Adding a few hand stitched "bubbles" to this quilted pillow top.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Jules of Relish Australia! Yep I got mail from Australia! Perfection!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
(Today I am not feeling very bitter.)
This evening I missed a call from a very dear friend, Alexandra. We don't talk often, but have that sort of friendship that won't ever end, we'll just pick up where we left off, whenever we see eachother. She was calling to let me know that as I had expected, she is indeed expecting! A little background if you don't mind. Alexandra and I met and spent a summer together while serving with the Young Disciples Teams - leading Catholic catechesis camps for kids all over North Dakota. we were part of a team of four, but being the only girls on our team shared living arrangements (and often rooms) in the homes of gracious host families across ND. That summer in ND was one of the highlights of my spiritual life. Alexandra was our group's prayer leader and our whole team grew so much because of it! Ok on with my point. It really is hard for me to hear so many happy excited couples announcing that they're expecting a child. It really is. But as much as my heart hurts for me, I'm so elated for her. The last time we saw each other was last fall and she was preparing for her wedding - she asked me in such a sweet/excited/pure way what it was like to be pregnant. I can't explain how precious that was.
So getting the message from Alexandra made me want to immediately start planning the most spectacular quilt for her child. She's just three months along so she won't know if it's a boy or girl for some time (and I'm not even sure she wants to know). So the color scheme is going to have to be a bit more limited than I usually would use. I'm thinking this will be the perfect opportunity to make a grey/yellow quilt like so many that I've been drooling over. So far I've gotten a pinterest board started, but I'll have to get to the fabric store first since my stash of yellow is pretty slim. (PS can anyone help me figure out how to post an actual shot of my pinterest board here? I can't figure it out)
Onward! I'm being very long-winded today.
After doing a fair bit of research about what sort of quilt I wanted to make... I could do nothing else but to actually sew up a baby quilt. Ok ok. This one isn't for Alexandra's baby, and in all actuality I hadn't yet decided if I was going to make a quilt for my cousin Ruthie's baby (due in a couple months). Well I just did. lol. In just under three hours I put together a pretty awesome quilt top for Ruthie's baby (girl, yet to be named). With much thanks to Ebony who was so nice to bring her Acuquilt Studio Cutter (mr T) to the CMQG Retreat a couple weeks ago. I had been hoarding that FQ bundle of Nicey Jane for more than a year, but I used the Studio to cut circles (backed with interfacing), and 2 1/2" strips, and 2 1/2" squares. I used all but four of those squares!!!
I'm so excited about this quilt and it's perfect timing too since I just ordered a yard of dot fabric in that line that I can use for the backing!
Friday, March 25, 2011
I love Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane. I first saw it when my awesome Aunt Kathy bought me a FQ set of it for Christmas two years ago. Yep. It's been in my stash for more than a year because I've been too scared to cut it. It was really all I had on hand to take to the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild retreat a couple weeks ago. I knew that Ebony was going to bring her awesome Accuquilt studio cutter so we could all ooh and ahh (I mean cut fabric) with him. I decided to fuse some double sided fusable web to some of my fabrics first, then cut circles and 2 1/2" strips and 2 1/2" squares. I had the general idea of making a quilt like this but knew I'd never get around to cutting all those circles by hand!
With all the prep work done it took me less than 3 hours to sew up this quilt top! And, I used all but four of those 2 1/2" squares!!! I free motion quilted around each circle to secure them (it will be a baby quilt after all). Once the backing fabric comes in I'll be off to quilt her, I'm thinking straight (ish) line quilting would be a good contrast to those circles. :) I'll keep you updated!
This afternoon I decided to spend a little quality time with my Doll Quilt Swap 10 quilt.... Knowing I have to send it away to it's new home next week, I had to stare at it just a few more minutes! I also had to write the label parts on.... and pulled some random bits from my sewing room for extras. Some specially thought out and planned, some just added in at the last minute. I couldn't help myself with the tissue paper and the bows this time. I mean wouldn't you be excited to open up an envelope full of this?!
I was super excited when I found out who my partner was, and I sure hope she really enjoys this little package all wrapped up for her!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Is it really time for me to post about this? Does everyone know that if you don't link your blogger account (the one you log in to post comments) to an email address, then we bloggers can't respond to your comments? I won't go into the details about how to change your "no reply" status but go google it. (my recounting it would be garbled due to the little mermaid playing on my computer and the two year old climbing on me). I finally got around to writing a few responses to comments (it's been a long week). I was more than a week behind and I declared that was my limit. I responded to comments made within the last week... several of which were no-reply's. I don't seem to notice that they're no-reply's until I've already written a nice little response to them. lol.
Pictures of a new quilt top coming soon! (maybe I should stop listening to Cinderella and go take a picture or two of it?
Have a great day!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Do you have a go-to gift for a new mom or a mom-to-be? Not a baby gift (ok do share those too), but more so a gift for someone who is going through the emotionalness of being pregnant/having a newborn. I have a friend who's wife is pregnant and the husband will be crazy all over the place for business from now until the baby is due... and maybe even after. I just feel like that would be an awful lot to handle while being 6/7 mos pregnant. Any ideas for a homemade mommy care package? She's got two other kids too. Thanks ahead of time. :)
**PS I forgot to add that she's far away from us too. :(
**PS I forgot to add that she's far away from us too. :(
Saturday, March 19, 2011
|(one year ago)|
This is really hard to say, and I'm quite nauseous even typing this. This is a big deal.
After a year of being silent and not posting any pictures of my husband (no matter how cute he is). I think I'm going to be ok once this whole thing is over (although the real journey will never be over). I've been keeping a secret. For a whole year. You'll possibly start to see my husband on commercials soon. See, last year he was cast for a new weight loss tv show. It's been a really crazy year. We're not certain which slot he'll be in the line-up, but it will start airing on May 30th on ABC. Say a prayer for him, as we're still fighting every day.
PS, his name is Wally
Friday, March 18, 2011
Ever since the Doll Quilt Swap started up this round I've been watching hopefully that I might be the partner of 2Hippos. Ok so I've been hoping for most of the quilts being made in that swap, but this one really caught my eye. I'd never heard of Pojagi (I still don't know how to pronounce it) - literally I had to wikipedia it. It's a traditional Korean wrapping cloth. To sum it up in my own terms it's a cloth that is pieced with all the seams enclosed. It's used for various things like religious ceremonies, to cover dishes, for gift wrapping...etc. Truthfully, it just looks pretty cool.
I was dying to try this last night as I searched the internet for pretty quilts for pinterest. I resisted since it was already almost 3am. No sense in sewing something so haphazardly while I was tired. It's been on my mind all day. Finally my chores were done (ack bathroom cleaning!) and the toddler is in bed so off I went to my sewing machine. Did I mention that Nancy is back and that I love her? (I watched a little bit of sewing with Nancy today on PBS too... I love it!). Back to the Pojagi, I found a tutorial from The Silly Boo Dilly, always helpful tutorials there! I used the second example she listed.
This piece was really fun to make and it allowed me to just think of piecing not fabric placement since the whole thing is made of Kona Curry (oh my new love!). No worrying about fabric placement which was really freeing. Although maybe it was a little too freeing since I lost track of the front/back sides on a couple of those seams. No big deal though since I don't really mind. The only thing that would make this better is if I'd have had a thread that even came close to matching that Kona... I had no yellows so grey it was!
I finished my piece at about 15" square. It will likely remain taped to my window... although I'd originally thought to use it as a little table topper on my tiny kitchen table. It looks better in the window though - it is a little too close to the color of the wood on my table.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
About Canonizing your college friends?
Well, we did. lol. I can't even begin to explain the ridiculousness that is the litany of sainthood of my friends. lol. Just go ahead and try I dare you!
My friend Amy (she's pretty much the only non-catholic of the bunch) was trying to explain to a co-worker recently that she's not real uptight about religious stuff (he'd asked her for a souvenir when she took time off work to visit the temple, then worried that he had offended her) - so she tried to explain our little litany of saints we have going... but he seemed to think that we aught to have a physical representation of it, you know, like the stained glass windows in church?! So I took that initiative and drew up some prototypes. LOL
I really entertain myself too much.
Aren't you glad you read my blog? It's so entertaining...er weird. lol.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Recently I've been really loving seeing words written/stitched onto quilts. It all started back during the DQS9 when Cathy was creating this little quilt - yes with tiny stitched words across the middle. Lovely! Since then I've given it a try and not done too bad. But here's the thing, as much as I love the way little embroidered words look, they take forever especially when I'm not very good at it. Also, my letters tend to look a little bit more remedial than I'd like. And what if I want to stitch a poem or a whole letter? (ok I know... a little nuts there right but I have always loved words... and journaling). So then I've been lusting after these pillows. They have sweet bible verses and the child's name on them too! Perfect!
|Some of my practice swatches. I practiced for about 20 min before making the real thing.|
On with my point. For the past few days I've been compiling a pinterest board full of awesome examples of words on quilts. Here it is if you'd like to see. Finally I got off my computer and gave it some practice! One of the ladies at the CMQG retreat a week ago recommended practicing my free motion wording on a doubled up layer of felt since it's about the same thickness as a quilt sandwich but much cheaper! I'll recommend that highly! It worked like a charm. I just sat down and practiced. I practiced cursive, and I practiced print. When printing I would stop and pull the threads a bit (to give a little slack) before moving to the next letter - but I didn't cut those threads until the end. I had a lot less bunching of threads that way. The tiny pointy scissors that I have helped a lot in trimming those little threads in the end. Once again my inspiration for the label shape came from Cathy's DQS9 quilt label. that little circle with the ruffled edge is cute!
I completely recommend you try this! I'm loving it and can see that most of my future quilts will have some sort of text quilted into them!
I'll do my official post about being finished with Gia's quilt sometime after the sun comes out so I can get some good pictures!!
Monday, March 14, 2011
...and I took advantage of that non-bitterness by finishing up a baby shower gift for Wally's cousin. They're due pretty soon here, and in my bitterness I ditched out on the shower. Yes, we did contribute money toward a group gift, but still. So here it is.
The tag blanket is about 11" square - elephant tutorial from Homemade By Jill. The tag blanket was just winged. I had made all three of these things for Allie when she was a baby. She still uses the blankie... it's her favorite. The blanket is just one yard of each of two flannel prints (cheepo at Joann's - don't buy it unless it's at least 40% off since they have it on sale at least twice a month). Just sew those two yards together right sides facing, turn inside out, and top-stitch! Easy, simple, and totally usable! We used these to swaddle Allie for the longest time since the stretchy blankets don't work as well, and tend to be pretty small.
|The tag has washing instructions.|
Now to get ahold of that address so I can get this in the mail before that baby is born!!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Nancy is back in good health! :)
We spent the afternoon at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston - shopping for massive amounts of fabric to make fitted table covers for my aunt's art shows. I showed my machine to the repair guy there and he opened it up and pushed the thread take-up lever (from the base of it) back in, which re-aligned it! lol That easy but I was afraid of messing it up even more! All is well. And I get to stop by there again next week since they have to try to track down more of our chosen fabric at their warehouse. They didn't have the 30 yards that we needed! Hopefully they do have it at their warehouse!
That's all for today. Guests in town = no sewing time, but it also equals a lot of talking about color and sewing and polymer clay (my aunt's medium). :)
Thursday, March 10, 2011
- Quilting as art / quilting as craft
- Following a pattern / designing your own pattern / improvization
- Designer fabrics / joann's (esp. Kona)
- quilting as a cult - let's face it... have you checked out your local Marshall's for munki-munki pj's?
- Personal quilting style / color palate.
- A desire to be set apart from others / a desire to "fit in"
- Inability for non sewing people to "get it"
- Playing with fabric vs. the feeling of need to get something done. (creating for the sake and end of creating).
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
"I am the beginning in the end. I am the faith in your believing. I am the color of truth. I am the dreamer of your dreams. I am falling in your love. I am the words of a prayer. I am the silence in the music. I am the music in the silence. ...I am the cross you carry again."
A sweet inspiring song for you as we begin lent. The traditional question on Ash Wednesday is "What are you giving up?" And I don't have an answer for that. I'm stuck. But I'm going to try to let the words of Danielle Rose speak to me. I wish I were bold enough to declare I was going to do things like I did in college. Saying the Rosary daily, or going to daily mass. But that's not where I'm at right now. For now, I'm going to contemplate the prayers of Danielle's cd (Defining Beauty - which I actually randomly found at the gift shop at the retreat this weekend). For now that will have to be enough.
If you're interrested here is a playlist with more Danielle Rose music. She's quite sweet (in real life too) and poetic.
I briefly mentioned in my last post that my main sewing machine (Nancy) may be broken. While free motion quilting the very last bit of what I worked on at the retreat my top thread broke and wound around the bar connecting the take up lever. I was able to remove the wound up thread, but the lever got pulled to the right side a bit and now rubs against the casing of the machine. I'll be taking it to Vogue in Evanston to have the repair guy look at it on Friday. I sure hope it's something that's easily fixed. Although it's not a very expensive machine (Singer Confidence about $250), I really like her. Luckily all my feet attachments fit on my old singer (Wilma)... but I won't be able to free motion quilt since I haven't been able to find a feed dog cover that fits her.
Alright (lol). That being said I pulled out Wilma this evening to work on a bee block. She's not as snazzy as Nancy. She's slower. And for some reason when my iron cycles on she goes even slower (I'm sure that's not a good thing). lol. We made it through though. I did use my 1/4" foot for the first time ever (my confidence keeps a straight seam easier). I also measured my seams periodically and it seems to me that they stayed pretty strait. It's so weird sewing with Wilma. Not my normal at all!
I did finish my bee block. This month is Elizabeth's turn, and she chose a spiderweb block made out of lovely AMH fabrics. :) Two AMH blocks in a row!! I love it! The spiderwebs took a lot of time, but not hard work. I love the outcome. I haven't removed the paper backing yet or sewn the quadrants together... but I can see that it's going to look great!! (**Edit - I did just remove the paper and sew it together - awesome!)The outcome is certainly going to be worth the extra effort of sewing it up with Wilma.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I can't begin to tell you guys how awesome this weekend was! First of all it was really great to feel accepted as a part of this group (even though I'd only ever been to one meeting so far). Second, I was super lucky to be able to get a ride with Emily - so my husband didn't have to make that trip to drop me off (thanks!!!). Third, I accomplished a TON! Fourth, there were nuns. lol Ok I'm going to stop with the numbering and get on with the pictures.
We arrived and set up our sewing spaces. I worked on a couple additional blocks for my bee quilt. Emily had much help unpicking some free motion quilting (that honestly was pretty great and could have been left) -- I know none of my regular friends will understand what that means -- to help someone unpick quilting?! WOW. I got a lot of input about what to do about finishing a mini quilt for my UHGS partner and managed to finish, quilt, and bind it all that night, I also finished binding my DQS10 quilt. Ebony, Emily and I made a pact that we'd stay up until we finished our projects (unpicking quilting - Emily, binding my UHGS mini - me, piecing a baby quilt top - Ebony). It took us until almost 4:30am. lol. Not too much later than normal for me though (notice the clock in the background of Ebony's pic.)
Breakfast was at 8 but many people slept in. We had enough snacks in the room to feed four times as many people so there was no problem of being hungry. I made it down to the room before 10 and worked almost all day on blocks/quilting/binding the quilt for Gia (which I'll post about later). Ebony gave us a little lesson on how to us MR T and her other cutters. I'd never seen anything like this before. AMAZING! I was impressed too by how people popped up out of the woodwork to help others out when they were cutting on the machine and prepping fabric to cut. Pretty cool. Also cool is the stack of Nicey Jane that I cut into 2 1/2" strips and 2 1/2" squares and millions of circles using the Studio (MR T). It was scary to finally cut into that fabric, but now I'm sure that I'll use it!
So much was accomplished on Saturday. Quilts were coming together all around. We did a charity competition and in a matter of half an hour sewed up enough blocks to make two baby quilts to donate!
|*edit* not Iron Quilt Challenge lol charity competition.|
Once again Emily, Ebony and I closed out the place at about... 2 or 3am. Eileen was up nearly as long making the absolute cutest robot/rocket ship pillowcases with her kids' names on them! I got Gia's quilt done (minus the hand sewn binding)!!!
Sunday everyone was wrapping up projects and packing up. Emily finished piecing a million green squares for her (st Patrick's day) altar banners, we had a few more 10 minute demos, and took a group picture.
Here are the projects I worked on. Three blocks for my bee quilt, a baby quilt finished, two doll quilts finished (binding included), a flannel baby blanket sewn, and one cloth napkin embellished (which may have broken my machine....).
I'd say it was a successful weekend! And the group has already reserved the location for two more retreats, one in the fall and one next spring! Exciting!!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
For the sewing retreat this weekend. It's inspiring how much you can pack into a moderately sized carry-on. I figured I should pack in the suitcase since it has rollers. After a stop at Joann's earlier this week --- where I spent lots of money on boring sewing supplies (rotary cutter blades, batting, thread, needles) --- I'm just about ready. I've got one quilt that needs to be basted and quilted. Two that I need to make another handful of blocks, a bee block, and two doll quilts to be finished. Think I packed enough projects? I'm just not sure what I'll want to sew! lol. I also can't imagine how much I'll be able to get done without the limitations of the two year old's nap time. :) Hopefully enough but I'm sure even if I don't get a ton done that it'll be a good time. I'm new to the group though and I really don't have much of an idea of what to expect.
Once this weekend is over I think (hope) I'll have a better idea of whether or not I think it's worth it to spend lots of money to go to the Sewing Summit next fall. Receiving a bonus check from work right when we got our tax return is making me want to do it more... but what if we're really broke come October? Ack. I hate spending money! I always feel so guilty!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
the best way to get this out is to just start writing.
As many of you know my husband and I have been trying for more than a year and a half to conceive our second child. This has been a really hard and trying time for us for a lot of reasons. I've gone through a lot of cycles of feeling so frustrated and upset that I'm not yet pregnant, and it's not an easy thing to share. Much more, most of my friends are not even married, or don't want kids, they try to understand but they don't. My co-workers are even more clueless since most of them don't even understand wanting one kid let alone a dozen. I get it, not everyone feels the want for a family let alone a large family. Others around are pregnant, or accidentally pregnant, or accidentally getting some girl they hardly knew pregnant. I work in the parenting section of a bookstore... some days I just want to knock down those stupid pregnant people. And don't get me started about crafty bloggers (I'm pretty sure every one of you has a house full of beautiful kids and twins on the way) -- Ok so maybe not but it sure seems like the sub-culture of crafty bloggers do have more children than the average american family. Ramble ramble ramble.
You get my point right? It sucks. And for whatever reason we're still here month after month, not really being able to express this sadness. I'm working on that, letting myself be sad about it, and really addressing that saddness. It's hard to not feel able to express it (like I said people just don't get it). I had the best advice ever last month, coming from my friend Amy who is the most mormon person I know, who also is very very well versed in Catholicism - I'm going to share with you the little note she wrote to me last month (she's talking about a homily from a Catholic funeral she had recently attended - the funeral was for a grandmother and her 5 yr old grandson who died in a car accident).
"During the homily, Father related the story of Lazarus, focusing mostly on his sister. When Jesus came, Lazarus's sister was not very pleasant, saying that if He (Jesus) had come sooner, Lazarus wouldn't be dead and she wouldn't be hurting so much. Many people (both contemporaries and scripture scholars) have criticized her response, but Father's point was that she was okay. Paul wrote in his epistle to the Thessalonians that it is OK to mourn for who/what we have lost. Mourning in itself is not bad. We are entitled to our feelings. Paul does clarify, though, that we should not mourn as those who have no hope, because thanks to Christ we have hope. Now, in this particular case, Father was speaking about death and the hope for resurrection, but I think Father's point/Paul's point applies to your situation too. It is not wrong for you to be sad or frustrated. So people who tell you otherwise just need to shush! It is important to have hope in God's justice, which I know you do. But remember that it's okay to mourn."
Amy said it so well there. I so sincerely appreciate her understanding of things. But I'm still getting all blocked about this sadness. I'm trying to keep myself grounded. I'm trying not to let this frame my every minute. I do feel blessed though, so many people have suffered miscarrages and stillbirth, and loss of a child. So many even within the people I know. My own neice (4yrs old) has cancer, a cancer that has no cure and the side effects of the treatments are a high probability of cancer in the future. In the last year my sister has seen several families they know lose children to cancer. One in particular, Matthew Barr, passed away just weeks ago - he was Rosemarie's age, he'd been fighting so long. I can't imagine, I just can't. But I kinda can.
Miscarriages. Is there anything worse? Stillbirth? My best friend's other best friend delivered a perfect precious stillborn baby last summer. My heart still aches for her. The baby was named for my friend - Anne Michelle, now up in heaven being held by Jesus. How can we wrap our minds around this?
That's where this post is going. I've just read a wonderfully written post over at Life Rearranged.com. So much for not crying; I totally bawled right through the post. The author Jeanette has recently had a miscarriage. Her telling of it is so well written. It's really touching. I know I haven't been through nearly what she has, but I still feel some solace; I feel like someone saying, "it's ok, be sad." We'll make it through somehow. But there's no reason for us to do it alone. She's encouraging her readers to donate to an organization Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep which hires and trains photographers to provide professional photo remembrances of stillborn babies to their parents, free of charge. I'm fairly certain that this organization is the one which took the beautiful pictures of Anne Michelle. Please feel free to check them out, and donate there if you feel inclined.
I'm working on remembering that while our life isn't always what we expect it to be, it's certainly still pretty darn great. My heart hurts for those in much worse situations than I, but it still hurts for me too. We're making it through and someday in heaven it will all make sense. For now I've got to take joy in the fact that these littlest ones who have gone are so purely happy up in heaven waiting for us. I hope one day to meet Anne Michelle, and Matthew Barr... and you know what, I'll bet as much as we pray for them, I'm pretty sure they're probably returning the favor.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Why is it that this gorgeous fat quarter stack of Nicey Jane (one of my favorites) has been sitting in my stash for more than a year? Why? It was a gift, and one of the best gifts, unexpected and beautiful. But I feel like it deserves to be in a quilt. It deserves to be one big project; as a result I haven't cut a single little piece from it. It occurred to me to make some nice fabric buckets for my sewing room out of them... but to imagine using so much of it at once? And then what if I found the perfect quilt to make with them and didn't have enough left? Sigh. Why am I so affraid to use this fabric?