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!

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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!

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!

The Bi-Coastal Quilt

So…. do you remember that secret surprise that I referred to in this post?  Well, this is it!  The Bi-Coastal Quilt.  Finally finished and sent to its new home.

It’s hard to believe that I sewed my first real quilt only about a year ago, after visiting Jennifer Paganelli’s studio sale.  I picked up a couple bags of her fabric scraps and sewed together this quilt- and learned a hell of a lot along the way.  The “Bi-Coastal” quilt (I am calling it this because I started it in California and finished it in Cape Cod) is now my 4th finished quilt.

This quilt was started in May, (inspired by my friend Susie and her rapidly approaching nuptials to a great guy), but finished in July. Since this was a second marriage for both of them they requested no gifts (who really listens to that, right?), I thought a quilt would be something they would always have and hopefully treasure.  photo-6

I opted for a string quilt, and to my surprise, all these fabrics came from my stash, even the Kona Snow that inhabits the negative space of the quilt!  I think using fabrics that come from a stash, is one of the most gratifying feelings!  If I were to really sit down and study this string quilt, I would be able to identify fabrics that I made headbands out of, fabrics used for dresses and handbags, even fabric from a pair of Munki-Munki pajamas that I disassembled (I had to have the goldfish in the baggie represented in her quilt somewhere!)

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It really was a labor of love.  In fact, I feel like a part of me is sewn into each quilt I make.  I spend a lot of time planning, gathering, cutting and sewing each part together.  So the photo with me in front of the pond is me loving on the quilt and saying goodbye to it.

As for some things I would love to improve on?  All the points on this quilt don’t match up, but I had to let that go, otherwise they wouldn’t being seeing this quilt until their 1 year anniversary.photo-13

And this was my first real try at Free Motion Quilting, my own rendition.  I think with more practice, I might like it?  Maybe my hands, back and neck won’t cramp as much with more practice also?photo-11

 This rendition could be called the confused circle pattern, they don’t know if they are coming or going!  Just like the maker!!!!  🙂

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Here’s the front after being washed.

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The back after being washed.  I love how the different stitching seems to make the color of the quilt change.

One last thing that I need improvement on is the binding of the quilt.  I didn’t do pointed corners on this quilt.  I wanted to, believe me, but it just wasn’t the way it worked out.

My next post is going to be my give-away and it is going to be a good one!  Does the name  Aneela Hoey mean anything to you?  Well if you don’t know her you should! Check this out.

Have a great week!

Sew Done!

I should really keep better track of how much time I really put into a quilt.  I think one of the best things about quilting is the fact that you can share them.  Even with the smallest of family members.

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Now that I have officially completed my third quilt, I wanted to do a little review.  I really think with each quilt I have improved and learned so much!

Here is my first quilt:

(notice my crinkled edges) I also didn’t use the highest quality batting.

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My second quilt:

(This quilt was given as a gift to my folks for Christmas)

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And now my completed third quilt:

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This is how it all started:

I was inspired by Tacha Bruecher’s Book, Hexa go-go.

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I sliced up many “strings” of oranges, reds, pinks and yellows. Amazingly, these fabrics were all found in my sewing room.

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I “string pieced” 8.5″ x 8″ squares: (80 of those)

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……sewed those together to create blocks. (20 of those)

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I crafted a bunch of “fussy cut” hexagons, mostly using Heather Ross prints.

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Those were then sewn into rosettes and sewn onto the white “negative” spaces on the quilt.

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The quilt top was finished.

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The quilt “sandwich” came together, and the binding was added.

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She came together and I finished her!

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(My 6’3″ husband is holding the quilt from behind to give you an idea of how big it is)

The back is pretty also.  I did some “free-motion quilting”, which is going to be an ongoing learning process.

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A couple more things before I say bye for today…. This made me happy beyond belief….. I spotted a photo on the Creativebug instagram feed of Heather Ross at Quiltcon donning the blouse I gave her at the Asilomar workshop!!!! You will also see, my friend, Ava Herceg hanging with Heather at one of her Quiltcon workshops.

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Yes, I saw this blouse in Anthropologie, and it said “Heather Ross” to me!  So I bought it and gave it to Heather, because she has given me sooooooo much!

Let me just say one more thing about Creativebug, if you haven’t joined yet do so!  It is a wonderful community of creative people, famous crafters that teach you their craft, through tutorials, you can watch over and over!  It’s really awesome!

My last thought for today is to remind you to enter my Give-Away!  There is still time!

Have a great day!