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!

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…..

flag5 Ta Da…… here is the finished quilt!

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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!

It’s been a month!

The saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.  I don’t know if this actually pertains to bloggers or to me for that matter, but I sure do know that not posting a blog for about a month makes me feel a little guilty.  If you think about it, it’s kind of silly.  Those of you out there that blog probably feel the same as me.  What does your guilt come from?  First of all, I follow many blogs, and when I haven’t seen a recent post from one of my bloggers, I start to worry about them.  I wonder if they have some sort of health issue, or maybe they have lost a loved one.  You really do create relationships with other bloggers and we (or should I say I) crave their “friendship”, even if it is over a laptop.

So……. Where the heck have I been for the last month?  Where haven’t been?  🙂

Last month I was in Sedona, Arizona with my cousin Carol.  Wow!  What a stunning place!  If you haven’t been, you should.  We laughed, chatted and ATE our way in and out of Sedona!

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We had a very busy 5 days in Sedona.  We shopped, relaxed, went horseback riding and did some exploring in Jerome and at Slide Rock State Park. Oh, and we ate a lot!

Carol and I decided to each choose an activity for our vacation.  Carol’s pick was the horseback riding.  I like horses, but, I don’t think my horse (that went by the name Crow), liked me too much.  I was totally giving him mixed signals as to which way to go.  Seriously he was giving me the stink eye- I could see it in his one eye!

The trail which we traveled was not for the novice rider, although all 13 of us were just that.  I was scared, very scared.  We rode those horses over a very rocky path that was said to be the original wagon trail.  Crow and I also navigated our way through 2 rivers, that reached the height of his belly!  I was SO very relieved when the ride came to an end!

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Both Carol and I agreed to see what Slide Rock State Park was all about.  A stunning park that highlights a very cold waterway.  People were jumping in and “riding” its river over the “slippery rocks” to a larger pool of water at its end.  The water was so cold that it literally hurt to wade my way across to the other side.  I really don’t know how some of those people immersed themselves into that water!!!

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We did some other exploring in Jerome,this was my activity pick.   Jerome is “America’s most vertical city” (5000 feet above sea level) and It’s famous for its historical copper mining.

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Carol and I had lunch at the TOP of the town of Jerome in a restaurant named “The Asylum”.  A great lunch with an even greater view!

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The Asylum is located in this huge building, that was once a hospital.  Now, it serves as a restaurant and an Inn, that is rumored to be haunted!  Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn………

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That was such a great trip!  Last week, my family and I were visiting family in Michigan.  I actually didn’t even take any pictures!  The boys enjoyed spending time with Grandma and Papa and I once again ate an entire apple pie that my mom baked for me!  It’s a tradition that I am willing to hang on to!  🙂

I have 2 sewing projects to show you:

The first one is a blouse I made using Simplicity 2154.  I am not completely crazy about the fit.  So I am going to call it a wearable muslin!  🙂

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I will probably lose the bow when I sew this blouse again, such as Sewin’ Steady did with her very cute yellow gingham blouse rendition.  Perhaps, a few adjustments to the bows’ size would be sufficient?

My on going project is another hexagon project.  Surprise!  I know it’s shocking!  I am still having some issues letting these incredible polygons go!

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This is another one of Tacha Bruecher’s patterns from her awesome book, Hexa Go Go!  This pattern is the United States flag.  This will be my rendition and interpretation of her pattern.  Here is a very rough draft that I designed on Illustrator.  (I am still trying to learn the ins and outs of this software, so please excuse, my “roughness”).

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This flag is a quilt comprised of many, many hexagons all in Reds, Whites and Blues.   I got a long way to go baby!!!

Keep sewing and hug your loved ones!