Monday, March 26, 2018

my own curated quilt

Have you seen any of the amazing little quilts popping up in your social media feed, all using color and a design element linking them, and hash tagged with #curatedquilt ?

I have been seeing them for some time, and every time I see one, I get the itch to join in and make something, but talk myself out of it.

First, about Curated Quilts. The challenge is fairly simple. They give you a color palette and a design element and the only real steadfast rule is that the mini be between 10 inches square and 16 inches square. The colors described are to be used all, or in part, and are not necessarily Kona colors. What this means is that we don't necessarily have to rush out and buy fabrics. We can use what we have to take part in this.

Here is the inspiration picture.

Image found on Curated Quilts post Triangle Mini Quilts

What first caught me was the triangle aspect. Geese and triangles are one of my favorite blocks. And one of my favorite things to do with triangles is soften them up.

For example, with this quilt below, I let the sharp geese be the focus, but I created a background with mixed fabrics, hoping to relax the lines a bit.

I thought a lot of people might be doing geese and I challenged myself to thing of other ways you can soften the angles of the triangle. So I came up with curves. 

I omitted the orange from the challenge inspo photo. I didn't really have a solid that matched, or a print that read as a solid, and I didn't want a print to take away from the vision I was working towards.

I decided that even though the star was the triangle shape, to continue to soften it, I quilted it following a curve.

I got out my quilting marker (I use a blunt edged tracing wheel that my wonderful quilty friend Brooke sent me!!) and was just about to mark the curves when I decided to not do that and instead embrace the wonkiness of "organic" quilting-- my fancy name for quilting without guides, a method that ends up wonky and looking very human rather than straight and precise.

I was struggling with binding color and how to bind when I stepped off the "what if I did xxx" deep end! I happened to look over and see a lime green thread in my thread basket- it was a recent gift in a swap I did. I was thinking 'how can I use this??' when I remembered a post about binding I read several years ago. The post can be found on Jolene's blog here . In the post, she mentions several methods of binding and talks about zig zag stitching the binding to the front. I have always been intrigued but have yet to give it a go. It flashed in my head and I thought it would be perfect for this mini because the lime thread would highlight the binding stitches and incorporate the triangle shape in an unexpected way.

So here it is!! My Curated Quilts mini quilt, that I am lovingly calling Soft Angles. It finishes at precisely 16 inches square and taught me a lot of about challenging myself to try new things and trust myself. I waste so much creative time trying to come up with something truly unique and original that I talk myself out of things or do not even begin because I don't want to be redundant. I am working on that, and this mini was like a great big jump forward!!

Friday, March 16, 2018

from scratch, again

We took North Carolina license plates off our car this week and replaced them with Alabama plates. That felt like a plot twist.

This week was hard. The excitement of moving and all the newness fizzled some, and we were left with a somewhat flat, overflowing glass of reality. Being in a new town, not knowing a soul (though one of my very favorite friends is a town above me, just about a 35 minute drive away THANK THE LORD), and beginning again from scratch.

Well, not entirely from scratch. We have each other. And that is a lot. But also.....

Also why I think sending them off to school, each to their new classrooms, felt so unnerving and raw for me. They had to go off on their own, without a sibling beside them, without me behind them, and it felt scary. For some of them. Probably all of them, actually, some just hide it better. And for me.

For me.

As loud as they are and as crazy as they make me, I always feel better when we are all together. The whole lot of us. Even with the fighting and again the is for sure worth mentioning twice because we are already loud, but a big house without rugs or carpet and not very furnished and I feel like I am in a shout tunnel trying to find quiet so I can work and basically just yelling over them FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING WILL YOU PLEASE LOWER YOUR VOICES AND STOP RUNNING!!

Back to me not wanting to let them go. I really didn't want to let them go and considered keeping them home longer. But I knew the longer we waited the harder it would be, and those questions in my heart would not go away even if I allowed them to miss a couple extra days of school. Will they find friends? Will people be nice? Will they feel welcomed? Will they struggle? Will they know they are loved? Did we - DID I - make a bad decision moving here?

Y'all. Let me just say.....I love adventure and fresh starts and learning new places and new people and new ideas and new cultures. But I also feel very deeply and my feelings often fill every space of me, and I understand that my children aren't like me in the chase-after-adventure respect.  So I carry the weight of my children's "will they"s with me and it has been overwhelming.

Also. A terrible trait, one of several, of mine, is that I am a second-guesser of my own decisions. My husband reminded me today that I have done this with every. single. move. So it is not unique to our move to Alabama, but that doesn't comfort me much. Should we have stayed in North Carolina? Was this a good decision? Did I do the wrong thing?

But even with all the hushed second-guessing thoughts springing to mind at every turn, I am also a jump anyway-er.

I feel strongly that we should not NOT make a decision because we are scared or apprehensive. Life is short. There is a whole world filled with people and places and I feel like we were meant to not stay in one place. (If you are the opposite and feel roots are better to plant, I think that's amazing. Sometimes I wish I was like that, too. So please don't feel I am cutting down a different way of thinking.)  So I find myself very much on team 'jump anyway', despite the inner turmoil that often follows the jumping. And I am hoping that when my kids see me jumping that they inch a little closer, content to follow my lead, so they can jump too.

And I am hopeful that what we are jumping into is welcoming and warm water that envelops us. And not the opposite.

So. We made it to Friday. Two days of school. Today was better than yesterday, and I will take progress, no matter how small. It will take time, I know. Change is hard and it is a process that is not likely to be OKAY WE ARE ALL ADJUSTED AND SO HAPPY TO HAVE MOVED overnight.

Talking to a friend tonight, she said "So do you love it?". And I was kind of at a loss.

Do I love it here? Wellllllll. Honestly, no. Not yet. I love my house. I love the sunshine. I love that 49 degrees was freezing here and people were cursing winter for making them wear jackets. I love that I am down the road from my amazing friend. I love that we are ten minutes from the beach. I love that there is a Starbucks drive through 6 minutes from my house, and I love that every morning I have stepped outside I have been greeted by birds singing in a new season.

But I left behind friends, AMAZING friends, a big beautiful unspoiled view of the sky, familiarity - the feeling of home. Finding your people, your place, your spot that makes you feel at peace, that all takes time. And I am not prone to falling in love fast.

So here we are. Starting over, from not quite scratch, praying my kiddos find friends and goodness, wanting to slow the days before my husband deploys, and hoping that each day sinks us further into that "this is where we were meant to be" feeling.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Winter Sewing

Hey friends. It's been a minute. This fall and winter have been nuts. The short version-

- my husband retired from the Navy (mid November)
- my husband got a new job (mid November)
- we put a contract on a house in AL (end of November)
- we listed our home in NC (beginning of December)
- my husband left for training (early December)
- we rented our NC house out (end of January)
- we left NC (March 6)
- we closed on our AL house (March 9)
- my husband will leave for deployment (April)

So now here we are in Gulf Shores, settling in, unpacking, slowly making this place home. I haven't made much in the last few months because we have been busy with everything happening, but here is a catalog of my recent makes.

I have made a dozen different versions of this quilt and I love it for its simple design and how quickly it comes together. Also, I love letting the fabric be the star!

Also, this is one of my favorite ways to quilt! Organic lines, with some wonky infinity loop quilting interspersed!

This was a little mug rug for a swap I did!

The rest of what I made for that swap. She said she liked the color blue, and cats :)

And this big ol thing was for #fussycuttersclubswap using the idea from Gnome Angel's book Fussy Cutters Club.

This was for an other swap. I enjoy mixing hand stitches and machine quilting. 

Also for a swap. Notice an addiction?

This quilt was built using a Nest bundle. As soon as I saw the fabric I had to make a baby quilt with it. It is so adorable!!!

I love Art Gallery Fabrics for their silky softness.

This quilt was made for a dear lady that has been so wonderful in assisting my kiddo with reading challenges. I used the Peak Quilt pattern by Nicole of Modern Handcraft. It is such a simple pattern that comes together super quickly, especially if you use a jelly roll!

I quilted it to look like wind currents moving across the tops of the mountain peaks.

She loves the color green so I used just about half of my green stash-- which wasn't much to begin with. Last quilt picture in North Carolina! 


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