link for The Giveaway and enter by commenting.  Sunday is the last day, results will be given on Monday!

This could be yours if you are the lucky winner!

Have a better than Swell Day!