Saturday, December 3, 2016

When one sewing machine door closes....

I feel like I have been hustling since the last week of August. Between the kids and their homework and their sports and my job and everything else, I finally feel like I can maybe sit a minute and even read a book.

This past week started with an incredible amount of stress, when my sewing machine started skipping. I tried all the normal things, several times and realized none of those things were working. So I took in to be serviced only to be told that the timing was bad. I was already completely stressed because at the time I had three people who were waiting on me to finish custom orders. But then to hear my sewing machine basically bit the dust and I couldn't sew a straight stitch anymore? Ugh.....

I decided immediately I needed a replacement machine. I could just purchase another machine that wasn't too expensive.....OORRRRR...I could bite the bullet and get the machine I  have been saving for and dreaming about right then and there. You guys?!?!?! 

I got my dream machine!!! A Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8200 QCP. I looked at the 8900, but I really didn't need all of those fancy stitches. I use a straight stitch 90% of the time, occasionally a zig zag, and less frequently a satin stitch. I really didn't need a machine that could sew 1,000 stitches. But I did purchase the extended quilting table with my machine!

Here she is!!!


And here we are, doing our thing!


Every single time I turn her on, I do a little happy dance.

The top 5 things I already love about her:

1. TONS of throat space

2. Automatic thread cutter!!

3. Knee presser foot lift

4. The light is powerful and awesome

5. She sews like a dream. 

I feel like I am quicker, more efficient, and I have more control when I sew with her. I am so smitten! You guys, I have literally been dreaming about upgrading to this machine for over a year!! And now I get to sew with her whenever I want. I am so happy.

Here are some quilts I have been working on. 


I loved the one above. It was centered around Sarah Jane's beautiful line of fabric called Magic. You can get a bundle here!


This was made with a charm pack of white squares and Lullaby, and I love the soft and tranquil look that these colors bring!


This was made for my Quilt The Book challenge! I am doing a spectacular job---- being that this is the only quilt I have made so far :/ But I sure do love it. These colors are everything!!



This was a quilting in progress shot of something I will be sharing later. This quilt was one I designed myself, specifically to have something more original that was definitely me! I am sure there have been other quilts like this, but if so, I had never seen them. I will share about this one in another post!



I did several that were like this, and I love them. I am a sucker for big pieces that really showcase color and pattern of fabric, and I tend to think the simpler designs look cleaner, more modern, and more in line with my style. 


That center patch of fabric!!! Love it!


Another quilt I dreamed up in my head one night and got out of bed at around midnight and went downstairs to my quilting room to get it going.



This one was made Annabel Wrigley's Maribel, which is so perfectly charming!



I realized it had been a while since I made a boy quilt, and I tried to branch out from my typical aqua or navy, and included some greens.


Made around the Sommer line of fabric!


I think this style will always be my favorite. Big patchwork with some fin blocks mixed in!


This one is in my shop now. This fabric line is one of my all-time favorites!!


Heather Bailey makes BEAUTIFUL fabric! This quilt design was based on the Peaches and Cream quilt tutorial. I changed some dimensions and sashing, but it is the same idea!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spain, kidneys, and good ole' Tula

We are back from our trip to Spain, and I am in love. It really was beautiful and just touched on the "go chase adventure" nerve. So much to say, but how do you summarize a country, it's people, a culture in one blog post? Instead, I will just share a few of my observations and impressions that I am left with. Also, I totally realize that my observations are very general and there is more to tell about a person than a simple glance as they walk down a street....





The people of Rota are beautiful. I couldn't help but notice how their hair seemed shinier and fuller, their skin seemed brighter and smoother, and overall, when compared to Americans (this American, in particular) they were in far better shape. They seemed more carefree and not so rushed. I thought a lot about this, and my very layperson observation is that a culture that embraces naps, relies on their feet for transportation, and eats differently (big lunch, small dinner), maybe has a wonderful effect on the body and mind.







Other things I noticed- walking down a crowded street, a couple pushing their baby in a pram, they literally stopped to coo and make faces at their baby. I saw this a lot. They seemed generally invested in the moment with their babies. I couldn't help but think, man, I would probably never stop in a crowded street because it would annoy the people behind me, nor do I know if I am ever that present to see and stop what I am doing on my way somewhere to just making funny faces at one of my babies. I kept noticing this, the attentiveness to the babies, and it tugged on my heart. I know it may sound silly, and maybe I happened to witness the only 4 families in Spain who weren't so in a rush that they stopped to coo at their little ones, but it spoke to me, and I made a little promise to myself to stop and just watch my children more and stop rushing so much.We lose so much in the rush. I want to be the mom that comes to a dead stop just to squeeze my little ones for no reason other than they are adorable.







So many of the places we went, people went up to Evie and Declan and touched their cheeks, or the top of their heads, and spoke to them. It's kind of troubling to me how off-putting such a sweet gesture was at first. It just made me think that being on-guard as a parent can also mean that sometimes we lose a little bit of our humanity.

Not all of my thoughts were deep. Other noteworthy things: sangria in Spain is delicious and powerful, the breeze coming off the coast was amazing, driving down tight streets super fast scared the crap outta me, and any time I heard a siren from a police car (which was only like twice) I thought Jason Bourne must be up to something nearby.


.....dang my husband is HOT!


...and I don't know why Tyler is making that face. But it's definitely a good one. 





If we are friends on IG, then you know that on my birthday I woke with horrible pain and went to the hospital to learn I had kidney stones. That was no bueno. For real, I have never felt pain that intense. My body was shaking, I was sweating profusely, my blood pressure was crazy, and I felt like I was going to pass out and vomit all at the same time. I said a little prayer thanking God for the creators of Dilaudid and Morphine.



Okay, on to a more sew-happy note. I saw this little challenge/sew-along all over instagram and I decided to join in. The idea is to make 100 blocks in 100 days #100blocks100days using Tula Pink's City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks book. I am so excited about this. I am telling you, this quilting community is so inspirational, so positive, so encouraging, that it feels good to be a part of this greater group project.  Here are my first 2 blocks:




 In the book, Tula talks about how she has only numbered the blocks instead of naming them, so they can take on our unique ideas and what we want them to be, and as such, aren't limiting.  How in the leaving them unnamed, we allow them to tell our own story, and as such we name our own block, sort of. I have decided that this is a quilt I will keep for myself, so I am naming each block after a person or thing that is part of my story. So each block will be like a little chapter of my life or a piece of my heart. In deciding this, it has made the overall quilt so much more exciting and fun for me!

I have named the first block after my Mom, because she is amazing and the start of my story. The navy blue floral fabric reminded me of a dress she might have worn.

The second block was named after my first daughter, Kaitlin. The colors combine in a way that mimic her beautiful eyes.

My plan is to make each block from scraps I have and pieces laying around, with no focus at all on overall color, only in combining color for what feels right and based on who/what I am naming each block after. I typically (always) like to have a sense of cohesiveness about my quilts, but this time I am letting the cohesiveness lie in the block size and sashing, and letting each individual block not be tied to any rules. This is a big leap for me, but sometimes it is good to shake up the way we work.

If you are participating in this little stitch-along challenge, I'd love to know!












































Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Quilt The Book?

As we are sitting in the airport hoping to catch a flight to Spain, I figured now was a great time to write a post I've been mulling over in my head.

One of my very very favorite bloggers, Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches , started a little challenge a while back that she called Quilt the Book, I believe. The challenge is pretty self explanatory-- she just quilted her way through the book.

This has intrigued me for many reasons. First, while I have a major obsession with quilting books, I've yet to find a quilt book that had me wanting to make even half of the quilts featured. It would be both exciting and a little off putting to make a quilt that I wasn't initially drawn to. Also, a lot of my quilting lull is a result of TOO MUCH inspiration/ideas/color palettes, that leave me not knowing where to begin. Having something more structured, like a plan to make what's in front of me, would really solve that issue for me.

So. I have decided to go ahead with this challenge after I select a book. I have created a few rules to both keep me focused and give me a little freedom. The rules:

- I have to make 2/3 of the quilts featured in a book. Other projects won't be included. So if there are 15 quilts featured, I need to make 10. This gives me a little freedom in not having to choose something  that really doesn't speak to me.

- I don't have to stick to exact sizes for patterns-- I can size up and size down, but I need to roughly adhere to same dimensions

- my goal is to complete this challenge before Spring of 2017

- I can work on the projects in between, but cannot start another book quilt until the previous book quilt is finished.

So, now the contenders....



I really love Quilt Love. I like this book because it  modern and traditional and I feel like the quilts really allow you to put your own spin on things. Also, I feel like the quilts can come together fairly quickly and really allow for a lot of individual expression.

The other book I'm considering is Sunday Morning Quilts. Another favorite of mine. Love the patterns but also love the use of scraps and the quilts in the book are so fun!

So there you have it. A little self imposed challenge I'm debating. And here's a few pictures of things I've been working on lately.




I used a cotton poly batting and it made have a little extra puff.


backed in double gauze.


I used three different colors of thread for the quilting.


A quilt top I am working on. based on the Tunnels quilt from the book Modern Heritage Quilts.


The makings of a bag for myself.


My go to Spain bag, except we didn't actually get to Spain. 


Okay, so is anyone with me on the "quilt the book" challenge?

Monday, August 1, 2016

a recent finish and a quilty wish list of sorts

First, here are some pictures of a recent finish. I started this quilt about a month ago.


This was it in progress...I have this thing about making baby quilts because they come together faster than larger quilts and are easier for me to quilt, but I have been trying to make bigger ones, so I added extra rows to this one. 


I had a plan to back this in Sarah Jane's Sommer Double Gauze in the aqua checker pattern, but when I opened up the fabric I noticed that the company cut it completely wonky and messed up. So I had to come up with a  plan B.... you can see a bit of the backing here. I ended up piecing 3 different polka dot fabrics together and adding a border of the black quotation marks on white. I like the look and how it feels, just bummed because I wanted to use that light double gauze. Oh well.


This is definitely the most color-saturated quilt I have made yet. I planned on adding more white, but my cousin pointed out that sometimes having a lot of white space with kids is stressful because she doesn't want them messing up the quilt. You would think that would have crossed my mind with 5 kiddos....


I used an 80/20 cotton poly batting on this one to up the puff factor, but it didn't get quite the puff I was hoping for. Might need to go with a higher loft next time. 

\

And here she is, in all her glory. That green fabric in the middle left, and that golden yellow a little off center.....these are probably might favorites in the green and yellow category. I need to replace them because I am getting low on them in my stash.



And now for my little list.  I have a gajillion ideas in my head and I tend to forget things easily, so I want to have this so I can remember my "things I want to make" list.

Okay, as far as quilt patterns go:
  • More quilts using solids, reminiscent of the Quilts of Gee's Bend
  • A fancy fox quilt  I have the pattern for this and have made a few foxes into pouches and baskets for friends, but I want a full foxy quilt
  • A triangle quilt with lots of empty space just LIKE THIS I have made 2 triangle quilts and they both aren't good- you can see one here if you scroll down a little. I don't know why triangles and I don't get along but I am determined to fix that. 
  • A color wheel quilt It involves curves, though, and curves make me get sweaty and cussy
  • A monochromatic log cabin quilt, something like this  ...not in gray scale, though...I was thinking varying shades of yellow
  • A quilt involving lots of different shaped blocks, more modern, using a lot of solids....isn't this quilt just AMAZING and THIS ONE!!!

As far as color or overall design:

  • A quilt using a color for the background instead of white....like maybe a gray, or a camel-colored tan, or even a pea green or a maybe a citrusy orange. (I can feel some of you cringing- but I have seen it done and though it's not for everybody, I have always found a colored background so bold and beautiful and it brings a whole new level of richness to a quilt!)
  • I want to do a couple more monochromatic quilts. I started doing one, and then because I cannot keep to my original idea EVER, I added in strips of sand colored linen, because the aquas got me all beach feeling.
  • I want to try color combinations that would never be my first choice....like turquoise and orange, or black, white, and lime green, or maybe even -GASP- incorporate some brown into one of my quilts. Do you have any color combos that interest you but that would ordinarily stay away from??
Okay, that's it for today. I will wrap this up with may picture I got of our gorgeous North Carolina sunset sky recently.


Just look how He paints the skies for us! Our Heavenly Father is a brilliant artist. 



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