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

Mama’s Got a New Bag!

Last week I started cutting pattern pieces for Noodlehead’s Campfire Messenger Bag.  There are many pieces to this bag.  There is not only the main, lining and accent fabrics, but there is also the fusible fleece and fusible woven interfacing pieces.  Sadly, I am not the most organized when it comes to sewing- so I tend to cut woven interfacing as I move along with each fabric piece as needed.  YOU would think I would learn, and cut all the lining pieces ahead of time, but no, I don’t- I just continue to use my method of madness. Oh well, what are you going to do?  I did get a pretty nifty bag out of the whole deal, so I guess in a way my method worked!

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The Campfire Messenger Bag, in my opinion is a MUST MAKE and should be put on the top of all of your “to make” lists!  It has just enough pockets both inside and out.  The backside of the bag has a snap pocket, and once you open the flap there are 2 roomy  and easily accessible front pleated pockets.  There is a zipper pocket above those pleated pockets, and on the interior side of the bag, you have two pockets, side by side.   There are many options that Anna presents you with in her pattern for flap closures, heck, I may try them all.  Why not?  I did go with the snap closures for this particular bag.  I feel it gives this bag a nice clean look, very professional.  There is also an adjustable strap that makes it easy to wear the bag either “cross body” style or just over the shoulder.

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This bag is roomy enough for all you essentials and then some.  I don’t have an iPad, but I am pretty sure that would fit also!

I basically used the fabrics I had around already.  I had some Cotton and Steel fat eighths on hand and I used these for the flap and linings.   This particular collection of Cotton and Steel looks really great with navy blue so… I constructed the strap, snap closures and bag binding all in a solid navy blue.  I think from these photos, it may look black, but it is a very, very  dark blue.

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I didn’t have a navy blue zipper of the correct size on hand.  So I opted for an ecru instead.   I also did not add the zip bag closure (optional) for top of the main part of the bag.

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My friends went wild when they saw my Campfire Messenger Bag. Then they went even more wild when they found out I made the bag!!!

I hope you make this bag and enjoy the process as much as I did!

Have a Great Weekend!

One more thing also, I am having a pretty nice giveaway through my instagram, @Traceywirthdesigns.  Hop on over to instagram and follow the qualifying rules. The giveaway closes on Monday September 26th at 5:00 pm PDT.  Best of Luck for those who enter!

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!!!

Crate and Barrel Hack!

I was browsing through the mall the other day and as I strolled by Crate and Barrel, the window display caught my eye.  There was a very cute throw pillow that was just calling my name.  photo-7

It would have been silly to buy it, right?  Given all the fabric I have piled up at home, I could very well go home and whip one up.  So that’s just what I did!

I changed it up a little, choosing a few different colors of felt, for waves.  photo 1-98

I quilted it too!  I used a teal thread mimicking a wavy stitch on both the front and backside of the pillow.

photo 2-100AND- I included a zipper, so I can use the pillow insert for something different when the season changes! We will have to see what Crate and Barrel has in their windows when Fall comes around! (wink, wink)

You can do this too!

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It’s a pretty cute addition to the foyer of our home!

Have a great day!

Hellos and Goodbyes

No, I am not shutting down my blog.  Even though I find myself not blogging as much as I would like, I am not saying goodbye.

The hellos and goodbyes I am referring to our those from, Quiltcon, My oldest son and insecurities.

The last couple of months have been a real whirlwind of emotions full of adventures along the way.  Both good and bad.  I am going to start in chronological order.  Makes sense, right?

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A picture of the room where the creativelive class was filmed.

In early February, I had an opportunity to not only sit in on the filming of a creativelive class, but to also participate in the quilting activities of the class, taught by the one and only Cheryl Arkison.  She’s pretty amazing!  The classes  she taught were; “Quilting With Low Volume Fabrics”, “Improv Quilting Basics”, “Translating Inspiration in Quilting” and “Playing With Pinwheels in Quilting” 

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I am not a quilting expert, so when I look back at these classes, I was really trying to just keep up with both Cheryl and the other 3 students ….. It is shot live, (obviously) what I mean is that it is all unedited, every word spoken is picked up by the mics we are wearing.  So I really had to watch my potty mouth!  Creativelive sent us the classes for free for participating.  I watched some of it, but to be honest, I can barely watch myself (half the time my head is cocked to one side like my neck is broken) , and hearing my voice, with my severe Michigan accent is like fingernails on a chalkboard!  I find it humorous, really!! It was an experience!

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Here’s my tweet. Shooting the 4 classes took 2 days.

I got to hang out with some very, very cool younger people… that made me look and feel very old and uncool!!  They probably don’t even use the word cool! They fed us well, and the whole place is just so hip!

photo 4-65Moving on… This poor pup almost died, during the same week that the Creativelive Classes were filmed.  At first we thought that Peek-A-Boo had pneumonia, but when she wasn’t getting any better we took her back to the veterinarian and found out she had a lung lobe torsion!  Basically this means that one of her lobes (apparently dogs have like 6-8 lobes) was twisted and was dying off.  It caused poison in her system, started to make her sick and eventually she would die.  We had that lobe surgically removed, which was super scary because we were told she might not even make it through the surgery.  Luckily she did well, recovered nicely and is getting into her normal mischief.  Thank God!!

I mentioned earlier in January that I was getting my portfolio together to showcase my fabric and surface designs.  I did in fact complete this task.  It was an ongoing process until the day before I left for Quiltcon.  Whew!  Blood, sweat and tears went into crafting that book.  It is the first of many to come.

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You know you have fantasized about riding a giant sewing machine! Thank you Stitch Lab!

Quiltcon was AH-MAZING!  All those that volunteered!  Thank you!  I was able to steam some quilts, and it was great fun!  If you haven’t been… GO!  Now that it is going to take place every year, on different sides of the U.S. there isn’t any excuse to not go!

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This is my portfolio cover. I used bookboard and an original design for 9″ x 12″ cover.

I took my portfolio everywhere I went.  I was like Linus with his blanket! I showed it to as many people as I could and I found it to get easier each time I did.   I took all advice and insight from those who were willing to offer.

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I sent 3 Thank You notes out to some folks that took the time to browse my portfolio.

At this time, I have made some pretty nice connections with some top people at top fabric manufacturers.  I am not going to name any names, but they are some very good ones!  I am always working on new designs, some I’m very excited about, and these will go into my next portfolio!

Here are some designs that were included in my first portfolio. ThIs collection is inspired by my upbringing in Michigan.

This collection is called Rural Respite and is in the colorway Rapture.porfolio for quiltcon-29-02

This main design is called “In The Weeds”.

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These next designs from left to right are: “Posies”,  “Barbed Wire”, “Boxelder Bugs” and “BarK”

Now for colorway “Earth”

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“In The Weeds”

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From left to right” “Posies”, “Barbed Wire”, “Boxelder Bugs” and “Bark”

Unfortunately for me, it became more about my portfolio at Quiltcon, and not about the classes.  I did take some great ones, two were with Anna Maria Horner.  She is a delight and super knowledgeable. I took the Mod Corsage class she taught.

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The “Mod Corsage” class which is similar to needle turned applique w/ Anna Maria Horner.

 It was very fun, and I saw some of my Sew South sisters in that class. I also shared a room with my very good friend Margaret.  I met her at the very first workshop I did with Heather Ross!

Margaret and I at the Moda Party!

Margaret and I at the Moda Party!

Thanks to Heather, I made a really great friend that lives only about 2 hours away from me!

Another hello and goodbye was to our oldest son Kenny.  He came home from Michigan State University for Spring Break.  I am SO grateful he decided to come home and spend time with us, instead of gallivanting off to some crazy unchaperoned teenage bender.  So Kenny came home spent some quality time and then off he went again- back to school.

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That’s me, with Kenny and Will!  Saying goodbye at the airport.  Again!

And now for my last goodbye.. to you!

Have a great week!

My Real Journey For 2015

My intention for todays post is to give you a peek into some of my designs.  These are my earlier ones.  I have since then taken advice given to me by both Heather Ross and Anne Sullivan on tweaking these so that I use more of my drawing skills.

I certainly don’t think that any of you would ever copy my designs, (I don’t even want to assume that they are copy worthy) but I still have to ask you-

Please do not replicate or copy any of my original designs…

Thank you-

Now that I got that out of the way, let me show you what I have here.  🙂

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I did these designs before doing the Creativelive online class “Design Surface Patterns From Scratch” with Bonnie Christine.  One thing that Bonnie teaches is to create a collection from a story.

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There isn’t a story here.  I was just messing around with color and designs I felt went together to create a collection.

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Are these cohesive?  At the time I felt as though these designs did work together.  Do they bring the best out in each other?  I am not sure.  That’s why this is a process.

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Now, after taking some time away from these designs, and also learning some new techniques, from both Bonnie Christine and Rachael Taylor (The Art and Business of Surface and Pattern Design) I can totally see areas for improvements.

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I did hop on over to Spoonflower and print these designs so I could construct something out of them.

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I wanted to see if my designs would play well together.  I could see some issues, but I was relatively happy for my very first try.

I created a mini-quilt using the economy patch block.  The quilt measures 36″ x 36″ in size.  Not enough for any normal sized human to cuddle under, but big enough for a pug!

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I highly recommend this, because it really does give you an idea of what your collection will look like in real life.  I used Kona Snow White to break-up the color.

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Thanks for taking a look at what I have been up to.  It is really hard for me to put myself out there.  I am determined to make my dream a reality.  What is it that you are dreaming about that you would like to be a reality?  Need a little push?

Ya feel that?  That’s me pushing you!!

First Finish of The New Year

My first finish of the new year! Yay!   To top it off it is also a UFO (unfinished object).  This UFO has been hanging around my sewing room since May of 2013!!! Wow, I didn’t realize that it had been THAT LONG! I did a Natalie Chanin Workshop, where I purchased a swing skirt kit.  I can now say I am the owner of a pretty unique skirt-a completed skirt, that can actually be worn.  No longer is that UFO taking up space in my sewing room, staring at me from its plastic bag- mocking me, making me feel as though I haven’t any follow-through.  POW!  I  suddenly feel like a super hero.  I am the “FINISHER”… YEAH, YEAH….That’s it!  THE FINISHER!

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I do finish projects.   Most of the projects that I finish are those that are for other people.  What does that say about me?  Do I not value myself enough?  I wonder how many of us out there do the exact same thing?  Are most of the UFO’s you have in your sewing room projects that are to be finished for yourself?  Or are these projects for others?

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Something for me to ponder anyway.  Maybe you should ponder this as well?

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So as you look through these pictures of my new skirt with its  many stitches and threads, maybe you too can think about what you could finish for yourself.

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This is the year I intend to start tackle some of these personal projects.

I think this is a pretty good start.

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Take care of yourselves.

Take some time for yourselves..

And

Think about what you could do if you weren’t afraid of failing!  I am.  I am diving in head first and I may fail, but I will never know what could be if I don’t!

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!

Good-Bye 13, Hello 14!

It’s been a good year.  Our youngest, Will, successfully started a new school and is happy,  and our oldest Kenny applied and was accepted to his first college choice – Michigan State University!  It just so happens to be both mine and Mr. Swellsewing’s Alma Mater!  Yay – we are both as proud as peacocks!

I had many makes this year. Well, many for me anyway.  If I were to compare my makes with other people, I would pale in comparison.  I would say that I chose what I was going to make quite carefully though.  Some of these makes were made for other people, and some of these were made in multiples.  How about you?  Was there one in particular that you are proudest of?  Do you feel that with each “make” you learn a little bit more?  What about Works In Progress or WIP’s?  I do have many of those and these are first to be finished for the beginning of the new year.

 I have been slowly progressing with my quilt making, challenging myself and learning along the way.  The more quilts I sew, the more skills I acquire, thus learn and create my own style of quilting.  I find myself honing new organization skills and shortcuts.

At this point I feel like I am in a chrysalis stage, there’s a lot of developing happening here behind my sewing room door.  It’s like magic. To me it’s like magic anyway.

With the quilt I made for Heather, I learned a lot.  There were many components to her quilt.  Organization and preparation are the keys.  It is a slow process (for me) and in order to stay efficient, I cannot rush.

Here are my “makes” for 2013, I am sure I have left 1 or 2 out.  For the most part though, they are all here.

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Just to highlight a few of my makes…

#1.  Is a quilt that I still have in my procession.  It is my quilt.  I am willing to share with other housemates though, if needed!

#10.  Is from a Heather Bailey tutorial, for a trinket tray.  I made about 8 of these for a wedding.  The bride put together little care packages for those that came into town from far away and stayed at a hotel.  These nautical trays were filled with little goodies waiting for the arrival of their guests.

#21.  This cosmetic bag was sewn from a pattern and tutorial from Creativebug.  The genius behind this bag is Betz White.  I loved this clever bag so much that I made 3 of them.  The other 2 were given to my Sewing Summit roommates and were crafted with just the right fabrics to meet their personalities.

Everything I have sewn really has meant something to me.  I think probably though, The Ellen Quilt has had the biggest impact on me.  It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions when it comes to that darn quilt.  

Long story short, I have heard from some of Ellen’s people.  I got tickets to her show, and I am going to Burbank to see an Ellen show taping on January 16th.  I cannot confirm if Ellen has actually seen or held the quilt, or (and this is really hard for me to admit) if she even knows about it.  

That’s okay though.  I keep chanting this over and over again while rocking back and forth.  Ha, just kidding.   It is just fine.  I appreciate Ellen, I crafted her a quilt, I sent it to her- and my ultimate goal was met- I got 3 tickets to her show and will be sitting in her audience, hanging with my gal pals, Carol and Patty.  The girls and I will get to spend some much-needed time together, and it will be great!  I will keep you posted on that trip- I am sure I will have something to blog about.  

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In other news though, before I close up this post and take a nice big fat nap –  Jim, Kenny and I headed down to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California!  We watched our Michigan State Spartans beat the Stanford Cardinal (which I learned is a tree) for the championship of the 100th Rose Bowl!  It was sooooo awesome!  So glad we went, and Kenny?  Well he is over the moon.  He will start at MSU in August of this year- what a way to start his College career.  I know College isn’t a career, but I wasn’t sure how else to state this!

SUCH A GREAT WAY TO START THE NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year everyone and stay crafty my friends!